Road trip unkind to Cougars
Unlike the first two games away from the city when UH had 15 turnovers, its inability to get off the field hurt the team and led to a 48-28 loss to East Carolina.
UH’s third down efficiency was 3-12, while ECU converted 12-19 third downs, which translated to the time of possession battle. ECU held the ball for 44:08 minutes to 15:52 for UH.
“It was a game of third downs,” head coach Tony Levine said. “Offensively we couldn’t sustain any drives, we couldn’t move the chains, we couldn’t stay on the field for third downs, especially early, and defense we couldn’t get off the field on third down. If you look at the time of possession, our defense was on the field three quarters of the game,”
ECU’s balanced offensive effort allowed it to control the pace of the game.
Sophomore quarterback Shane Carden was a thorn in the Cougars’ side all evening, especially early on. Carden threw four touchdown passes in the first half, finishing with 305 yards passing. Junior running back Vintavious Cooper found running lanes all game rushing for 140 yards and a touchdown. It was his third consecutive game over the century mark.
After UH forced a punt on ECU’s first offensive possession, Carden threw touchdown passes on four of the next five drives. Sophomore receiver Danny Webster caught three of Carden’s touchdown throws and finished with 46 yards receiving.
The Cougars fared better in the second half but it was too late after digging a 28 point hole.
With five seconds remaining in the first half, redshirt sophomore quarterback David Piland threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to freshman receiver Larry McDuffey. Piland finished with 341 yards and four touchdowns. All of Piland’s touchdown passes came in the last 31 minutes of the game.
UH garnered momentum going into half time. Piland’s 5-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Mark Roberts left the Cougars trailing by 13 at 21-34.
ECU then scored 14 consecutive points that put the game out of reach. Cooper rushed up the middle for a 22-yard score and junior linebacker Ty Holmes intercepted a Piland pass and sprinted 28 yards to the end zone.
After falling behind early, UH couldn’t get its running game going. Redshirt junior running back Charles Sims finished with 33 yards on only five carries. Sims was hurt late in the first half and did not return to the game. Redshirt freshman running back Kenneth Farrow is the only other rusher who received a carry and finished with one yard.
For UH, three games remain and the possibility of a bowl berth is dwindling. The Cougars face league-leading Tulsa next week at Robertson Stadium.