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Cougar Defense Dominates #17 USF

Ed Oliver

Coogs wrestle game from USF in 2nd half

Go CoogsI don’t feel battered and abused like I did last week and I’m very happy escaping with a win. But we are a hail mary away from another gut punch. But I’m glad we finally did the punching.

If you told me that USF, as a home team, would have 20 more plays, 65 more yards, 9 more completions, 5 more first downs, and sacked us 5 times … I’d have said we lost by 2-3 TDs. But then something weird happened…

We outplayed a good team in the second half. We outplayed a good team in the second half. We outplayed a good team in the second half. We outplayed a good team in the second half. We outplayed a good team in the second half. We outplayed a good team in the second half. We outplayed a good team in the second half. We outplayed a good team in the second half.

D'Eriq KingI enjoyed watching new Houston QB D’Eriq King grow and gain confidence in himself throughout the game. There were a few times in 2014 you saw this with Greg Ward but never from the first half to the second like we saw with King. A lot of that credit goes to Mulbah Car.

Running back Mulbah Car again dazzled and ran even harder after his first half fumble. He learned from that mistake and ran with 2 hands and ran hard. Player of the game for me – his 2nd half play (16 for 126 – 7.9 ypc) allowed King to improve and put pressure on USF to respond.

Key Stat: Houston finished with 315 yards in the 2nd half after an anemic 82 in the first.

The day after his first significant playing time at QB is the most important day of King’s season. He will get to watch video with Major and Brian and see his mistakes – letting the pocket collapse on him, taking sacks, bad throws, etc. I’m interested to see improvement vs ECU. He won’t face the same level of defense but seeing his decision making improve will be a great sign.

How about that UH defense on 1st down? Simply fantastic.

USF had a total of 35 first downs and made 3 big plays on 1st (33, 38, and 20 yards). On the other 32 first down snaps, we limited USF to an average of 2.25 yards.

Q1: 9 1st downs / 31 yards
Q2: 10 / 48 yards (33 on 1 play)
Q3: 8 / 22 yards
Q4: 8 / 62 yards (38 & 20 yard plays)

12 of their 35 first down plays went for a loss or no gain.

The excellence on 1st down allowed us to put them in bad situations on third down. And we were fantastic on 3rd down, too, giving up just 7 of 23 (30%).

UH forced 9 punts on the day – the most of the season. That’s remarkable in a way because USF went for it on 4th down more than any opponent we’ve faced.

South Florida was in the top 5 in rushing offense coming into this game but we completely shut them down. The plan to contain Flowers worked and thanks to Mulbah, we nearly doubled them in rush yards (255 / 137). Before the game, the Bulls averaged 305 on the ground (5.25 ypc). We held them to 2.5 ypc.

Our 255 rush yards moved us into the top 50 in rushing.

Despite our giddiness, we are still T-71 in the country in scoring. Our output yesterday raised our average ppg by .075 and now tied with LSU, Nevada, and USM at 27.375.

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