|Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography|
Copyright 2012 TexSport Publications
HOUSTON, TEXAS (October 13, 2012)Getting the ball inside the red zone and failing to score a touchdown can be a major problem for some teams, but note the Houston Cougars,
Houston had to settle for five field goals when the University of Alabama-Birmingham defense shut down the Cougars’ offensive drives, but in the end they prevailed, downing the Blazers 39-17 at Robertson Stadium in Houston.
David Piland continued his offensive assault in the air, completing 32-of-44 passes for 362 yards and one touchdown.
Charles Sims showed the Blazers, and the fans at The Rob, why Piland hands the ball off to him so frequently.
The swift running back, who played his high school ball at Houston’s Westbury High School, carried the ball 26 times for 133 yards.
The Cougars got the ball into the zone at the 9:52 mark in the first quarter on a 25 yard pass from Piland to junior wide receiver Shane Ros.
Ros finished the game with seven receptions for 114 yards
The Blazers tied it up at the 6:32 mark in the first quarter with the Cougars settling for the first of their four red zone field goals; a 23-yarder, three minutes later.
Matt Hogan connected on five more field goals of 27, 23, 29, 52, and 29 yards.
His six field goals set a school and Conference USA record for total number of field goals in a single game.
When asked in the post game press conference about the records, he replied,
I was just actually told after the game. I had no idea so I guess the feeling is pretty nice. Everybody wants to see six, but I like to try and get three when I can. It’s all actually very surprising. I just go out there when I’m told, but it’s always nice to get a three when possible.
Red shirt freshman Kenneth Farrow and true freshman Ryan Jackson both added to the Houston scoring onslaught on runs of one-yard and 10-yards respectively, both in the third quarter.
Houston’s offense continued to show improvement, but they did have issues capitalizing on long drives as shown by their failure score touchdowns five times while inside the red zone.
Head coach Tony Levine addressed that very issue when questioned by the media after the game.
It’s nice to have one of the best kickers in the nation with [Matt] Hogan, but we would prefer seven over three. We have to do a better job of that, and I give UAB credit. They weren’t going to let us run the ball. When you get inside the 10 and the field is condensed, your passing game is limited. We’ve got to do a better job of finishing and executing blocks in the red-zone.
On the defensive side of the ball, senior linebacker Phillip Steward reeked havoc on the Blazer offense; totaling 13 tackles and sacking quarterback Austin Brown twice for major losses.
Brown spent much of the game looking up at the Cougars after being sacked a total of eight times.
In fact, the entire Houston defense contributed to the win with three players, D.J. Hayden, Chris Cermin, and Derrick Mathews accounting for nine, seven and seven tackles, respectively.
The 25,212 fans at Robertson Stadium were treated to a different kind of entertainment during halftime when a red-clad masked man rushed onto John O’Quinn Field.
He was quickly dispatched by security personal and was taken into custody by the Harris County Sheriff’s Department and University of Houston police.
Houston will have a quick turn-a-round this coming week as they prepare to face SMU in just five days.
The Cougars will travel to Dallas on Thursday to take on the Mustangs with a 7:00 p.m. kickoff.