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Cougars rip apart Tigers before heading into bye week

Kevrin Justice scored his first rushing touchdown of the season in the Cougars’ rout of the Tigers. | Corbin Ayres/The Cougar

After a disappointing loss last weekend to Texas Tech, it was imperative for Houston to come out and respond with a solid showing. The team did exactly that in a 70-14 dismantling of the TSU Tigers.

The Cougars took the field and proved they were on a mission to score early and often against an obviously overwhelmed opponent. Throughout the first quarter, junior quarterback D’Eriq King picked apart the Tigers’ defense, scoring a rushing touchdown and going 9-11 for 87 yards, while also passing a touchdown to junior wide receiver Keith Corbin.

If there is one thing people will remember about this game, it is the quick strike ability of the Cougars.

In the first half when the starters played, the team scored six touchdowns. Of those six scoring drives, four lasted two and a half minutes or less. The longest scoring drive of the half was a 14-play, 80-yard drive that lasted fewer than five minutes.

At halftime, the Cougars led 42-0 with King posting an 80 percent completion percentage while accumulating 200 yards passing and three passing touchdowns.

The surprise of the night was sophomore running back Chandler Smith. Smith led the team in rushing attempts, garnering more touches than junior running backs Mulbah Car and Patrick Carr combined.

While Smith failed to top 100 yards rushing, he did average over seven yards per carry on a night that saw him score two touchdowns for the Cougars.

The Cougars’ defense was also on a mission to make up for its play after giving up over 700 yards of offense to the Red Raiders. It made sure that it held up its end of the bargain, allowing the Tigers to average just under three and a half yards per play through the first half of play. The defensive starters also did not allow the opposition to score a single point before halftime.

The defense’s most prolific moment, however, came at the beginning of the second quarter when, on a Tigers’ fourth-and-seven, sophomore defensive lineman Payton Turner broke through and blocked a punt attempt by the Tigers. The block set up a three-play scoring drive that would prove to be the game winner.

All told, it was a balanced showing for the Cougars. The team accumulated over 350 passing yards and over 250 rushing yards, averaging over seven yards per play in each category.

Houston now heads into its bye week and has 11 days before its next game Thursday, Oct. 4 against Tulsa.

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