Thursday, January 07, 2016

Peach Bowl: #18 Houston 38, #9 Florida State 24

The Cougars capped off their magical 2015 season with a convincing win over the Florida State Seminoles in the Georgia Dome last Thursday.

In spite of the fact that the Cougars were seven-point underdogs in this game, this was not a fluke win. This was total domination. Greg Ward, Jr completed 25 of 41 passes for 238 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 67 yards and two touchdowns. Chance Allen caught two touchdown passes, including a dazzling halfback throw from Demarcus Ayers (who ended his UH career with 9 receptions of his own for 82 yards). Ryan Jackson rushed for 54 yards and a TD, and backup quarterback Kyle Postma, coming in for a injured Greg Ward late in the game, sealed the win with a 29-yard rush of his own to set up Houston's final score. FSU's defense simply had no answer for a Cougar defense that racked up 448 total yards of offense and 27 first downs.

The Seminole offense was just as inept against the Cougar defense. They turned the ball over five (!) times. Florida State's biggest offensive threat, running back Dalvin Cook, was limited to 33 yards on 18 carries, and the Seminole rushing attack could only muster 16 yards for the entire game. FSU QB Sean Maguire did the best he could, toughing out a foot injury early in the game to complete 22 of 444 passes for 392 yards and two touchdowns, but he was savaged by UH's line all afternoon long and suffered multiple sacks.

The end result was Houston's biggest bowl victory since their thrilling win over Nebraska in the 1980 Cotton Bowl. It capped off an amazing season for the Cougars, and set the table for what could be an even more amazing 2016 season under coach Tom Herman.

I attended the game in Atlanta, along with my mom, dad and many family friends. My dad is a Florida State alum, and enjoyed watching FSU's marching band (of which he was a member) perform at halftime. But in the end, he was just as happy as the rest of us - there had to have been somewhere between 12 and 15 thousand UH fans in attendance - to see the Cougars notch this win. I am a Houston Cougar because of him, and given his age, he's probably not going to see too many more seasons like this one, so I'm glad he was able to enjoy it and I'm happy I got to watch it with him.

It will be interesting to see where the Cougars end the season ranked, and I'll probably have more to say about the 2015 football season in a future post. Otherwise: short of an appearance in the College Football Playoff itself, this is the best possible outcome a Cougar fan could expect for 2016. I am overjoyed.

(Oh, and did I mention that I won $360 at a Biloxi casino on the way back from Atlanta? Happy New Year to me!)

Go Coogs!

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