UH headed to AAC Championship Game after defeating Temple
Houston football clinched a spot in the American Athletic Conference Championship game with a 37-8 road victory over Temple on Saturday afternoon.
The early morning game resulted in a slow start for both teams as the Cougars and Owls exchanged three-and-outs on the first three possessions of the game.
After a Temple punt set up UH in enemy territory, the Cougars drove 47 yards down the field in seven plays, capped off by a 3-yard touchdown rush by freshman running back Alton McCaskill to open the scoring at 7-0 with 8:47 remaining in the first quarter.
The remainder of the first quarter and early half of the second quarter was quiet for both teams, as Temple’s next two drives resulted in punts while UH tacked on a 39-yard field goal by senior kicker Dalton Witherspoon to extend the lead to 10-0.
A UH late drive with a nullified touchdown pass in the final seconds of the second quarter resulted in a missed field goal to keep the score at 10-0 at halftime.
The Cougars’ defense suffocated the Owls offense in the first half as they held them to 81 yards of total offense heading to the locker rooms.
On the opening possession of the second half, the Cougars powered down the field on the ground led by McCaskill and capped off by junior running back Ta’Zhawn Henry’s 6-yard rushing touchdown to extend the Cougars’ lead to 17-0.
After a second string of three consecutive three-and-outs by both teams, the Cougars finished a 5-play, 52-yard drive with a 34-yard rushing touchdown by McCaskill for his second of the day to extend the lead to 24-0.
This was McCaskill’s 14th rushing score of the season, breaking the UH football program record for most touchdowns in a single-season by a true freshman.
On the ensuing Owls’ possession, senior cornerback Marcus Jones got up his third interception of the season as he picked off Temple wide receiver Amad Anderson Jr. on a trick play.
The Owls’ capitalized on their next possession as they drove 45 yards in four plays resulting in a 2-yard touchdown rush by freshman running back Edward Saydee followed by a 2-point conversion to cut the deficit to 24-8 early in the fourth quarter.
The Cougars responded on their next drive, marching 77 yards on seven plays capped of when junior quarterback Clayton Tune found senior receiver Jaylen Erwin wide open for a 35-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 30-8 after a blocked extra point attempt.
Erwin’s receiving touchdown was his first with UH and his first score since 2019 with the UCLA Bruins.
After a fake punt got the Cougars deep in Temple territory, UH put the stamp on the game with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Tune to senior tight end Seth Green.
Tune finished with 210 yards and two touchdowns through the air.
McCaskill ran for a career-high 129 yards to go along with his two scores.
Green led the Cougars in the receiving game, hauling in six catches for 60 yards and a touchdown.