Thursday, October 31, 2013

Houston Cougars down USF Bulls, 35-23

Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 22013 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (October 31, 2013) The Houston Cougars raised their season record to 7-1 Thursday evening at Houston’s Reliant Stadium with a 35-23 win over the University of South Florida.
The win also gave the Cougars a 4-0 record in conference play and kept them atop the standings in the American Athletic Conference.

The Houston Cougars drew first blood at the 12:49 mark in the first quarter on a three play, 64 yard drive that concluded with a six-yard touchdown pass from John O’Korn to Xavier Maxwell.

They drive lasted 1:11 and give the Cougars a 7-0 lead after Kyle Bullard split the uprights for the extra point.

USF drove down the field into the red some on their third possession for the game, but were unable to capitalize the 41-yard punt return by Chris Dunkley that set up the scoring drive.

The Bulls had to settle for three points with Marvin Kloss sending the ball between the goal posts from 39 yards out.

The Cougars closed out the quarter with 59 seconds remaining when O’Korn tossed a shovel pass to Kenneth Farrow from three-yards out to take the score to 13-3 in favor of the Cougars.

Bullard made his second conversion of the night to give Houston an 11 point lead.

South Florida begin the second quarter with a 77-yard, nine play drive that concluded with a eight-yard pass to Mike McFarland to cut the Cougars’ lead to four points.

Houston got back their 11 points lead 90 second later when Ryan Jackson busted a six yard touchdown run to take a 21-10 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Cougars added to their lead at the nine minute mark in the third quarter when O’Korn found Deontay Greenberry open downfield and cut lose with a 48-yard pass that resulted in Houston’s fourth touchdown of the evening.

During the third quarter, the Bulls could only manage two field goals of 49 and 50 yard to add to their previous total of ten points.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Cougars held a 28-16 lead when the Bulls mounted a comeback of 75 yards in 13 plays which concluded in 1 two-yard pass from Mike White to Mike McFarland.

Kloss again split the uprights to make the score 28-23 in favor of the Cougars.

O’Korn promptly began the Cougar’s drive and after five plays; Richie Leone punted the ball 43 yards to the UCF 10 yard line.

After six plays, the Cougar defense forced the Bulls to punt; kicking the ball 41 yards to Damian Payne.

Payne promptly sprinted to the right and was grabbed by Fidel Montgomery; forcing the fumble and giving the Bulls the ball on the Cougar 25-yard line.

UCF got to work, trying to get the ball into the end zone, but after an offensive pass interference call and a forced fumble, gave the ball right back to Houston.

With less than four minutes left in the game, O’Korn slowly and methodically began to use the field and the clock to Houston’s advantage.
Houston called time out with 1:56 remaining with the ball on the UCF 21-yard line and a first and ten.

O’Korn kept the ball on the ground and after carries by himself and Farrow; scored their fifth touchdown of the game.

UCF got the ball for the final 1:40 but were unable to add any points.

The Cougars will face two tough road tests in the next two weeks as they face #19 Central Florida on Nov. 9 and #20 Louisville on Nov. 16.

They will return to Houston on Nov. 23, when they will face Cincinnati on Nov. 23 at Rice Stadium.

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