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Sunday, June 20, 2021

Commentary

Amid blowout, Cougars finally on all cylinders


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The Cougars were able to play without mistakes on all sides of the ball against Texas State as they cruised to a 63-3 victory. | File photo/The Cougar

Up by 43 points at the start of the second half, freshman quarterback D’Eriq King caught the ball on the Texas State University Bobcats’ one-yard line and raced down the field to put the Cougars ahead by 50.

In addition to the score on the kick return, King would finish the game with a passing and a receiving touchdown.

His performance on offense and special teams was the embodiment of the Cougars’ dominance throughout the game. It was the first time this season that the Cougars fielded a complete game.

While that may sound odd, considering how the Cougars have outscored their opponents by a 179-42 margin, they’ve had flaws in their first three games that weren’t present in the Bobcats game.

In the game against the University of Oklahoma Sooners, the Cougars struggled to move the ball on the ground after the first quarter. It took 40 tries to record 89 yards and they failed to reach the end zone.

The Cougars managed to get in the red zone on six occasions but only scored one touchdown. They were forced to kick four field goals. On their final red zone attempt, even though in garbage time, they had a fumble and handed a touchdown to the Sooners.

Against the Lamar University Cardinals, the Cougars reached the red zone nine times, but only capitalized on 56 percent of its attempts. On four drives, the Cougars either turned the ball over on downs or missed a field goal.

During their first conference game against the University of Cincinnati Bearcats, the Cougars struggled on the ground in the first half. Senior quarterback Greg Ward Jr. got out of the pocket and gained yards by using his feet in the second half.

Despite the late-game breakout on the ground, Ward had two interceptions, one of which led to a Bearcats touchdown. Sophomore wide receiver Isaiah Johnson also had a fumble that resulted in a Bearcats’ field goal.

The 10 points scored off of turnovers allowed the Bearcats to stay in the game until the Cougars defense was able to seal the win with less than five minutes to play.

During the Texas State University Bobcats game, the Cougars had a season-high 563 offensive yards using a well-balanced attack.

Redshirt sophomore running back Duke Catalon had his first rushing touchdown of the season and averaged seven yards per carry on his 10 carries.

Four different players carried the ball across the goal line for a score. Three others did so with a reception.

The only mark against the offense was the fact that senior kicker Ty Cummings missed two extra points.

On the other side of the ball, the defense continued their dominance on the ground as they allowed just 33 yards on 23 attempts.

The secondary also stepped up, even in the absence of their most experienced player, Brandon Wilson, and gave up just 109 yards.

Sophomore cornerback Howard Wilson, who tore his ACL in last year’s Texas State game, had an interception for the second straight game and also broke up two passes in coverage.

Going forward, the Cougars must keep playing at the elite level that they showed against the Bobcats if they expect to crash the College Football Playoff party.

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