University of Houston senior quarterback D’Eriq King rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another score in a 31-24 loss to No. 20/20 Washington State in the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff inside NRG Stadium on Friday night.
King rushed for 94 yards on 17 carries with a 1-yard touchdown run late in the first half to pull Houston to within a touchdown. The Manvel, Texas native added a 12-yard touchdown scamper late in the fourth quarter to move Houston to within 31-24.
King started the scoring in the game with a 13-yard touchdown pass to junior receiver Marquez Stevenson midway through the second quarter.
With his performance, King posted his 14th consecutive game with passing and rushing touchdowns, equaling the FBS record held by Florida’s Tim Tebow.
Washington State quarterback Anthony Gordon threw for 440 yards and three touchdowns on 36-of-48 passing. Brandon Arconado led the way with nine receptions for 115 yards, while Eason Winston Jr., Travell Harris and Dezmon Patmon each hauled in touchdown catches.
In a battle of two high-powered offenses, which had scored at least 37 points in each of their first two games, the two teams battled to a scoreless first quarter. Houston started the game’s scoring with a 15-play, 82-yard drive that was capped by King’s 13-yard touchdown strike on third down to Stevenson with 7:33 left in the first half.
Washington State (3-0) wasted little time in evening the score at 7-7 on Gordon’s 39-yard pass to Winston less than two minutes later.
King led the Cougars (1-2) on their ensuing possession to regain the lead at 14-7. He completed two passes for 32 yards and rushed three times for 15 yards, including a 1-yard plunge on a sneak with 2:27 left in the half.
Washington State quickly marched down the field and threatened to tie the game. However, junior safety Gleson Sprewell halted that drive with an interception in the end zone to give the Cougars a 14-7 lead at the break. The Surprise, Ariz. native finished the game with a team-high nine tackles, including seven solo stops.
Washington State tied the game at 14-14 on Max Borghi’s 1-yard touchdown run with 10:24 left in the third period and took the lead for good on Gordon’s 39-yard touchdown pass to Patmon midway through the period.
Houston cut the deficit to 21-17 when junior Dalton Witherspoon nailed a 42-yard field goal with 10:45 left in the game.
However, Washington State used a 95-yard drive to take more than four minutes off the clock and grabbed a 28-17 lead on Travell Harris’ 7-yard touchdown reception with 6:43 remaining.
Following a Houston fumble on its next possession, Washington State took over deep in UH territory and took a 31-17 lead on Blake Mazza’s 22-yard field goal.
Houston pulled to within a touchdown when King rushed into the end zone from 12 yards out with 2:21 remaining in the game, but Washington State recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock to claim the win.
The Cougars continue their 2019 season and open American Athletic Conference play when they face Tulane at 7 p.m., Thursday, inside Yulman Stadium in New Orleans. That game can be seen on ESPN and heard on KPRC 950 AM.
Houston returns to TDECU Stadium when it meets Cincinnati on Oct. 12.