The University of Houston Cougars pulled off an outstanding comeback to defeat the University of Central Florida Knights, 31-24. The Cougars were down by 21 points early in the second half. The offense played lackluster and could not get the ball moving. The defense is what resurrected this team in the second half.
The Cougars went into halftime losing 21-3. The Knights’ Shaquem Griffin had a field day in the first half with seven tackles and 2 ½ sacks. This Cougars’ offense has started slow for the past four games. The running game is nonexistent with -12 yards in the first half. The fans booed the Cougars on the way to their locker room.
Coming out of the half, Cougars’ quarterback Greg Ward Jr. fumbled the ball on the second play of the third quarter, and the Knights’ Shaquem Griffin recovered the fumble at the Cougars’ 13-yard line. The Knights’ were able to get a field goal off the fumble. On the Cougars following possession, Dillon Birden broke for a 46-yard gain and was brought down at the Cougars’ six-yard line. Ward Jr. found the end zone three plays later. Later in the third quarter, the Cougars scored another touchdown, when Ward Jr. found Romello Brooker in the back of the end zone. The Knights remained in the lead at the end of third quarter 24-17. The Cougars were able to take their first lead of the game midway through the fourth quarter, when Ward Jr. ran the ball into the end zone from the 14-yard line.
The Cougars’ defense was able to force 4 turnovers in the second half, which made all of the difference in the game and helped secure the comeback win.
“I think it’s one of the biggest, if not the biggest, wins in our program’s history. We had our backs to the wall,” said Coach Herman on the 21-point comeback.
The Cougars’ two losses on the season have been due to the fact they are turning the ball over, and because of their inability to stop the run. The Cougars suffered their second loss of the season last week against the SMU Mustangs, and with the win against the Knights, they are now a game back in the American Athletic Conference behind Navy. In order for the Cougars to make the conference championship, Navy would have to lose out, and the Cougars would have to win the rest of their conference, which includes an extremely tough matchup against the fifth-ranked Louisville Cardinals.
On another bright note for the Cougars, former Cougars quarterback and current Los Angeles Rams quarterback Case Keenum’s jersey was retired at halftime.