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Cougars shine in 46-25 win over Mean Green

Sophomore quarterback Clayton Tune made his first start of the season for the Cougars in the 46-25 win. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

Sophomore quarterback Clayton Tune made his first start of the season for the Cougars in the 46-25 win. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

Several Cougars stood out in Houston’s 46-25 win over North Texas on Saturday night at Apogee Stadium in Denton, breathing new life into a UH team that went into the game coming off a shocking loss to Tulane and without its star quarterback.

The Cougars, now sitting at 2-3 after their first FBS win of the season against the Mean Green, did not outgain their opponent in total yards on offense, but held its own on defense.

Houston held North Texas to only 96 yards rushing and tallied eight tackles for a loss for 27 yards.

The win comes despite the Cougars going in without King, who earlier this week announced his decision to redshirt and sit out for the rest of the year.

Tune takes over

Sophomore quarterback Clayton Tune took over under center after King’s decision, and the Carrollton native did not disappoint.

Tune, who played five games for the Cougars in 2018 and made his first start of the year against the Mean Green, threw for 124 yards and rushed for 100 more.

Hebron High School graduate got things started early in the game after throwing his lone touchdown to senior wide receiver Courtney Lark, putting the Cougars up 14-0 late in the first quarter.

Houston’s new starter completed 16 of 20 passes and averaged 7.8 yards per completion against the North Texas defense.

On the ground, his highlight of the game came on a 55-yard rush late in the fourth quarter to set up a Houston touchdown.

Carr switches gears

While Tune played well in his first game as the Cougars’ ringleader, senior running back Patrick Carr was the backbone of UH’s offense in the win

Carr, who led the game in rushing thanks to a 139-yard outing, improved on his past two performances of the season.

Against Washington State and Tulane, Carr averaged just 70 yards and scored no touchdowns.

He scored three touchdowns on the night, with his longest being a 68-yard run early in the first quarter putting the first points on the board.

Carr also scored Houston’s first touchdown in the third quarter since its season opener against Oklahoma, a game that the senior missed due to injury.

During the play, Carr rushed for a 2-yard touchdown, putting the Cougars up 24-6.

His final score of the night came following the aforementioned 55-yard run by Tune.

Just two plays after Tune’s rush, Carr ran for 12-yards to seal the Mean Green’s fate.

The ground game wasn’t the only way the Cougars found the endzone.

Special teams excel

Houston had its best special teams game against North Texas since its 2011 73-17 win over Tulane, a game that saw the Cougars score two touchdowns off punt returns.

UH’s first score on special teams for the night came halfway through the third quarter after junior wide receiver Marquez Stevenson took a kickoff return 82 yards to the house to give Houston a 31-12 lead.

The Cougars had not returned a kickoff for a score since 2016 against Texas State, scored by none other than King, who was then a freshman.

Less than 10 minutes after Stevenson’s score, sophomore wide receiver Bryson Smith returned a Mean Green punt 60-yards into the end zone for the Cougars’ second special teams touchdown of the night.

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