Christopher Shelton" />
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Friday, September 22, 2023


UH clears conference hurdle by defeating Rutgers

Early in the fourth quarter, freshman quarterback John O’Korn had his helmet off as he embraced his head coach and flashed a bright smile alongside teammates — his day was done.

In three quarters of work, O’Korn threw for 365 yards and five touchdowns en route to leading UH to a 49-14 win against Rutgers at High Point Solutions in Piscataway, N.J. With six wins, UH is bowl-eligible in seven games after not winning enough games to make a bowl game last season.

UH stayed tied with UCF atop the American Athletic Conference standings with the win.

The Cougars had success with both facets of their offense — between the second and third quarter they scored on seven of eight possessions. On offense, the Cougars seemed to move the ball and score at will after getting into rhythm midway through the first quarter. After Rutgers tied the game at 14 in the second quarter, UH reeled off 35 unanswered points to turn a close game into a blowout.

From start to finish, the connection between O’Korn and sophomore receiver Deontay Greenberry proved to be tough to stop. O’Korn found Greenberry deep, short and in the red zone eight times for 168 yards with three touchdowns. After Greenberry snagged the ball from a defender for a 10-yard touchdown in the first quarter, he split the defense on a quick slant and streaked 83 yards for a score in the second quarter. Junior receiver Daniel Spencer also eclipsed the century mark with 117 yards.

Redshirt sophomore running back Kenneth Farrow and freshman quarterback Greg Ward both found rushing lanes in Rutgers’ front seven. Ward piloted the Cougars on two touchdown drives and led the team in rushing with 91 yards.

The Cougars’ opportunistic defense took control early after a sluggish beginning. The defense struggled against the Scarlet Knights’ rushing attack in the first half, but adjustments allowed the Cougars to tighten up in the second half.

The “Third Ward Defense” caused six turnovers, including two interceptions by sophomore safety Adrian McDonald that kept Rutgers from scoring in the UH red zone. With an offense that didn’t surrender the ball, UH improved its nation-leading turnover ratio to +20 — a statistic that positively correlates with wins. Rutgers didn’t score a point after Rutgers running back James Goodwin rushed for a 14-yard touchdown with 7:03 remaining.

UH held Rutgers to 14 points, its second lowest output of the season.

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