UH gets rammed
It’s becoming an all-too-familiar feeling for the Cougar football team. The feeling of coming out of the gates slowly. The feeling of trailing the other team at halftime. The feeling of making big plays in the second half only to come up short in the end.
Houston (1-3) dropped its third consecutive loss of the season against Colorado State (2-1) 28-25 at Hughes Stadium in Fort Collins, Colo. on Saturday in front of 21,539 spectators.
CSU had a 28-17 lead when sophomore quarterback Case Keenum (37-of-54, 380 yards, 3 TDs) threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver L.J. Castile with 2:31 left in the game. Keenum connected with Castile again for the 2-point conversion, bringing the score to 28-25.
Houston came up with a huge defensive stop and forced the Rams to punt on their next drive. With 37 seconds left on the clock, CSU junior defensive back Klint Kubiak was called for a personal foul giving Houston the ball on the Rams’ 19-yard line. Keenum connected on a 4-yard pass to sophomore wide reciever Kierre Johnson to bring the Cougars to the 15 with eight seconds to play.
Houston was well within range to attempt a field goal to tie the game and send it into overtime, but Keenum threw an interception to Kubiak in the end zone on the next play to give CSU the win.
"We had eight seconds left. We knew we had a field goal for sure (but) I tried to put it in there," Keenum said. "That’s something you don’t do as a quarterback. That’s stupid on my part. It was a stupid throw."
The offense got off to another slow start, managing just 58 yards in the first quarter. The Cougars didn’t score until junior kicker Ben Bell hit a 17-yard field goal with less than two minutes in the first half to put the score at 21-3.
"We had to come out a little bit stronger. We’ve got to stop the run early. We’ve got to stop the momentum from getting on the other team’s side early in the game and don’t wait until the second half to start playing as a team," senior defensive end Phillip Hunt said.
The Cougars opened the second half with two touchdowns and kept CSU from scoring again until the fourth quarter. However, the early CSU lead and costly turnovers – Keenum threw three interceptions and freshman running back Bryce Beall fumbled the ball in the third quarter – prevented Houston from completing its comeback.
UH head coach Kevin Sumlin said his team has the ability to win, but needs to play clean games without damaging turnovers or penalties.
"The thing that you take from this is that we’re good enough to win, but we’ve got to become more better collectively and individually and take some responsibility as a player for some things that happen," Sumlin said.
Houston begins conference play next week at No. 23 East Carolina, which dropped its first game of the season to North Carolina State on Saturday. The Cougars need to get out to a quick start against the Pirates and not depend on second-half comebacks to win.
"We just take (the) good we can take out of this game. We stretched it out down to the last seconds. We fight hard, and we just take that into the next game so we can win," Hunt said.