Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Houston 57, #21 South Florida 36

Another year, another defeat of a ranked South Florida team.

The Good: D'Eriq King. He passed for 419 yards and 5 touchdowns and ran for another 134 yards and two scores to account for 553 of Houston's 682 yards of total offense. There was no shortage of highlight-reel plays by King in this game, but perhaps the most amazing was this absolutely wicked tackle-shedding 36-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter. South Florida had closed to within 2 points at that point, but his touchdown (which was a gutsy call, considering it was fourth down) marked the beginning of a 29-10 run for the Coogs to put the game away.

And, although the stats might not indicate it, the the UH defense played a good game as well. This is especially important since they were playing without Ed Oliver, who was still nursing an injury caused by Navy's cheap chop-blocking tactics the prior week. In fact, 17 of USF's offensive points might have been the fault of poor officiating, rather than the UH defense.

The Bad: WR Courtney Lark came down hard in the endzone in the second half of the game and had to be carted off the field. It looked really bad; fans feared that one of Houston's best offensive weapons was gone for the season. Fortunately, his injury is not as bad as it initially appears (i.e. he did not break anything and will not require surgery). However, he is highly questionable for this weekend's game against SMU.

The Ugly: See the above comment regarding officiating; a questionable interception (the ball might have hit the ground first), a questionable reversal of a fumble, and a highly questionable call for intentional grounding in the endzone resulted in a total of 19 points for the Bulls.

What It Means: The win puts the Cougars at 7-1 on the season, undefeated in conference, and, most importantly, in the national rankings (#17 in both the AP and Coaches' Polls) for the first time since 2016.

Next up for Houston is a trip to Dallas to play the SMU Mustangs. One hopes that the Cougars can retain their focus and not repeat the embarrassing debacle of two seasons ago.

Ryan Monceaux has more.

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