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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Football

Freshman’s feats push Cougars past Bobcats


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The Cougars and Bobcats battled it out in front of a Bobcat Stadium attendance record of 33,133. | Courtesy of The University Star

A record crowd at Bobcat Stadium went home disappointed on Saturday as the Cougars defeated the Texas State University Bobcats 64-3 to improve to 4-0.

“We came into a hostile environment, on the road and (Texas State’s) first home game of the season to take care of business and they did,” head coach Tom Herman said. “It’s a testament to our coaching staff, it’s a testament to the leaders on this team to not allow (underestimation) to happen.”

Once again, the Cougars were fueled by a remarkable performance from senior quarterback Greg Ward Jr., who finished with 289 yards passing with two touchdowns. Ward also got it done on the ground, as he accumulated 39 rushing yards and a score while showing no signs of pain.

The win marks the 17th consecutive victory for the Cougars with Ward under center, adding to the longest active streak in the nation.

Although Ward carried the team, it was a night of firsts for freshman wide receiver D’Eriq King.

“He’s a tremendous athlete,” Herman said. “He works hard, he’s a leader. He’s definitely the leader of the freshmen group. He’s a guy who just goes out there and works his tail off.”

The freshman utility man showed his versatility against the Bobcats by catching and throwing passes, as well as returning punts and kicks. King threw his first career passing touchdown in the second quarter with a 15-yard strike to junior wideout Steven Dunbar to put the Cougars up 22-0.

To open the second half, King extended the Cougar lead to 50-3 with his first career kickoff return touchdown, when he ran back the Bobcat kick 99-yards.

Also catching a touchdown, the freshman becomes the first player in Cougar football history with a passing, receiving and kickoff return touchdown in the same game.

Adding to their already impressive defensive resume, the Cougars strengthened their nation-leading rushing defensive statistics by allowing the Bobcats just 33 rushing yards.

Leading the charge on defense was cornerback Garrett Davis, who recorded seven tackles.

Cornerback Howard Wilson’s season was cut short last year when he tore his ACL after intercepting a Bobcat pass, however, his recovery came full circle on Saturday when he picked off Bobcat quarterback Tyler Jones in the third quarter, this time with no knee damage.

“It felt good,” Wilson said. “Last year coming into this game I got hurt, it felt good to get another pick and a win.”

Wilson’s interception gives him three in the last two games combined.

The win on Saturday makes Herman 17-1 since taking charge of the Cougars, and gives the team their second consecutive season with a 4-0 start.

Football must now prepare to play the University of Connecticut on Thursday night.

With busses being loaded for the late trip back to Houston, Herman gave his final thoughts.
“I’m just ready to get the heck out of here as quick as I can.”

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