UH earns shutout, first win in TDECU Stadium

The Cougars earned a decisive victory against Grambling State on Saturday at TDECU Stadium. | Caitlin Hilton/The Cougar

The Cougars earned a decisive victory against Grambling State on Saturday at TDECU Stadium. | Caitlin Hilton/The Cougar

Turning their backs on last week’s disappointing home opener, the Cougars needed only 38 seconds to make a new impression.

UH used a fast offensive start and a stout defense to propel it to a 47-0 victory at TDECU Stadium on Saturday. It was the Cougars second shutout in four games after leaving SMU scoreless to close the regular season in 2013.

The first drive took only two plays.

Junior running back Kenneth Farrow was given the first handoff of the game and took the ball 55 yards. After a Grambling State penalty, UH was already in scoring position.  Switching into the game for John O’Korn, sophomore quarterback Greg Ward Jr. ran the ball for 12 yards into the end zone to put the Cougars up a touchdown in just 38 seconds.

That’s all the scoring they would need.

Houston’s defense kept the Grambling State offense on their toes throughout the game, leading to six turnovers. The Cougars nabbed three interceptions and three fumbles, including a defensive touchdown. The Cougars held the Tigers to 63 rushing yards.

Junior corner William Jackson earned the Cougars’ initial turnover, with a first quarter interception.

With the change of possession, the Cougars then drove 20 yards to set up a 42-yard field goal for junior kicker Kyle Bullard to put them up 10-0 with just over three minutes left in the first quarter.

The Cougars opened the scoring in the second with another field goal from Bullard, this time for 38 yards.

Five minutes into the quarter, sophomore quarterback John O’Korn connected with junior receiver Deontay Greenberry for 67 yards. To finish the drive, Farrow took the handoff to score the Cougars’ second touchdown and put the team up 17-0.

After the kickoff, Grambling State muffed the return and, with a penalty, set Houston up on the opposing seven-yard line. Ready to keep up the fast pace of the game, O’Korn handed the ball off to junior running back Ryan Jackson for a short run to score the team’s third touchdown.

Starting from a tough spot at their own two yard line after a punt, the Cougars drove down the field to set up what looked to be their sixth scoring drive of the game.

O’Korn opened the drive with a 14-yard pass to Greenberry and then another massive run from Farrow for  51 yards to put the Cougars at the Tigers’ 32-yard line. The Cougars then fumbled the ball at the two-yard line, losing possession just before their possible fourth touchdown.

Ward Jr. then returned the Tigers’ next punt for 31 yards and with an unnecessary roughness penalty against Grambling State, Houston was back in scoring position at the 13-yard line.

The Cougars picked up their fourth touchdown of the game as O’Korn dished the ball off to Ward Jr. for a ten-yard pass.

At the end of the first half, the Cougars were had a lead of 34-0, as Farrow had already surpassed his career high performance with a total of 9 carries for 126 yards.

In the second half, junior safety Adrian McDonald also contributed to the Cougars’ defensive prowess as he intercepted a pass from Grambling State quarterback Stephen Johnson. McDonald ran the ball for 53 yards and set up Bullard for his third field goal of the game.

With an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Grambling State, the Cougars were once again set up in scoring position with just around three minutes left in the third quarter. However, Houston failed to get the ball into the end zone, allowing Bullard to score his fourth field goal.

The Cougar defense nabbed their third interception and fourth total turnover as junior safety Earl Foster returned a Tigers pass for 32 yards. Senior quarterback Billy Kosh entered the game with the change of possession and the closing of the third quarter.

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