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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Football

Offensive line holds up against Texas State without starting left guard


Junior quarterback Greg Ward, Jr., center, had a career night en route to the UH victory, as he complied six total touchdowns on the night. | Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

Changes on the offensive line added to uncertainty about whether it would work for the Texas State game. | Justin Tijerina/ The Cougar

Earlier this week head coach Tom Herman announced that senior left guard Ben Dew was out for the season with a foot injury, and that he had to make changes to the offensive line due to the injury.

The offensive line was a big question leading up to the Texas State game because of uncertainty of how it would hold up.

Come Saturday night, it looked better than ever. The Cougar offense allowed 689 yards on 78 plays and 366 rushing yards en route to a 59-14 victory over the Bobcats.

“That’s something that hasn’t been done around here in a long time. For them to do it, being piecemealed together in a week and a half, they responded really well,” Herman said. “I felt them in the running game, I felt them in the pass protection and they responded to the challenge of picking up the sword when other guys went down. They did it well.”

Herman was forced to move around some of the players from their traditional positions to ensure that the best guys stayed on the field. Senior Carter Wall moved from right guard to left guard and senior Alex Cooper moved from right tackle to right guard.

Junior quarterback Greg Ward, Jr. benefited from the exceptional performance of the offensive line with 91 rushing yards for two touchdowns and 274 passing yards for four touchdowns.

“I have to give it all to our offensive linemen,” Ward said. “Without them, nothing would have been possible, it was all our preparation.”

Another player that made an impact was junior wide receiver Demarcus Ayers with 126 receiving yards for two touchdowns.

“Greg is really making a lot of plays for us,” Ayers said. “What he’s doing is really helping me out tremendously. The offensive line is putting us in a position to make plays on the outside as a receiver.”

The Cougars look to continue their success Saturday in Oklahoma when they face the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricanes.

“We have to get ready for a really good Tulsa team that I believe had a week off this week, and so they’ve had two weeks to prepare for us,” Herman said, “We’re 0-0 in the American Athletic Conference right now, and our goal is to be 1-0 after this week.”

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