UH defense uses fierce effort to flatten Tigers

The Cougars continued to show a firm hand on defense as they issued a solid performance to frustrate the offensive attack of Memphis.

The UH defense held Memphis in check, swarming to the ball and forcing six punts in Saturday's game. With the 56-17 win, head coach Kevin Sumlin improved to 2-0 against Memphis. | Daily Cougar File Photo

The defense posted two sacks from linebackers Sammy Brown and Kelvin King, five tackles for a loss and an interception that helped the Cougars blow past the Tigers 56-17.

After the Tigers scored a field goal on their opening possession, the Cougars responded by holding the Tigers to 321 yards on offense the rest of the game.

Leading the Tigers’ offensive front was senior running back Gregory Ray who had 23 rushing attempts for a career-best 176 yards and a touchdown.

The Cougars surrendered 229 yards and two rushing touchdowns to the Tigers.

True freshman quarterback Ryan Williams completed two passes on seven attempts for 27 yards.

He was replaced by backup quarterback Cannon Smith late in the second half after the Tigers faced a 28-3 deficit. Smith would finish the game completing two passes on five attempts for 65 yards and an interception.

Defensive tackle David Hunter stood out for the Cougars posting eight tackles — one for a loss — and an assisted sack. Safety Nick Saenz also chipped in with eight stops.

Freshman defensive back Kent Brooks had a milestone game, making the first interception of his career after picking off Smith at the 4:05 mark in the fourth quarter.

Memphis converted three of 10 in third-down situations that left the Cougars with favorable field position on multiple possessions. The Cougars prompted Memphis to punt six times.

As the fourth quarter approached, the defensive intensity was taken down a notch when the second unit came in.

After Patrick Edwards 74-yard punt return for a touchdown, Memphis punter Tom Hornsey chose to kick away from Edwards on following punts.

Isaiah Sweeney managed 55 yards on two kick returns. Freshman Richie Leone put forth a solid performance averaging 62.7 yards when kicking the ball away.

The Cougars will have their hands full as they return to Robertson Stadium Nov. 5 to match up against UCF.

Through eight contests, the Knights are averaging over 32 points and 376 yards on offense per game.

Running back Ronnie Weaver leads the Knights with 10 rushing touchdowns with 638 yards, and averages 79.8 yards per game.

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