UH dominates in 45-20 win over SMU
DALLAS — One week removed from a loss to Rice, the Cougars looked like the team of old conquering SMU 45-20 Saturday at Gerald J. Ford Stadium.
The Cougars (4-3) improved to 3-1 in Conference USA and reclaimed the top spot in C-USA West.
The Cougars led 24-10 at the half. The Mustangs made it close several times in the second half, but the Cougars were able to consistently one-up SMU.
With 5:11 left in the third quarter SMU quarterback Kyle Padron connected with Cole Beasley for a 29-yard touchdown pass to close the gap to 24-17.
On the ensuing kickoff Tyron Carrier broke through for a 91-yard touchdown return, which seemingly took the air out of the Mustangs.
To add to the Cougar’s momentum, SMU’s next possession was cut short when safety Jacky Candy intercepted a Padron pass.
With 12:38 in the fourth quarter, SMU kicker Matt Szymanski nailed a 42-yard field goal, the Mustang’s eventual last score.
The Cougars responded with a 14-play 80-yard touchdown drive that took 4:42 off the clock, capped off 2-yard Beall touchdown – his second of the game.
“This is a big win,” Carrier said. “The coaches enforced a lot of things in practice this week after being embarrassed like that. We had to step up to the plate, and make something happen – and we did.”
UH overcame a two and-a-half hour rain delay, when the game was suspended with 6:42 in the first quarter.
The pause presented a unique challenge to head coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff.
“I’ve never been involved in a game like that,” Sumlin said. “You can’t continue to go in their and keep the guys hyped up, particularly how we started the game. We just wanted to keep them off their feet. In light of everything I thought our team handled it pretty well.”
For the players responding to the inaction was something to get excited about.
“That’s the thing I’m most proud of,” running back Bryce Beall said.
After the layoff the Mustangs struck quickly on a 31-yard touchdown from Padron to Aldrick Williams to tie the game 7-7. The Mustangs were never able to capture a lead.
The Cougars were 11 of 17 on third down conversions, and were able to put six SMU penalties for 65 yards to good use.
“We couldn’t close it out a week ago,” Sumlin said. “I think our guys now understand the urgency of third down. For us to win we have to be a complete team, we can’t wait till the end for one guy to win the game all the time. We have to get production from all three phases, this was truly a team win.”