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Wednesday, March 29, 2023


Cougars to prey on reeling Pirates

Fiona Legesse/The Cougar

The Cougars will look to continue their success through the 2018 season as the team takes on the East Carolina Pirates a 6 p.m. Saturday in North Carolina.

Houston is 1-0 in the American Athletic Conference and 4-1 overall as it sits at the top of the AAC West division.

The Pirates, 0-2 in conference and 2-3 overall, finds itself at No. 5 out of six teams in the AAC East. ECU has struggled in the opening few games and is coming off a 49-6 defeat at Temple last Saturday.

Led by junior D’Eriq King, a quick-witted and equally quick-footed star quarterback, UH will look to its high-powered offense to defeat the lacking ECU side.

King has thrown for 1,362 yards and 18 touchdowns, ranking No. 6 in FBS in just five games this season.

The high-profile quarterback will look to his most prolific receiver, sophomore Marquez Stevenson. Stevenson has 29 catches this year for 432 yards and six touchdowns.

Not only is King a danger in the air, but he can also make the Pirate’s defense pay with his ability to run the ball. King has notched another seven touchdowns on the ground, making him tied for No. 13 in FBS in quarterback rushing touchdowns.

Paired with junior running back Patrick Carr, the two make for a threatening rushing duo, with 516 yards and eight touchdowns between the two.

On the defensive side of the ball, Houston will look to preseason All-American junior defensive tackle Ed Oliver to stop ECU’s offense. Oliver has recorded 40 tackles already, but he has yet to record a sack this season after notching 5.5 last season.

While ECU has struggled to find the perfect connection on the field, some aspects of its game have been clicking.

Sophomore quarterback Reid Herring has thrown for 1,273 yards with 54 percent completion. However, Herring has struggled to find the end zone as he has thrown only six touchdowns, plus five interceptions, through the Pirate’s five games.

ECU’s best chance at rattling Houston will come while the away team has possession.

With 19 sacks on the season, good to tie for No. 10 in FBS, ECU could hurry King into making uncomfortable throws. But if King is able to get comfortable, the Cougars could run away quickly, as the team is averaging 50 points per game as opposed to just 24 for the Pirates.

Both teams would benefit significantly from a victory Saturday evening.

Another loss for ECU would only make climbing the ranks of the stacked AAC East, where four teams are undefeated and three are ranked by the AP Poll, even more difficult.

For the Cougars, a victory would extend the winning streak to three games and the team would keep its hold of first place in the AAC West.

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