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Temple hands Houston homecoming loss

Junior D’Eriq King fumbled the ball twice to give Temple two easy scores. | Courtesy of UH Athletics

Houston continued its downward slide with a 59-49 homecoming loss against Temple on Saturday night.

With the loss, Houston has lost control of its destiny in the chase for the American Athletic Conference’s West Division title.

Houston must win the rest of its games and hope that SMU loses one or the Dallas team will head to the AAC Championship game.

Junior Ed Oliver missed his third game in a row with a knee injury, which meant the entire first string defensive line was out with senior Gerard Carter and sophomore Isaiah Chambers also injured for the season.

Houston experienced a bad day on offense against SMU and the performance slump continued on the first drive against Temple. The Cougars went three-and-out and had the punt blocked to give the Owls the ball at the eight yard line.

Temple quickly converted with a pair of runs to push through and score the first touchdown of the game.

Houston moved the ball on the next drive, but junior quarterback D’Eriq King fumbled the ball to halt the team’s momentum.

With the ball back in their hands, the Owls marched up the field to score again as the Cougars could not find a way to stop the offense.

Houston’s next offensive drive was more successful as King led an 75-yard drive to score his first passing touchdown of the game to senior receiver Raelon Singleton.

Temple did not slow down at all and scored again on its next drive to make it 21-7 two minutes into the second quarter.

The offense kept the Cougars in the game with scoring possessions of its own. The Cougars went up the field quickly and scored with a eight-yard run by junior running back Patrick Carr.

Temple was finally stopped as Houston’s defense mustered up enough energy to force a three-and-out. The Cougars were unable to make anything of the chance and had a three-and-out of its own.

Houston’s defense stopped Temple, but sophomore defensive end Payton Turner got into it with a an offensive lineman and drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to give Temple new life. The Owls took the extended drive all the way to the end zone to make it 28-14.

At halftime, senior Karim Motani was named homecoming king and Alivia Mikahiel was named homecoming queen.

The second half went much like the first with Temple’s offense moving the ball at will with minor hiccups along the way.

The Owls scored on their first drive of the half with a 33-yard rush just 70 seconds in, but the Cougars responded with a quick touchdown pass 83 seconds later.

Temple fumbled the ball on the next kick return to give Houston the ball on the 13 yard line. King capitalized with a rushing touchdown to close the lead to 35-28, but it would not last.

Houston’s secondary continued to be burned as it has all season and Temple quickly scored to increase the lead to 14 again. King fumbled the ball again on a disrupted pass attempt and Temple moved the lead to 21 on its next drive.

The Cougars frantically tried to catch up and managed to close the lead back to seven with three passing touchdowns in a row to freshman Bryson Smith. It was not enough though, and the defense could not pull it together and stop the Owls.

Although he was not perfect, King had six touchdowns and took the AAC record in touchdowns responsible for in a single season with 48 this year. The defense gave up 314 yards on the ground and 225 yards through the air.

Houston has a short week to rest and prepare before Thursday’s 7 p.m. must-win game against Tulane.

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