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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Football

With Marquez Stevenson out, UH WRs have ‘opportunity’ to step up


Junior receiver Bryson Smith runs with the ball in Houston's 2019 matchup against Cincinnati. Smith will have a chance to step up with senior receiver Marquez Stevenson out. | File Photo

Junior receiver Bryson Smith runs with the ball in Houston’s 2019 matchup against Cincinnati. Smith will have a chance to step up with senior receiver Marquez Stevenson out. | File Photo

Coming off his best game of the 2020 season in which he hauled in nine receptions for 129 yards and two touchdowns, senior wide receiver Marquez Stevenson was looking to continue to put up big numbers against UCF, but things did not go according to plan.

Early in the first quarter on his first catch of the game, Stevenson went down with what appeared to be an ankle injury and proceeded to head into the Cougars’ locker room.

After being examined by the UH medical team, Stevenson returned to the sidelines in shorts and wearing a boot on his left foot as he was out for the rest of the game.

The Cougars hoped that the 6-foot speedster would quickly recover and be ready to go Saturday for their matchup with No. 6 Cincinnati, but that will not happen as Stevenson still needs more time to recover.

“Marquez is out,” Holgorsen said on Thursday of Stevenson, nicknamed “Speedy.”

Holgorsen also said that the Cougars will be without junior receiver Tre’Von Bradley, who is third on the team in receiving yards with 202.

Despite looking at the negatives of being without two of his top receivers, Holgorsen has chosen to view Stevenson’s injury as an opportunity for some of Houston’s other’s receivers to prove themselves.

One of the guys Holgorsen mentioned was junior receiver Jeremy Singleton, who missed the Cougars’ past two games due to injury.

“Yeah it’s a blow,” Holgorsen said regarding Stevenson being out. “But it’s an opportunity for Jeremy Singleton to step in and play, which he hasn’t played in the last two weeks.”

“I mean (Singleton) is one of our better dudes … He’s a guy that has made plays for us. He’s been there. He’s done that for the last couple of years and I think he’s ready to say ‘you know what, I can play a little bit too, so let’s throw me the ball.'”

Along with Singleton, Stevenson’s injury gives junior receiver Bryson Smith a chance to make a statement that he can be a key contributor for Houston’s offense.

“It’s an opportunity for Bryson to know that he’s a guy we’re going to count on and step in and do some things,” Holgorsen said. “Saturday is an opportunity for him to say, ‘Look, I’m not just Speedy’s backup right now. It’s time for me to get in there and go.'”

While the current Houston receiving situation is certainly not ideal with all the injuries, Holgorsen has confidence that guys like Singleton and Smith will do a good job of stepping up and taking on a bigger role in the offense while Stevenson and Bradley are out.

“We’re going to step up and we’re going to put the guys out there that can make plays,” Holgorsen said. “Whoever’s there, we’re going to coach hard, and I know those guys are going to play hard.”

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