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Thursday, September 21, 2023


After-action report: Cougars win big at home

Senior wide receiver Linnell Bonner extends for the first down in the Cougars’ 52-17 victory over the East Carolina Pirates on Saturday in TDECU Stadium. Bonner finished the game with seven receptions, 147 yards and one touchdown. | Thomas Dwyer/The Cougar

The Cougars are now on a two-game winning streak and have just become bowl eligible after their 52-27 victory against the ECU Pirates.

Sophomore quarterback D’Eriq King led the offense up-and-down the field while the Cougars’ defense managed to hold the Pirates to 27 points in the win on Saturday. Despite starting a new quarterback and multiple injuries on the team, especially in the Houston secondary, the Cougars dominated on both sides of the ball. Here is a look at some of the best performances of the day.

Quarterback D’Eriq King

This is a no-brainer. The sophomore quarterback led the team to 52 points in a victory over the Pirates with 330 yards passing and three touchdowns through the air. He didn’t stop there — King also tacked on a rushing touchdown. King had the poise of a veteran passer in the pocket and was able to complete multiple passes of over 50 yards.

He looked to his wide receivers on Saturday instead of his legs and came away with a huge win in his first start. The Cougars may fall short of the American Athletic Conference Championship, but at least they finally found their quarterback.

Wide receivers Linnell Bonner and Steven Dunbar

It was a coming-out party for the pair of wide receivers on Saturday with a new quarterback under center. Both receivers came away with huge numbers, bringing them one step closer to the 1,000-yard season that they are both seeking.

Dunbar led all receivers on Saturday with a whopping 171 yards and a touchdown. He was consistently open but also had contested catches in traffic to make for a spectacular day through the air.

The senior wide receiver came into the game with 524 yards and two touchdowns and has two more games to go.

Dunbar led wide receivers, but Bonner was not far behind with 147 yards and a touchdown for himself. Bonner made spectacular catches all day and again showed why he is the leader of the team. He came into the game with 505 yards and three touchdowns.

Linebacker Austin Robinson

King wasn’t the only person making waves on the field on Saturday. Robinson started for the injured senior linebacker Matthew Adams and was a force to be reckoned with on Saturday.

Robinson led the Cougars’ defense with 12 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss in the their win over ECU. Despite not getting much playing time this season, he has made an impact in his limited appearances and showed up big in his start.

The 6-foot-3 linebacker made his first start in the road win at No. 17 South Florida. He totaled seven tackles, one sack and two tackles for a loss of 12 yards .

With Adam’s future unclear, Robinson will be needed in the next two games to make the same impact he did against the Pirates.

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