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Thursday, March 30, 2023


UH football scores 26 fourth-quarter points to beat Memphis

UH football quarterback Clayton Tune threw for 366 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Memphis on Friday night. | Courtesy of UH athletics

UH football quarterback Clayton Tune threw for 366 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Memphis on Friday night. | Courtesy of UH athletics

When there seemed like there was no hope, UH came alive, scoring 26 fourth-quarter points to overcome a 19-point deficit and knock off Memphis 33-32 on Friday night at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

Down 13 with 4:04 left in regulation, the Cougars put together a 75-yard drive sparked by a 15-yard fourth-down scramble by senior quarterback Clayton Tune to begin the drive and ending with a 13-yard touchdown reception by senior receiver KeSean Carter.

Sophomore kicker Kyle Ramsey got a perfect bounce on the onside kick which was covered by senior tight end Christian Trahan at the UH 49-yard line.

A couple of big passes to redshirt freshman receiver Samuel Brown set UH up at the Memphis 2-yard line. On the next play, Tune connected with Carter once again for a touchdown with 18 seconds on the clock.

Senior defensive end Atlias Bell sealed the deal with a sack.

UH’s first quarter nightmares continued on Friday as the Cougars’ offense was once again held scoreless. 

On the other hand, Memphis couldn’t have scripted a better start. Aided by a third-down pass interference call on UH senior nickel back Jayce Rogers, Memphis marched 78 yards down the field on 14 plays on its opening possession. Running back Brandon Thomas found the end zone from 3 yards out to cap off the long drive and put Memphis up 7-0.

The Tigers’ defense, which ranked sixth in the country in interceptions entering Friday night, came up with interception No. 9 on the Cougars’ next possession as Memphis’ Quindell Johnson picked off Tune on a third down at the Memphis 45-yard line.

Memphis tight end Cade Prieskorn made sure that the takeaway didn’t go to waste. After catching a short pass from quarterback Seth Henigan, Prieskorn found some green grass, taking it 25 yards to the house on the final play of the first quarter.

Back-to-back sacks from junior defensive lineman Jamaree Caldwell and senior defensive end Nelson Ceaser provided the spark UH needed. 

Following the defensive stop, freshman running back Brandon Campbell got things going for the UH offense with a 34-yard run to the Memphis 25. Campbell also picked up a fourth-and-1 conversion to get the ball to the Memphis 1-yard line before Tune got into the end zone on a quarterback sneak with the help of a push from Trahan to cut the deficit in half.

After Memphis got its lead back up to double-digits on a 36-yard field goal, the UH offense marched 70 yards down the field in under two minutes to set up a 21-yard chip shot with five seconds left in the half. Senior kicker Bubba Baxa pulled the kick wide left, sending the Cougars into the half trailing 17-7.

Senior safety Gervarrius Owens swung momentum in UH’s favor early in the second quarter, stripping Memphis receiver Joe Scates after a 29-yard gain and recovering the fumble himself.

Tune connected with Trahan for 37 yards on the Cougars’ first play of the second half to put UH deep in Memphis territory.

Facing a third-and-goal at the Memphis 1-yard line plays later, Tune failed to get in on a quarterback sneak, a play which he had scored on in the second quarter. Campbell was stuffed on fourth-and-goal, squandering the golden opportunity to get within three of Memphis.

Following the fourth down stop, the Tigers put together a 15-play, 89-yard drive that ended with a 28-yard field goal to extend the lead to 20-7.

Memphis added to its lead on the first play of the fourth quarter as wide receiver Gabriel Rogers threw a 41-yard dime to running back Asa Martin on a trick play for a touchdown. The Tigers attempted a two-point conversion but failed.

UH answered Memphis with a 4-play, 57-yard drive that ended with a 6-yard touchdown reception by junior receiver Nathaniel Dell. The Cougars also went for two but did not convert, trailing 26-13 early in the fourth quarter.

Memphis tacked on three points on its ensuing possession on a 26-yard field goal.

Down 16, Rogers took the ensuing kickoff 100-yards to the house, the Cougars’ first special teams score of the season. Once again, UH went for two and failed.

An unsuccessful onside kick set Memphis up in UH territory. The Tigers’ drive stalled after picking up a first down before Chris Howard connected on his fourth field goal of the night, this one from 39 yards out.

Tune finished with 366 yards and three touchdowns through the air.

Brown led the Cougars in receiving with nine receptions for 116 yards. Dell hauled in 10 passes for 81 yards and Trahan had five catches for 73 yards.

With the win, UH now sits at 3-3 overall and 1-1 in American Athletic Conference play.

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