"While I would prefer to start fast, if given the choice, we have to play 60 minutes and put people away when we can," UH coach Tony Levine said. "We have to get much better at finishing games."Ya think, coach? To be fair, this was the first time all season the Cougars had led a game by such a margin, and keeping teams focused when they're leading by 38 points is not always an easy task. But this game turned out to be a lot closer than it needed to be precisely because the Coogs took their collective foot off the pedal and allowed the Miners back into the game. Luckily for the Coogs, the clock was their best friend in the second half.
Quarterback David Piland appeared to be no worse for wear from the brutal hit he received at SMU, as he completed 16 of 30 passes for 174 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Running back Charles Sims amassed 119 yards and three touchdowns on twelve carries before sitting out much of the second half. The Cougars did fumble the ball twice (one of them coming on yet another special teams miscue), but they also forced six UTEP turnovers, including an interception that cornerback D.J. Hayden returned 97 yards for a touchdown.
With the win, the Cougars even their record at 4-4. Unfortunately, now their toughest portion of the schedule begins with two games on the road (at East Carolina this Saturday, and at Marshall in three weeks) and a visit from league-leading Tulsa at home two weeks from now.