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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Football

UH football survives UTSA in triple overtime


UH football sophomore receiver Joseph Manjack IV hauls in a one-handed touchdown catch in the fourth quarter of the Cougars' victory over UTSA on Saturday at the Alamodome. | Sean Thomas/The Cougar

UH football sophomore receiver Joseph Manjack IV hauls in a one-handed touchdown catch in the fourth quarter of the Cougars’ victory over UTSA on Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio. | Sean Thomas/The Cougar

SAN ANTONIO — Sixty minutes weren’t enough for UH football and UTSA to settle their season opener on Saturday afternoon at the Alamodome.

Instead, the 24th-ranked Cougars needed a 17-point fourth quarter plus three overtimes to squeak past the Roadrunners 37-35 in a chaotic start to the 2022 campaign.

The first three quarters were a slugfest, with UTSA establishing a comfortable 21-7 lead going into what was thought to be the final 15 minutes of the game. But UH football found the spark it needed late in the third when senior quarterback Clayton connected with freshman receiver Matthew Golden for 37 yards.

The Cougars did not let Golden’s big play go to waste as Tune connected with his favorite target, junior receiver Nathaniel Dell, for a 10-yard touchdown on the first play of fourth quarter.

From there, the tide completely turned.

On the ensuing possession, senior defensive lineman Derek Parish hit UTSA quarterback Frank Harris as he released the ball, causing the ball to go straight up into the air and into the hands of sophomore defensive lineman Nelson Ceaser, who returned the interception deep into UTSA territory. 

On the next play, sophomore receiver Joseph Manjack IV made a one-handed catch in the back of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown, the first of his collegiate career. A Bubba Baxa extra point later and UH had erased the 14-point deficit.

The UH defense once again did its job, quickly getting the ball back into the hands of Tune and the Cougars’ offense.

From escaping a sack and connecting with redshirt freshman running back Stacy Sneed on third down, to using his legs to pick up two more first downs, Tune’s ground game put UH in a prime position to win the game.

Baxa capped off this 18-play, 77-yard drive that chewed over 10 minutes off the clock by splitting the uprights from 35 yards out to put UH up by three.

With just 23 seconds remaining in regulation, UTSA quickly drove the ball to the UH 20-yard line to set up a game-tying 37-yard field goal as time expired, sending the game into overtime.

UH got the ball to begin overtime, but two false starts derailed the drive as the Cougars were forced to settle for a Baxa 35-yard field goal.

The Roadrunners responded with a 40-yard field goal of their own, sending the game into a second overtime.

The Cougars reapplied the pressure to UTSA, as Tune found the end zone from two yards out on a quarterback draw. Dell made a toe-tapping to convert the two-point conversion to put UH up 35-27.

Once again, the Roadrunners responded as De’Corian Clark made an acrobatic third-down touchdown catch followed by a Harris rush to convert the two-point conversion and tie the game at 35.

This led to a two-point conversion showdown.

Tune used his legs to overcome a false start, flipping into the end zone to convert the first two-point try of triple overtime.

The UH defense held its ground on the Roadrunners’ two-point attempt, securing a 37-35 victory.

Tune finished with 206 yards and three touchdowns through the air and added 51 yards and a score on the ground.

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