Round table: How long can UH hold on to its perfect record?
In this week’s round table, The Cougar sports staff breaks down the win over the University of Tulsa and discuss the defenses progression since the beginning of the year.
What are your general thoughts about the game?
Staff writer Michael Calderon: The Cougars got their first conference win and did it with relative ease on the road against a very good offense. UH’s running game was on fire against Tulsa and allowed them to stay in control from the get-go. The Cougars bested the Golden Hurricane in all phases of the game and were clearly the better team Saturday.
Sports editor Bryce Dodds: It was a pretty solid game for the Cougars. There were a few areas of concern during the game, such as the kicking game. But a lack of mistakes on the Cougars’ side and a dominance in the run game led to the win. Now sitting at 4-0 and 1-0 in-conference, the Cougars can have a bit more confidence moving forward.
Do you think the defense has gotten better since the start of the season?
Creative Director Sean Alder: I think that the secondary is still shaking off some rust from the offseason as the Golden Hurricane were able to complete some deeper passes on extended plays. The defensive line is doing a better job this season of blocking the run game, but there definitely could’ve been more pocket pressure on Saturday.
BD: Definitely. The run defense remained strong this week, giving up just 130 yards on the ground, and the secondary seemed to play better. Senior corner back William Jackson III had a fantastic game in one-on-one coverage, and the Cougars managed to hold a high-flying offense to just 24 points. Very impressive.
How do you rate the offenses play in Saturdays game?
MC: I have to give the Cougars offense an A+ after their dominant performance against a good Tulsa team. The Cougars’ running game just made the Golden Hurricane defenders look silly at times, with broken tackles and bad angles leading both Greg Ward Jr. and Kenneth Farrow to career rushing days. Additionally, the ground-heavy Cougar attack helped slow the game down and keep the ball out away from a potent Tulsa offense.
SA: The offense was basically the Greg Ward Jr. show. Ward found his stride early in running the ball for big gains, but he neglected his receiver weapons throughout. As all five touchdowns were scored on the ground, go-to receiver DeMarcus Ayers wasn’t much of a threat to the Tulsa defense.
How will the Cougars fare against Southern Methodist University on Thursday?
MC: The Mustangs are coming off a 49-23 beat down at home against East Carolina and are riding a three-game losing streak. Although two of their four losses this season have come against top five teams in Baylor and TCU, the Cougars should be able to dispatch SMU easily. UH is 4-1 in its last five games against SMU and has outscored them by an average of 17 points per game. The Cougars are on a roll heading into this game and should win big again Thursday night, with something like a 42-21 final score.
BD: I think the Cougars will fare well against the Mustangs. SMU has been one of the weaker teams in the AAC for the past few seasons, so I think the Cougars will be able to handle them just fine. If UH can maintain this level of play over the next three weeks, they have a very good chance to have a 7-0 record heading into a re-match with Vanderbilt University on Halloween.