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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Football

Running game, defense powers Cougars through Mustangs


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The swarming defense of the Cougars turned their high pressure into three forced fumbles and numerous sacks. | Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

The Cougars returned home from their one-game road trip for a game against the Southern Methodist University Mustangs of Thursday night and, as has become common this year, a dominant rushing performance powered them to a 49-28 win.

The Cougars started out a bit sluggish on the night as the Mustangs took the opening kick the length of the field for a touchdown, giving them an early 7-0 lead.

UH responded, matching SMU’s opening score with one of their own, scoring on their opening drive for the fifth time this season.

The Cougars and Mustangs traded blows for most of the first half, as SMU jumped out to a 14-7 lead, before UH again evened the score.

The defense really came to life in the second quarter, forcing three fumbles, two of which they converted into scores, including a 42 second, 57 yard drive to end the first half, putting the Cougars up 28-21 at the break.

The Cougars came out in the second half, and despite fumbling on their first drive, were able to reignite their offense, as they scored on three straight drives, as they moved out front 49-21.

SMU added one last score with 3:35 left in the game, but the Cougars ended up taking the 49-28 win over the Mustangs, protecting their home field.

After the win, head coach Tom Herman spoke highly of his offense’s performance against SMU.

“We had seven trips in the red zone, all of them resulting in touchdowns,” Herman said. “We really responded, offensively, to the two points of emphasis going into this week.”

Junior quarterback Greg Ward Jr. and senior running back Kenneth Farrow combined for seven rushing touchdowns, four and three respectively, while Ward again had an effective day through the air, completing 16 of 18 passes for 243 yards.

With his four rushing touchdowns, Ward now has 11 on the season, trying the mark of Louisiana State University sophomore running back Leonard Fournette.

With the win, the Cougars improve to 5-0 on the season and 2-0 in the American Athletic Conference.

Coming up, UH travels to New Orleans for their second conference road-game of the season when they face off against the University of Tulane, before facing off with the University of Central Florida Knights the next weekend.

UH and Tulane face-off on Oct. 16 at 8 p.m. is a matchup between two AAC-West rivals, with the Cougars hoping to avenge their homecoming loss from last year.

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