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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Football

King leads explosive offense over Midshipmen


Junior quarterback D’Eriq King had 469 yards of offense and four touchdowns against Navy. | Thomas Dwyer/The Cougar

 

Houston went north to face Navy and came home with a 49-36 win after the defense recovered from a poor first half performance.

The Midshipmen’s triple option proved insufficient to upend the Cougars, who had enough discipline to defeat the home team.

The Cougars started the game on the wrong foot and gave the Midshipmen the ball just 37 yards away from the goal line after a failed fourth down conversion. The defense was able to hold though, and Navy left the field with just three points.

Houston responded with a 75-yard touchdown drive that took just 1:57. Junior running back Patrick Carr finished the drive with a 22-yard run.

Navy’s run game got going on the next drive, and junior Malcolm Perry broke free and scored a 32-yard run.

Houston marched up the field and had a chance to tie the game with a field goal, but sophomore Dalton Witherspoon missed the 41-yard attempt.

Navy scored another pair of rushing touchdowns in the second quarter, while Houston moved the ball through the air for two of its own.

After playing poorly for most of the first two quarters, Houston’s defense came up with two stops to keep Navy’s lead to 24-21 at halftime. At the half, Houston had allowed 217 rushing yards, more than in any single game this season.

Meanwhile, junior quarterback D’Eriq King lit up the Navy defense with 255 yards in the air and 37 on the ground with a touchdown by each.

Houston’s defense continued its upward trend by starting the second half with a stop of Navy’s offense. On the other side of the ball, sophomore receiver Marquez Stevenson made big moves to juke defenders and win first downs for Houston.

King finished the drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Romello Brooker.

On the next drive, junior defensive tackle Ed Oliver made his third sack of the season as Houston stopped Navy yet again.

The pattern continued as the defense stepped up and didn’t allow Navy to score any points until the final two minutes when the game was out of reach.

Stevenson ran in one touchdown on a cutback sweep, junior receiver Keith Corbin had a touchdown reception after dropping many passes in the game and senior transfer Nick Watkins had a pick-six on defense.

King finished the game 25-38 with 413 yards passing and 56 yards rushing, and the team as a whole had 574 yards. Senior linebacker Austin Robinson was a big playmaker on defense and had 21 tackles, 4.5 for a loss and two sacks in the game.

One concern for the Cougars will be Oliver’s health. Oliver was chop blocked in the side of his knee on a play and came off the field limping. There was no word on the state of his leg, but he was walking up and down the sideline for the rest of the game.

Houston’s next game is against South Florida next Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in a showdown of two of the American Athletic Conference’s top teams.

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