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Friday, January 21, 2022

Football

UH beats USF for eighth straight win


Senior wide receiver Jake Herslow somehow came down with this ball in the back of the end zone for the first Cougars touchdown of the night against USF. | Courtesy of UH athletics

Senior wide receiver Jake Herslow somehow came down with this ball in the back of the end zone for the first Cougars touchdown of the night against USF. | Courtesy of UH athletics

An offensive explosion of 646 yards powered UH football to its eighth straight win, defeating USF 54-42 on Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

The first half was the Brian Battie show, as the USF sophomore running back scored every time he touched the ball.

Battie started things off with a bang, taking the opening kickoff 100 yards to the house to give the Bulls a lead just seconds into the game.

A few drives later, UH tied the game as junior quarterback Clayton Tune threw a perfect ball to the back of the end zone that senior receiver Jake Herslow high-pointed and got a foot down in-bounds to secure the catch.

USF answered right back. After a few third down conversions to get deep in UH territory, Battie took his first and only carry of the half up to the middle and strolled 29 yards untouched into the end zone.

UH football cut into the deficit thanks to junior defensive lineman Atlias Bell. Bell tackled USF’s Jaren Mangham in the endzone to force a safety.

Early in the second quarter, senior kicker Dalton Witherspoon connected on a 19-yard field goal to cut USF’s lead to 14-12.

Once again, the Bulls responded as quarterback Timmy McClain found tight end Mitchell Brinkman for a 33-yard score.

The high-scoring first half continued as UH found the end zone two minutes later on a 6-yard rush by freshman running back Alton McCaskill.

Senior cornerback Marcus Jones got the Cougars the ball right back, picking off McClain in the end zone.

Jones’ interception set up a 55-yard touchdown reception by UH sophomore receiver Nathaniel Dell. This gave the Cougars their first lead of the night. This lead lasted only a matter of seconds though, as Battie took the ensuing kickoff 100 yards once again for his second kick return touchdown of the night.

USF went into the locker room up 28-26.

The Cougars wasted no time regaining the lead as McCaskill found the end zone for the second time of the night just over two minutes into the third quarter.

Junior running back Ta’Zhawn Henry got in on the fun on the Cougars’ next drive, taking a handoff 97 yards for a touchdown to put UH up double-digits. This was the longest rush in program history for UH.

USF refused to go away, as the Bulls put together an 11-play, 65-yard scoring drive to cut the Cougars’ lead to five.

As it had done all night, the UH offense responded, marching down the field at ease. Tune completed yet another throw under pressure, connecting with junior receiver Jeremy Singleton for a 27-yard touchdown.

McClain brought the Bulls within five once again, rushing for an 11-yard touchdown with just under four minutes left in the fourth quarter.

McCaskill put an end to any USF comeback hopes just a minute later, rushing for his third touchdown of the night, this time from 16 yards out, to put an exclamation point on the day for the UH offense.

Both McCaskill and Henry eclipsed the 100-yard mark on the ground with McCaskill rushing for 125 yards on 22 carries and Henry tallying 130 yards on 10 carries.

Dell and junior receiver KeSean Carter both had massive games. Dell caught eight passes for 164 yards and Carter hauled in six receptions for 123 yards.

This was the first time in UH football program history the Cougars had multiple 100-yard rushers and receivers in the same game.

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