Cougars lose to Air Force, Falcons remain undefeated
Dallas, Texas – The dark, stormy clouds in the sky matched the looks on the faces of the Cougar football team as they dropped their second consecutive game, losing 31-28 to the Air Force Falcons at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas, Texas.
Although the time and location of the game was changed due to threat of Hurricane Ike, the rain and winds seemed to have no effect on the Cougars at first.
Houston (1-2) was the first to score off a 14-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Case Keenum to senior tight end Mark Hafner in the first quarter, but the Falcons (3-0) put 31 points on the board before Houston would score again.
Houston started to rally late in the second half, scoring three touchdowns in the last two quarters to get within three points, but it was not enough to overcome the 17-7 lead the Falcons had going into halftime.
"I think just looking at what happened at the end of the game….I’m extremely disappointed, but I’d be a lot more concerned if I didn’t see what I saw at the end of the game," UH head coach Kevin Sumlin said.
Keenum found Hafner twice in the fourth quarter and sophomore running back Andre Kohn once in the third to put the score at 31-28.
He finished the game with 362 yards, four touchdowns on 34-of-57 passing, four touchdowns and his first interception in 219 attempts.
Keenum had to do a little bit of everything to keep the Cougars in the game. It was his fourth consecutive game with at least 300 passing yards, and he also led the team in rushing, grinding out 75 yards on ten carries.
Hafner finished with three touchdown catches and caught for 64 yards on seven tries. Freshman wide receiver Tyron Carrier led the team with 91 yards on eight catches.
Although Sumlin and the players said the wet weather was no excuse, the Cougars played a sloppy game. Houston was called for 10 penalties for 87 yards, and freshman running back Bryce Beall fumbled the ball in Air Force territory early in the game, giving up a chance for Houston to score.
The Falcons stuck to their game plan and pounded out 380 yards on the ground. Senior quarterback Shea Smith didn’t complete any of his seven pass attempts, but led the team in rushing. He finished with 93 yards on 15 carries and ran for three of the Falcons’ four touchdowns.
Air Force’s only other touchdown came from sophomore tailback Savier Stephens, who burned the Cougar defense for 60 yards on 14 carries. Senior punter Ryan Harrison hit the first-quarter field goal in the first quarter, which proved to the crucial to the Falcons’ win.