Saturday, October 29, 2016

Second half rally leads Houston to 31-24 win over UCF

Photo by Robert H Kelly,
Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2016 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (October 29, 2016) Trailing 21-3 at halftime, the No. 24 Houston Cougars scored 28 unanswered points in the second half to down the UCF Knights by the score of 31-24 in from of a crowd of 35,846 people at TDECU Stadium in Houston on Saturday, October 29, 2016. The win pushed the Cougars to 7-2 for the season.

After a three-and-out by UCF to begin the game, Houston took possession on their own 31-yard line. Quarterback Greg Ward Jr. received a bad snap, pushing the ball back to their 23-yard line.  Three plays later, Ward, Jr. was intercepted on a pass intended for Chance Allen. The Knights took over on their own 46-yard line. Quarterback McKenzie Milton then engineered a 54-yard, seven-play drive the generated the first score of the game when running back Adrian Killins carried the ball the final six yards for the drive for the score. Matthew Wright booted the extra point to give UCF a 7-0 lead after 5:44 of play.

After beginning their third drive of the game, Houston advanced the ball into Knight territory when Ward, Jr. was intercepted for the second time in the first half on a pass that was tipped at the line of scrimmage. The knights took over and were not able to generate much offense, eventually giving the ball back to the Cougars. Houston ended their long drive of the season, in minutes, with a 31-yard field goal by Ty Cummings. The Cougars’ scoring drive lasted 7:37, covering 66 yards in 19 plays. UCF increased their lead to 14-3 with 3:06 remaining in the first half on a one-yard touchdown run by Dontravious Wilson and the kicking conversion by Wright. The drive covered 82 yards in 11 plays and lasted 3:36. Houston received the ball on their 27-yard and quickly began to move down the field. Five plays later, Ward, Jr. was again intercepted, giving the Knights possession on the Houston 47-yard line. It took UCF four plays and 26 seconds to put another seven points on the board to give them a 21-3 at halftime.

The Knights kicked off the third quarter will a 41-yard field goal by Wright. The Cougars promptly scored two touchdowns to cut the Knights’ lead to 24-17 on a one-yard run by Ward, Jr. and a six-yard pass from Ward, Jr. to Romello Brooker. UCF started the third quarter with possession of the ball. After three plays, Milton was sacked for a 12-yard loss, causing him to fumble. The ball was recovered by safety Garrett Davis, giving the Cougars possession on the UCF 24-yard line. Houston used three plays to cover the 24 yards and tie the game with a Duke Catalon 11-yard TD rush and another Cummings kick with 12:55 remaining. Five minutes later they sealed the win with a 14-yard run by Ward, Jr.

Houston has three games remaining in their 2016 season, with the next two games at home. On Saturday, November 12, they will face Tulane on Homecoming weekend. They will follow that up with a Thursday, November 17 matchup against No. 5 Louisville and will close out the regular season when they travel to Memphis for a Friday, November 25 contest.

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