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Monday, December 4, 2023


Cougars shut out Georgia State

Per NCAA policy UH and Georgia State were required to play the third and fourth quarter — but the game’s result was decided long before that.

The Cougars (4-0) dominated Georgia State, winning 56-0 Saturday at Robertson Stadium.

Senior quarterback Case Keenum played in three drives in the second half before he and the rest of the starters were benched late in the third quarter. He completed 29 of 34 passes for 415 yards and two touchdowns.

“We were able to get some good work with our starting unit, and get our backups in with some meaningful time, not just mop-up time,” head coach Kevin Sumlin said. “We wanted to get Cotton (Turner) in and run our offense, not just have him out there handing the ball off.”

Senior running back Bryce Beall rushed for 58 yards and two touchdowns, and his counterpart Michael Hayes finished with 58 yards and a score.

Freshman linebacker Derrick Mathews led the defensive effort with nine total tackles – two for a loss – and one forced fumble. Sophomore safety Colton Valencia and senior linebacker Sammy Brown chipped in with seven stops apiece.

It was the first shutout for UH since 1999.

“I’ve seen us get better,” Sumlin said. “I know a lot of people don’t think so statistically. The last two weeks on the road our offense has put our defense in some bad positions.

“We’re still a work in progress. We have a bunch of new guys out there, but I am pleased in how we flew around on defense. Our guys played with energy.”

At 7:55 in the third quarter running back Charles Sims scored a 7-yard touchdown to extend the Cougars lead to 42.The Cougars’ next score came at 1:40 in the third quarter when junior running back Braxton Welford broke the plane of the end zone on a 2-yard rush.

The final score for UH came when backup quarterback Cotton Turner completed a 13-yard pass to receiver Ronnie Williams.

North Texas and Louisiana Tech scored first in the Cougars’ last two outings, but the offense established its pace early  to take a 35-0 lead at the half.

“We’re 50 percent. We’ve had two games where we started fast, and two we didn’t. Those two were on the road, the other two were at home — there’s probably more to that.”

The Cougars will not be taking Sunday off, with their next game against UTEP on Thursday.

“We’re back tomorrow afternoon. We’re meeting at five and we’ll get a workout in tomorrow night. With the short week traveling on Wednesday we have a lot to get done between Sunday and Wednesday.”

UH has its flaws to address, but entering the Conference USA schedule undefeated has the Cougars’ riding a wave of positive momentum.

“You couldn’t ask for anything better,” Keenum said. “We’ve got a lot of really good veteran football to be played. We could get better. We executed on things, but we still have room to grow.”

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