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Sunday, May 26, 2019

Football

Houston mauls East Carolina to improve to 5-1


homecoming

Junior D’Eriq King threw 12-for-23 for 209 yards and two touchdowns against East Carolina. | Thomas Dwyer/The Cougar

The Cougars dominated the Pirates 42-20 with 406 yards of offense in their second American Athletic Conference game of the season. Houston now sits at No. 1 in the West Division, while ECU is fifth in the east.

East Carolina went three and out to start the game, but Houston scored on its first drive of the game with a 38-yard pass from junior quarterback D’Eriq King to junior receiver Courtney Lark.

It was the fifth time this season that the Cougars scored in its first drive of the game.

After another ECU three and out, King led UH down the field and ran for an eight-yard touchdown to cap off a 10 play, 74-yard drive.

The Pirates’ offense started to get going, but a flea flicker pass was under thrown and senior Alexander Myres made an interception.

Houston led 14-0 at the end of the first quarter, but the offense sputtered out in the second quarter while East Carolina started to find its stride.

The Pirates strode up field with small gains, but made one big play when sophomore quarterback Reid Herring threw a 33-yard bomb to senior receiver Trevon Brown. Herring was unable to finish off the drive though and the Pirates had to settle for a field goal.

Houston was without sophomore Isaiah Chambers, Houston’s sack leader who is out for the season due to a knee injury,  but his replacement senior Jerard Carter made a big impact late in the quarter.

The Pirates were cruising down the field but Carter tipped a pass which led to an interception by senior Emeke Egbule to reverse the Cougars’ momentum.

With the ball and momentum, Houston scored another touchdown with a pass from King to senior tight end Romelo Brooker to end a 41-yard, 29-second drive.

The Pirates scrambled into field goal range to end the quarter, but junior kicker Jake Verity missed it from 43 yards away to leave it 21-3 at halftime.

Verity redeemed himself on the Pirates’ first drive of the third quarter and made a 33-yard field goal to make it 21-6.

The defensive battle continued all game and in the third quarter, junior defensive tackle Ed Oliver finally earned his first sack of the season. But, it was not just a sack as Oliver forced a fumble, which Egbule scooped up and returned for a touchdown.

The touchdown seemed to break something in ECU and the team switched its quarterback. Freshman quarterback Kingsley Ifedi replaced Herring, but threw an interception on his first drive to UH senior Isaiah Johnson.

Houston did not pump the brakes in the fourth quarter and junior Mulbah Car finished a six play, 51-yard drive with an eight-yard touchdown run.

Later in the quarter, Houston ran a trick play with King tossing it to freshman Bryson Smith who then threw it deep to junior Keith Corbin for a 25-yard touchdown.

With a 36-point lead, Houston subbed in the backups for the rest of the game. ECU was able to take advantage of the backups and managed to score a pair of touchdowns, but it was too late to matter.

Oliver finished the game with five tackles for a loss and two sacks while King finished the game with 210 yards and three touchdowns. Houston allowed ECU to run for just 41 yards on 31 attempts, with most of them coming when the backups were playing.

Houston will have a week to shore up its offensive line before it travels to face the struggling Navy Midshipmen, which mainly run the ball.

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