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Friday, September 21, 2018

Football

Cougars head north for revenge against Red Raiders


Fiona Legesse/The Cougar

The Cougars are set to face off against their old West Texas rivals this Saturday as they head to Lubbock to take on the Red Raiders one year after losing 27-24, ending the team’s 16-game home win streak.

Houston will return to Jones AT&T Stadium for the first time since 2010, when the Cougars had the Raiders’ head coach Kliff Kingsbury on their staff as the quarterback coach. The Raiders won that game 35-20.

In addition to Kingsbury, defensive coordinator David Gibbs, safeties coach Brett Dewhurst, defensive backs coach Clay Jennings and linebackers coach Zac Spavital have all been members of the Houston football program.

Houston will enter the game fresh off a 45-18 win over Arizona, while Texas Tech is coming off a 77-0 rout of Lamar at home. Both teams have high-power offenses, as Houston ranks No. 18 with an average of 564 yards per game and Texas Tech clocks in at No. 10 with an average of 584.5 yards per game.

Houston’s new fast-paced offense can be credited to the addition of offensive coordinator Kendal Briles and offensive line coach Randy Clements, who both joined the program this past offseason. The new offense has highlighted the raw ability of Cougar junior quarterback D’Eriq King.

King threw for 320 yards to open the season and tied his career high of four total touchdowns. That high lasted just a week as King threw for four touchdowns and ran for two more against Arizona.

Texas Tech’s offense is led by freshman quarterback Alan Bowman, who has thrown 555 passing yards and three touchdowns on 51-of-74 tosses this season. Sophomore running back Da’Leon Ward and junior receiver Antoine Wesley also produce a lot of yards to make Texas Tech’s offense productive.

Ward leads the Raiders with 90 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 17 attempts, while Wesley leads in receiving with 10 receptions for 152 yards and a single touchdown.

Defensively, the Raiders have a pair of linebackers, sophomore Riko Jeffers and senior Tony Jones, who are holding down the fort. Both players have already recorded 13 stops, but Jones has also racked up two sacks to start his season. In the secondary, redshirt freshman cornerback Adrian Frye leads the team with two interceptions.

Sophomore defensive end Isaiah Chambers hit the field in the Cougars’ season opener against Rice and promptly earned three sacks, which led the nation after the first weekend of play.

Senior safety Garrett Davis had a couple interceptions against Arizona. He showed that the Cougars can stop opposing teams at the line and opponents need to think twice before throwing into coverage.

With the offense and defense firing on all cylinders to start the season, the Raiders will be hard-pressed to secure a win Saturday.

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