Fort Collins, Colo. – For the second consecutive week, the Cougar football team came roaring back to attempt the second-half comeback, but Houston again came up short as they dropped their first loss against Colorado State 28-25 in front of 21,539 at Hughes Stadium.
Houston scored three touchdowns in the second half and was only three points behind late in the fourth quarter. With 37 seconds left to play, Colorado State junior defensive back Klint Kubiak was called for a personal foul that put the Cougars in position to score on the Ram’s 19 yard line.
Sophomore quarterback Case Keenum completed a short pass to senior tight end Mark Hafner to bring the Cougars to the 15 with 8 seconds and no timeouts left. On the next play, Keenum threw the ball into the endzone, where it was intercepted by Kubiak, preventing the Cougars from attempting a field goal that would bring the game into overtime.
"I was trying to do too much. I was trying to make the play," Keenum (37-of-54, 380 yards, 3 TDS) said.
The Cougars (1-3) again came out with a slow start. The Rams (2-1) went into halftime with a 21-3 lead. Houston didn’t score until the last drive of the first quarter when junior kicker Ben Bell hit a 17-yard field goal attempt to put the score at 21-3 going into halftime.
At the half, the Cougars had just 156 total yards compared to the Rams’ 280.
"It comes down to the same thing every week – third downs, big plays and turnovers," UH head coach Kevin Sumlin said.
The Cougars committed four turnovers in the game – Keenum, who was was sacked twice, threw three interceptions and freshman running back Bryce Beall fumbled the ball with 8:23 in the third quarter to give CSU the ball on Houston’s 48.
"We gave them short fields," Sumlin said.
Houston was unable to keep the Rams from making plays when they needed to.
Colorado State senior quarterback Billy Farris had 279 yards and two touchdowns and completed 24-of-33 passes, including a 79-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Dion Morton on the second play of the game.
CSU totaled 146 rushing yards in the game, led by senior running back Gartrell Johnson, who finished with 69 yards on 19 carries and one touchdown. Houston had just 93 yards on the ground.
The Cougars travel to East Carolina to face the No. 14 Pirates on Saturday.