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Friday, May 20, 2022

Football

Cougars dethrone the Knights on the road, remain undefeated


The Cougars remain undefeated after surviving a sluggish start against the University of Central Florida Saturday in Orlando.

On the Knights’ first offensive possession of the game, UCF did not look like the worst offense in the American Athletic Conference, quickly moving the ball into Cougar territory.

The UH defense was on its heels, following a 44-yard catch-and-run from UCF redshirt freshman receiver Tre’Quan Smith that set them up at the Cougars 24-yard line.

The next play, quarterback Justin Holman hit receiver Cam Stewart for a would-be first down, but junior Houston cornerback Brandon Wilson bailed his team out when he stripped the ball from Stewart, picked it up and returned it 85 yards for the first touchdown of the game.

 

 

Penalties and errant throws started moving the Houston offense backward again, giving all of the momentum to the Knights. The Knights methodically moved the ball against the Cougar defense, including a 13-play, 40-yard drive and resulting in a 48-yard field goal to give UCF a 10-7 lead with 4:38 left in the half.

The Cougars answered with methodical drive of their own, capping off with a 26-yard run, untouched for the touchdown by Farrow to give the Cougars the lead 14-10.

From there, things began to unravel for the Knights.

With 2:21 left to play before the break, UCF was looking to retake the lead when Holman forced a pass into double coverage, only to find senior UH cornerback William Jackson III waiting to intercept it at the Houston 33 yard-line.

The Cougar offense quickly pounced at the opportunity, turning it into a three-yard Ward touchdown run 47 seconds later.

Still reeling from the previous interception, the Knights took the field and again the Cougars took the ball away.

This time it was sophomore Khalil Williams who picked off Holman and returned the ball 49 yards to the UCF 16 yard-line with three seconds left, leading to Ty Cummings making a 34-yard field goal to put the Cougars on top 24-10 at the half.

In the span of two minutes and 27 seconds, UCF saw their 10-7 lead turn into a 24-10 deficit.

On the opening drive of the third quarter, the Cougar offense picked up where they left off, driving 79 yards on three Farrow runs, including a 30-yard score straight up the middle of a stunned UCF defense.

From there, UH put up another 21 points, including a 67-yard catch-and-run by junior receiver Demarcus Ayers, before taking their foot off the gas heading into the fourth quarter.

Despite a slow start and not playing in much of the second half, Ward completed 16 of 23 passes for 210 yards. He completed a touchdown, while running for 46 yards and the 15th rushing touchdown of the year, tying running back Jackie Battle for the UH single-season rushing touchdown record.

Farrow, who left the game shaken-up after colliding with a UCF defender on his last carry of the game, finished with 13 rushes for 167 yards and three touchdowns.

His performance marks the highest rushing yardage total of his career.

After avoiding what could have been a trap game on the road, Houston remains at the top of the AAC standings and will next take on the Vanderbilt University Commodores on Saturday at TDECU Stadium.

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