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Monday, October 2, 2023


Five things we learned about UH against UNLV


The Cougars came out strong overall against the UNLV Rebels Saturday as the offense rushed for 399 yards and the defense nabbed three interceptions. | Caitlin Hilton/The Cougar

After evening their record at two with a 47-14 win against the Rebels, the Cougars have flashed good performances and bad ones early in the season. UH showed more good than bad against UNLV on Saturday.

Here are the five things we learned during the contest.

1. We don’t know whether this is a good or bad football team.

Four games into the season, the Cougars (2-2) are the epitome of up and down. The team has two wins by 80 points, but has struggled in two losses against good teams. While the defense has been solid and is still a turnover-causing machine, the offense has sputtered out of the gate.

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

With last season’s conference champion UCF (1-2) coming into town on Oct. 2, UH will get an early-season measuring stick. Though Central Florida currently has a losing record, its losses were to Penn State and then-ranked Missouri.

2. The Cougars have yet to put together 60 good minutes of football.

UH had a sluggish first half against UNLV. The Cougars scored only 13 points and took a six-point lead into the break. UH exploded for 34 points in the second half, putting UNLV away early in the second half.

Against BYU, UH played well sporadically throughout the game. The Cougars never got into a rhythm against UTSA, and Grambling isn’t a good representation of how well the team is playing. To beat UCF, UH will need a consistent performance.

3. The Cougars have developed depth along the defensive line.

With the addition of senior Gavin Stansbury this offseason, the Cougars have a solid rotation of run stoppers and pass rushers. Stansbury is joined by upperclassman Trevor Harris and underclassman Tyus Bowser in a talented trio.

The ends, along with the four defensive tackles in the rotation, provided consistent pressure against UNLV and slowed the running game. The Cougars’ pressure led to three┬áinterceptions.

4. William Jackson provides a physical presence.

UNLV receiver Devante Davis, an All American candidate, was his team’s eighth-leading receiver. He caught only one pass for no yards.

The 6-foot-1 William Jackson shadowed Davis for much of the game and kept him from becoming a factor in the game. With his size and speed, Jackson has already helped the Cougars’ ball-hawking secondary, but after the game was deferential to his teammates.

“The defensive line makes it happen. They put pressure on the quarterback, so he has to put the ball up in the air and make plays after that,” Jackson said.

5. Running the football breeds positive results.

Six players combined for 399 yards four touchdowns and 7.7 yards per carry. Two rushers, Ryan Jackson and Kenneth Farrow, both eclipsed 100 yards. Jackson rushed for a career-high 147 yards and averaged more than 11 yards per carry.

The inconsistent offensive line opened holes early and often. The success on the ground made the game easier for starting quarterback John O’Korn, who finished with two touchdowns.

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