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Friday, November 16, 2018

Football

History repeats as ranked Cougars fall in Dallas


Houston was caught flat-footed and gave up 318 passing yards and 196 rushing yards against SMU. SMU averaged 250 passing yards and 99 rushing yards in its previous games. | Corbin Ayres/The Cougar

After being ranked last week, No. 17 Houston lost 45-31 to SMU in Dallas and will likely fall out of the rankings.

Without junior defensive tackle Ed Oliver, who has a knee injury, Houston’s run defense fell apart like it did against USF. The usually-poor pass defense was also present and SMU had plenty of opportunities to score.

Houston had an uncharacteristic start and went scoreless in the first quarter of the game. SMU, meanwhile, scored a field goal in its first drive and a touchdown in its third to take a 10-0 lead at the end of 15 minutes.

The Cougars’ defense played very loose and gave the Mustangs a lot of space to work, and the home team took advantage of it.

At the end of the first quarter, junior quarterback D’Eriq King was just one-for-five through the air for six yards and the team had just 57 rushing yards total.

SMU had 141 passing yards and 43 rushing at the end of the first quarter. SMU’s strength through the air continued, and Houston could not defend the screen pass.

Junior quarterback Ben Hicks led the Mustangs up the field on an 89-yard drive that ended on a 17-yard touchdown reception off a screen pass to sophomore receiver Tyler Page.

King finally got the Cougars on the board in the second quarter by making a pair of huge plays. With the pocket collapsing, King scrambled away and gained 24 yards on the ground.

Two plays later, King saw sophomore receiver Marquez Stevenson outrun his marker and connect with a 50-yard touchdown pass to make it 17-7 with 12:54 remaining in the second quarter.

With a bit of momentum on its side, Houston needed a stop and got one in a big way. SMU fumbled the ball and it was recovered by sophomore Gleson Sprewell, who took it to the house, making it 17-14.

SMU got back on track with another long drive with many outside screens and passes. The drive finished with a six-yard run by junior Ke’Mon Freeman for a touchdown.

With time winding down, SMU scored another touchdown with seconds remaining to make it 31-14 at halftime. King finished the half two-for-eight in the air and was sacked twice.

Houston forced its first three-and-out of the game, but it was for nothing as King fumbled the ball on the next drive to give SMU the ball on Houston’s 46-yard line.

The defense turned things around, but the offense continued to play poorly.

Houston’s offense kept calling many run plays, even in third-and-medium or long-situation. King attempted just nine passes through the first two and a half quarters, even while the run game was not working out.

Houston scored a field goal in the third, but SMU responded with a 59-yard pass to junior Reggie Roberson to end the three-play, 75-yard touchdown drive.

The 21-point deficit going into the fourth was too much to overcome for Houston as the team fell after mounting a small comeback.

Houston has its Homecoming game up next against Temple Nov. 10 at TDECU Stadium.

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