Houston Cougars; Local College Football Round-Up

Oct 29, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Cougars defensive end Nick Thurman (91) celebrates after a defensive play during the fourth quarter against the Central Florida Knights at TDECU Stadium. The Cougars won 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 29, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Cougars defensive end Nick Thurman (91) celebrates after a defensive play during the fourth quarter against the Central Florida Knights at TDECU Stadium. The Cougars won 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

With a month left to the college football season how are things looking for the hometown Houston teams?  Especially the Houston Cougars?

One word — satisfactory.

Daytime college football was filled with the thrills of victory while the evening was filled with the agony of defeat. Both the Houston Cougars and HBU pulled out wins in games they had to have while Rice and TSU continued to struggle. Here in a nutshell are the game recaps for each.

Houston Cougars 31 UCF Knights 24

A Greg Ward Jr. 14-yard keeper with 3:50 on the game clock proved the difference maker as the Houston Cougars rallied for a 34-27 win the return of running back Duke Catalon on Saturday afternoon at TDECU Stadium.

After a first half in which Ward threw three interceptions, the inept Houston Cougars turned it around.

Trailing by 21 points, the defense held UCF to 29 total yards in the second half and Ward transformed the Houston Cougars offense back into a juggernaut.

Houston (7-2, 4-2 AAC) opened the second half much the way they finished the first half with a Greg Ward turnover. After that the Houston Cougars scored on four of their next seven possessions. Two of the four scoring drives started by cornerback Brandon Wilson‘s takeaways (interception and fumble recovery).

Early in the fourth quarter following another forced fumble by a defense that had four second half takeaways, Catalon’s 12 yard touchdown run tied the game at 24-24. Catalon finished the game with 82 yards on 19 carries.

Tom Herman had a few words after this past Saturday’s win:

"“We fought like I’ve never seen them fight,” said a relieved UH head coach Tom Herman."

Houston continues that fight on the road against Tulane on November 12th following a much-needed bye week.

Houston Baptist 24, Lamar 17

The Houston Baptist University Huskies did something on Saturday afternoon that had been a long time in the coming. Led by quarterback Tony Dawson’s two second half touchdown passes and another late defensive stand, the Huskies gained their first road win and conference road win in school history.

Here’s what HBU coach Vic Shealy had to say:

"“One of the things that is probably important to understand, when you’re growing from ground zero up, you’re working to become good, so you have a chance to win,” said a happy HBU head coach Vic Shealy following the win.  “Once you kind of get there, you find a way to win the close games, so maybe one day we’ll find a way to win going away, but we’ll take it tonight.”"

Trailing 10-7 at the break, Dawson although not efficient statistically (9-for-24, 193 yards, 2 TD’s and 73 yards rushing) was spectacular when needed most.

Dawson led an opening second half drive that led to an Alec Chadwick 33 yard field goal and a tied game. Late in the third quarter a Dawson to Ajdin hook-up from 31 yards out gave the Huakies a lead they would not relinquish.

The senior signal caller for HBU  found Isaiah Hall with a 44 yard touchdown pass just minutes into the fourth quarter and a two score lead.

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A Dawson fumble led to a Lamar touchdown and set up the last minute heroics. After a personal penalty and two pass interference penalties, the Cardinals were at the HBU 19 with 1:45 to play trailing by seven.

Junior cornerback Chris Hardeman knocked away the game’s final pass play on fourth and seven and HBU had itself a 24-17 win.

The Huskies (3-5, 2-4) hit the road, traveling up to UTEP in a match-up at the Sun Bowl. Kick-off is slated for 7 p.m. CDT.

La. Tech 61, Rice 16

The baseball season can’t come quickly enough for Rice U sports  Especially in a season that the Rice Owls would just as soon forget the beat down in Ruston, La.

For the third straight season, the Owls could do nothing right. Skip Holtz’s Bulldogs have won 12 straight in October and left little doubt as to who the dominant team was on Saturday night. The Owls trailed 41-0 at the half.

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Graysen Schantz and Cole Thomas combined to get Rice on the board with a blocked extra point and return just minutes into the second half.

Darik Dillard scored the first Rice touchdown with 3:06 to play in the third quarter. Jackson Tyner in his first collegiate action scored ona two yard run late to close out the scoring.

Former Crosby star Austin Walter led the Owls rushing attack with 74 yards on 10 carries including a 34 yard burst.

Rice will be back at home to take on Florida Atlantic this Saturday. Kick-off is set for 2:30 p.m. CDT.

Sam Houston 66, Texas Southern 17

The Bearkats sliced and diced their way through the Texas Southern Tigers defense on Saturday night enroute to a 66-17 win. The loss dropped TSU to 3-3 in the SWAC Western Conference.

It was 28-0 nothing before many in the crowd had settled into their seats. Each of the undefeated Sam Houston’s eight touchdown drives were quick, quick, quick. None lasted more than 1:43 while three were under a minute.

Tigers running back Brad Woodard set the tone for Texas Southern. Woodard ran for 122 yards and two scores including a 61 yard touchdown jaunt.

Texas Southern (3-5) returns home to BBVA Compass Stadium to face Lenard Tillery and the Southern Jaguars Saturday. Tillery is the SWAC conference all-time career rushing leader.