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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Football

Helmet stickers: Dominating defensive performances highlights post-game awards


WEB-Justin-Tijerina-Brandon Wilson-IMG_7565

Junior corner back Brandon Wilson’s big interception return for a touchdown was a pivotal play in the game, helping the Cougars capture momentum. | Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

In every football game, there are players who have an outstanding performance or play worthy of recognition, regardless of the final outcome.

In this new series, The Cougar staff will be presenting players with helmet stickers as a reward for their play.

The Cougars’ 33-30 win over Cincinnati was a solid display from the entire team, but there were still a few players whose individual performances shined through.

Junior quarterback Greg Ward Jr.

The junior quarterback picked up the 15th win of his career as a starting quarterback but had a down game by his own standards.

Through the air, Ward was 16-for-24 for 161 yards, his lowest total of the season. His two passing touchdowns give him 18 straight games with a touchdown, dating back to the Memphis game on Nov. 11, 2014.

He also tossed his first multi-interception game of the season, although one was a crazy play where the ball bounced off the foot of a receiver and right into the hands of a defender.

On the ground, Ward gained 119 yards on 16 carries, giving him the third 100-yard game of his season and his career, pushing him into sole possession of the UH record for most 100-yard rushing games by a quarterback in a single season.

Final tally: two helmet stickers

Junior cornerback Brandon Wilson

After the Cougar offense scored on the opening possession of the third quarter to pull ahead 21-7, Cincinnati was looking to return the favor.

Opposing quarterback Gunner Kiel completed a 19-yard pass to his receiver and was off to a quick start until Wilson stepped in.

In the next play, Kiel was pressured and forced to roll out to his left. He spotted receiver Shaq Washington breaking to the sideline and tossed the ball to him.

Wilson read it, undercut the route to pick it off and outran the Cincinnati offense 51 yards for the score.

The interception was the first of the junior corner’s career and the touchdown marked the fourth UH defensive score of the year.

Final tally: one helmet sticker

Senior running back Kenneth Farrow

Farrow racked up 106 rushing yards on 30 carries and found the end zone for the 10th this season against a stingy Cincinnati run defense.

The senior back picked up his fourth 100-yard rushing game of 2015, moving him to eighth place in school history, but he took a season-high number of carries to get there.

Time and again, Farrow rushed at the middle of the defense, and he came away with a season-low 3.5 yards per carry average, breaking away just once for a 21-yard gain.

Final tally: two helmet stickers

Senior safety Trevon Stewart

The senior safety is having a solid season, with two pass deflections, two fumble recoveries, one interception and 31 total tackles: good for fourth on the team in 2015.

Stewart doesn’t get a lot of attention playing alongside Jim Thorpe Award Semifinalist Adrian McDonald, but after his performance against the Bearcats, teams will have to take notice.

The Louisiana native showed off his pass rushing skills against the Bearcats, sacking Kiel three times and pressuring him twice on Saturday.

Stewart’s first sack came on third down, resulting in a Cincinnati punt. It was his second sack, one drive later, that was a true game changer.

With Cincy offense backed up to its own 12 yard-line and facing a third and 12, Stewart dropped Kiel in the end zone for the first Cougar safety since Oct. 19, 2013 against BYU.

Final tally: four helmet stickers

With what should be the biggest test of the Cougars’ season this Saturday against a one-loss
University of Memphis squad, the team will need several noteworthy individual performances if they hope to stay undefeated.

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