Houston defeats Tulsa with fourth quarter push
The Cougars defeated the Golden Hurricanes 41-26 on Thursday night in Houston’s conference opener and improved to 4-1 this season. The Cougars trailed for most of the game until 24 points in the fourth quarter put the team ahead for good.
Houston started the game on offense but was stopped on its first drive. It was the first time this season that the team was unable to score on its opening drive.
Tulsa, on the other hand, was able to march up field until it met a fourth and short. But the Hurricanes went for it. Junior wide receiver Keenen Johnson lost his marker and was wide open in the endzone for a 33-yard touchdown.
It was Tulsa redshirt freshman quarterback Seth Boomer’s first touchdown pass and first start of his career. He threw 13-for-30 and 227 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Junior D’Eriq King threw a low ball on the next drive and redshirt freshman Jeremy Singleton mishandled it, which led to an interception and gave Tulsa the ball at the 13-yard line. The defense was able to hold and kept Tulsa to just a field goal.
Houston’s offense got going on its third drive of the game. It took just seven plays and two minutes and 23 seconds to move 75 yards up the field for a touchdown.
Both teams struggled to move the ball and to keep it safe. Each team gave up fumbles and interceptions in the first half.
Tulsa was given good field position because of the turnovers and made two field goals to increase its lead to 13-7.
The Cougars were able to take the lead in the second quarter with a five play, 60-yard drive capped off by a 19-yard run by King.
After the rough first quarter, the defense performed well. It allowed Tulsa to get just two first downs in the second quarter, and the Hurricanes trailed 13-17 at the half.
Tulsa started the second half with the ball and ran it through Houston’s defense but could not complete the drive and had to settle for a field goal to make it 16-17.
After stopping Houston, Tulsa gained the ball back and repeated itself by marching up field with many small plays and one deep pass over the middle. Tulsa sophomore running back Corey Taylor II played well all game and finished the drive with an eight-yard touchdown run.
The Cougars continued to sputter out on offense while the Golden Hurricanes moved the ball with ease.
Tulsa started the next quarter with a field goal to make it 26-17, but Houston fired right back. When the team needed a score, King showed up big and cut outside to run 61 yards for a touchdown to make it 26-24.
The Cougars held the Hurricanes to a three-and-out and got the ball back with over 10 minutes left in the game. Houston was able to move up the field steadily, but the drive was cut short at the 12-yard line and the team had to settle for a 33-yard field goal to take the lead 27-26.
Tulsa had the ball deep in its own half and sophomore linebacker Elijah Gooden brought the blitz to strip Boomer of the ball. Senior linebacker Emeke Egbule recovered it at the nine-yard line.
Houston used the great field position to score a touchdown with a nine-yard pass from King to senior tight end Romello Brooker to give Houston a 34-26 lead with a little under seven minutes remaining in the game.
Tulsa tried to go quickly up the field with a pass, but on the first play of the drive sophomore Deontay Anderson intercepted it to give Houston the ball at the 22-yard line.
After a 17-yard rush by junior Mulbah Car, King threw a pass over the top to sophomore Marquez Stevenson for a five-yard touchdown.
King finished the game with 165 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, 117 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. The Cougars finished the game with 314 rushing yards overall.
On defense, senior linebacker Roman Brown and junior defensive lineman Ed Oliver led the team with 13 tackles each. Senior linebacker Austin Robinson also had two sacks.
Houston’s next game is on the road against East Carolina on Oct. 13.