Cougars break down in 47-24 loss to Mississippi State

The Cougars dropped a 47-24 decision to Mississippi State before a crowd of 32,067 Saturday at Robertson Stadium, snapping an 18-game home winning streak.

“The bottom line is that they executed, and we didn’t,” head coach Kevin Sumlin said.

In his first career start, true freshman quarterback David Piland threw for 301 yards, completing 30 of 57 passes with a touchdown and two interceptions.  He began Saturday’s showdown airing out five passes for 51 yards in the opening 64-yard drive to score his first career touchdown.

Sumlin said that he was pleased with Piland’s performance but cited breakdowns in protection at critical points in the game.

“I thought David was very sharp at the beginning of the game,” Sumlin said.  “He continued to compete.  I thought he was extremely accurate for a better part of the game.”

With the early 7-0 lead,  Patrick Edwards muffed a punt, turning the ball over on the UH 7- yard line and starting an avalanche of problems for the Cougars (3-2). Mississippi State took advantage of the field position, knotting the score 7-7.

Mississippi State (4-2) unleashed junior quarterback Chris Relf, who dismantled the Cougars’ defense, rushing for 96 yards and throwing for 57 yards.

UH linebacker Marcus McGraw led the defense with 14 tackles, including solo stops.

After delivering a punishing 23-point, first-quarter assault on the Cougars’ defense, the Bulldogs opened up the second quarter by tacking on three more with a field goal.

The UH offense chipped away at the deficit with a 32-yard field goal to make the score 26-10.

Terrance Broadway replaced Piland in the fourth quarter, throwing a 17 yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Sweeney with 7:08 left in the game.

The Cougars’ offense was silent in the running game, which played a significant role in the win over Tulane.  The Cougars had 16 carries for 64 yards.

Running back Bryce Beall said that the first-half performance was summarized by a variety of self-inflicted wounds.

“I think they took the momentum from us, and we just lost confidence in ourselves,” Beall said. ” They just played harder than we did today.”

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