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Thursday, September 28, 2023


SMU rides to easy victory over the No. 11 Cougars


Greg Ward Jr. failed to find any consistency on offense Saturday against the SMU Mustangs. | Courtesy of UH Athletics

The unranked Southern Methodist University Mustangs proved to be too much for the No. 11 Cougars Saturday as UH fell in a lopsided 38-14 decision from Gerald R. Ford Stadium in Dallas.

The win marks the first time the Mustangs have defeated a ranked opponent since Oct. 1, 2011 when they toppled the No. 20 Texas Christian University Horned Frogs.

SMU’s defense stifled the Cougar offense all night, allowing them just 297 yards of total offense. Senior quarterback Greg Ward Jr. managed just three yards rushing on 17 carries in the game and never looked in sync with the offense.

Ward found the end zone twice through the air on 241 yards. The senior failed to put together any consistent offensive play and struggled to battle through collapsing pockets.

Senior wide receiver Chance Allen paced the receivers with five receptions for 84 yards. A costly fumble by Allen in the first quarter helped the Mustangs take a 14-0 advantage.

Redshirt sophomore running back Duke Catalon’s return from injury was in vain as he tallied just 54 yards on the ground with his 17 carries.

The Cougars’ offensive line allowed the Mustangs to sack Ward seven times in the game. The UH defense did not record a sack Saturday.

Mustang quarterback Ben Hicks threw for 228 yards and three touchdowns on the Cougars’ defense. Hicks was able to find his favorite target in wide receiver Courtland Sutton seven times for 83 yards and a score.

Running back tandem Braeden West and Ke’Mon Freeman combined for 167 yards and a score on just 28 carries.

Similar to the last two weeks, mistakes doomed the Cougars, with two early fumbles that helped put UH in a 21-0 hole to start the game.

The team will now regroup after being largely eliminated from contention for a New Year’s Six Bowl or a conference championship.

Next up for the Cougars is a home game against the University of Central Florida Golden Knights on Oct. 29.

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