Friday, November 29, 2013

Houston Cougars shutout SMU, 34-0; await bowl invitation

Greg Ward Jr. (1) catches a 19-yard touchdown pass from
John O'Korn at the 13:05 mark in the second quarter.
Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2013 All Right Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2013 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (November 29, 2013) When the Houston Cougars took to the field on Saturday, November 30, 2013 at Reliant Stadium to face their long-time rival, the SMU Mustangs, they were looking to come back from a three-game losing streak that stretched back to November 9.

Not only did their get out of the losing streak, they set themselves up for an invitation from three possible bowl game.

The Cougars wasted no time dispatching the Mustangs back to Dallas in a 34-0 shutout, their first of the season and their first ever over SMU.

On their first play from scrimmage, freshman quarterback John O’Korn unleashed a 67-yard touchdown to Daniel Spencer to get on the board at the 13:32 mark in the first quarter.

The Cougars came back for their second score of the game when Adrian McDonald intercepted a Neil Burcham pass at the SMU 29 yard line.

After failing to get the ball into the end zone, Kyle Bullard booted a 27-yard field goal to put the Cougars up 10-0 with 5:23 remaining in the first quarter.

They added a second touchdown in the second quarter when O’Korn connected with quarterback playing receiver Greg Ward Jr. on a 19-yard pass route to take the score to 17-0.

Kent Brooks capped off the first half scoring with a one-yard plunge with 34 second left in the half.

The Cougars got the ball with SMU fumbled on a team rush, which allowed Eric Eliand to scoop it up and run 62 yards down the field to the SMU to set up the score

Bullard connected on all three extra point attempts to close out the scoring in the first half.

They continued their scoring juggernaut with a 37-yard rushing touchdown by Ryan Jackson at the 8:07 mark in the third quarter.

That touchdown was the results of a six-play, 59 yards drive that lasted 2:26.

Bullard added a 27-yard field goal at the 2:45 mark in the quarter to give Houston a 34 point lead.

O’Korn passed for 245 yards, while completing 25-of-41 passes and two touchdowns.

The Houston Cougars should know their bowl
destination by Saturday, December 7, 2013
Photo by Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved
Spencer caught seven passes for 100 yards while Jackson carried the ball seven times for 63 yards.

The contest saw SMU flagged 10 times for penalties, costing the 90 yards while coughing up the ball once and being picked off three times.

Burcham generated little offensive punch, completing 27-of53 passes and the three interceptions, and could not find a way to get the ball into the end zone past the Cougar defense.

The linebacker duo of Efrem Oliphant and Derrick Matthews each had four unassisted tackles and had a hand in a total of 15 more.

Adrian McDonald had 13 total tackles, with three of them being solos.

Now the Cougars will have to sit back and wait to see which bowl game comes a-knocking with an invitation.

The top prospects look to be the Pinstripe Bowl in New York City, the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. Tennessee.

The Belk Bowl and the Pinstripe Bowl will both be played on December 28, 2013 at Bank of America Stadium and Yankee Stadium, respectively.

The Liberty Bowl will be played on New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31) at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

Bowl invitations and opponents should be known around December 7.

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