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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Football

Sack Avenue, the place a quarterback’s nightmare becomes a reality


The UH defensive line poses around the Sack Avenue sign after recording eight sacks in the Cougars' victory over Tulane. | Courtesy of UH athletics

The UH defensive line poses around the Sack Avenue sign after recording eight sacks in the Cougars’ victory over Tulane. | Courtesy of UH athletics

Coming into the season, the Houston defensive line felt like something special was brewing among their position group.

As a unit, the Cougars’ defensive line wanted to brand the group with some sort of name that would let the country know what they are all about.

After conversing amongst each other, the group decided on a name that would strike fear into opposing quarterbacks’ eyes.

“We call ourselves Sack Avenue,” junior defensive lineman Derek Parish said. “We’re always (wanting) to live up to that name and title.”

Of course, the Cougars’ defensive line knew that they needed some swag if they were going to call themselves Sack Avenue.

And thus, the Sack Ave street sign was created.

“We made the sign just to give them a little bit more encouragement to continue to develop and continue to get to the quarterback,” said UH defensive coordinator Doug Belk. “They’ve been doing a really good job of that. They’ve kind of taken that idea and just made it their own.”

All the talk about how dominant the UH defensive front would be combined with the effort put in by the unit to brand themselves, the Cougars knew they needed to back up their words with their play on the field.

Seven weeks into the college football season and it’s safe to say that the UH defensive line has not only performed like they said they would but has exceeded expectations by a mile.

“That’s kind of what we’re becoming known for,” UH head coach Dana Holgorsen said when asked about his defensive line’s ability to consistently get to the quarterback.

The UH defense bragged about its depth upfront all offseason and it’s shown through the first half of the season.

Eight different UH defensive lineman have recorded a sack on the season. Junior Logan Hall has a team-high four sacks followed closely behind by juniors Derek Parish and Latrell Bankston, who each have recorded 3.5 sacks.

As a whole, the Cougars rank third in the nation in sacks per game, averaging 4.17 a contest.

Junior cornerback Art Green has a front row seat to watch the Cougars’ defensive line wreck havoc on the opposing offense week after week.

In all of his football career, Green has never seen a more dominant defensive line than the one the Cougars have in 2021.

“The D-line is crazy,” Green said. “They make our job (in the secondary) way easier.”

This was put on full display in UH’s dominating win over Tulane.

The Cougars made Green Wave quarterback Michael Pratt’s night a living nightmare, sacking Pratt eight times.

After the game, junior D’Anthony Jones walked around the field at Yulman Stadium holding up the Sack Ave red street sign 

Holgorsen showed his approval of the UH defensive line’s performance, tweeting “Sack Ave is my favorite street in Houston!!”

For the UH defensive line, the best part of their success is the joy the entire team has each time one of them gets to the opposing quarterback.

While it started out as a simple idea within the defensive line room, Sack Avenue has now become the identity of the entire UH team.

“Us as a unit, we collectively call ourselves Sack Ave,” Hall said. “So whoever gets a sack, we hold up that Sack Avenue (sign). That’s us. We’re just letting the world know.”

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