The University of Houston Cougars escaped with a win against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane 38-31 this past Saturday. The Cougars rebounded against the Hurricane, after suffering a disappointing loss last week to the Navy Midshipmen. With Cougars’ running back Duke Catalon out this game due to a head injury, Dillon Birden was named the starter. Cougars’ linebacker Tyus Bowser was also out due to a broken nose.
On the fifth play of the game, the Cougars’ offensive lineman Na’Ty Rodgers went down with a lower leg injury. He did not return to the game. The Cougars’ Greg Ward Jr. got busy early, pitching the ball to Birden, who ran it in for a 17-yard touchdown. The drive went 76 yards over eight plays. The Golden Hurricane answered the Cougars’ touchdown with a 32-yard field goal by Redford Jones. The Cougars then took the ball 60 yards down the field and ended up with a 33-yard field goal by Ty Cummings. The Cougars’ Terrell Williams was ejected from the game midway through the second quarter due to a targeting call, and at the half, the game was all knotted up at 17. Early in third quarter, Ward Jr. fumbled the snap and it was recovered by Tulsa’s Craig Suits. Tulsa was unable to capitalize on the turnover.
The Cougars began to lean heavily on Ward Jr. The Cougars started to pull away in the fourth quarter. Birden was able to get his third touchdown of the game. The Golden Hurricane drew closer on a 38-yard touchdown to Justin Hobbs from Evans. The Cougars’ Stephen Taylor went down with an injury late in the fourth quarter. He was able to return, however. Tulsa scored 14 unanswered points to tie the game with 3:31 left in the game. The Cougars’ Garrett Davis forced a fumble on Dane Evans, and Emeke Egbule returned it 24 yards for the touchdown.
After an intense goal line stand, the Cougars’ Austin Johnson stopped Jesse Brubaker at the goal-line to give the Cougars the win.
Ward Jr. had 396 total yards against the Golden Hurricane, while 142 of those yards were on the ground. The Cougars’ rushing defense was back in form only allowing 94 yards on the ground. The Cougars will play against SMU next week in Dallas.