Yesterday’s UH-versus-Lamar football game was literally electric, thanks to the lightning that flashed about TDECU Stadium, delaying the game for more than three hours in the first quarter. But that was about the only electricity around as UH played a workmanlike game in steamrolling the visiting Cardinals 42-0.
on The Cougars scored on the first drive (a Kyle Postma 39-yard rush for the touchdown). The Cougars missed a field goal on the second drive. The Cougars went for it on fourth and two from the Lamar three and failed on the third drive. Then came the first flash of lightning, bringing on a game delay. Soon after followed another flash of lightning. Then another. And so on.
The game resumed and UH acted as if there had been absolutely no delay in the game. The defense stopped Lamar. The offense scored points on its next three drives to take a 28-0 lead. And a game UH likely had won after the first possession was definitely ready to enter into the win column.
That UH would win the game was never really in doubt. Not even with QB Greg Ward Jr. on the bench, as a result of a shoulder injury in last week’s OU game. Postma got the second start of his career, and all that he did was rush for two touchdowns (including that career-high 39-yard TD rush) while compiling a career-high 106 rushing yards on seven runs. He was also 14-for-25 passing, throwing for 125 yards, though he missed on several deep passes that would have likely gone for UH touchdowns.
“He managed the game well,” head coach Tom Herman said of Postma. “Obviously [we] would have liked for him to hit a couple of those deep shots. With the way Lamar was playing, they were daring us to throw it over their head…It would have felt better had he connected on one or two of those deep shots, but overall, pretty good.”
The good news is that UH didn’t succumb to whatever had hit some major programs that were upset, or nearly upset, last week. The Cougars didn’t allow Lamar to hang around, or even get close. Even when UH didn’t score, the Cougars made sure Lamar was stuck deep inside its own territory. And the defense never let Lamar get on a long, sustained drive of any type. Meanwhile, the Cougars finished the day with three rushers gaining 100-plus yards. Joining Postma were running backs Kevrin Justice, with 111 yards and two touchdowns on 27 rushes, and Mulbah Car, with 109 yards and a touchdown on 20 rushes. This was the first time UH had three rushers go for 100-plus yards since October 25, 1975, in a game against Cincinnati.
The UH defense, meanwhile, held Lamar to zero points, 73 total yards and four first downs. Lamar never even got the ball into UH territory. And of the 11 Lamar possessions, the Cardinals punted ten times and fumbled the ball away the other time.
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“We have a chance to be good, really good on defense if we’ll trust our training, play within our defense and not do anything crazy,” Herman said. “That front seven, if we can stay healthy, is going to be heck for opposing teams, and hopefully we can get fresh in time to be playing at maximum capacity on Thursday night”
The Cougars now shift focus to conference foe Cincinnati, who plays host to UH on Thursday night. The Bearcats are 2-0 on the season after yesterday’s 38-20 win over Purdue. Cincinnati is probably not among the elite teams in the country, but the Bearcats are always a tough conference opponent and could be a difficult foe for UH to get past. But Ward should be healthy by the game, as should running back Duke Catalon, who sat out yesterday’s game with an ankle injury.
“If we would have played a conference game, we would have probably accelerated [Ward’s] recovery as best as possible,” Herman said. “But we knew this was coming. We knew we were going to have to get ready for a short week on the road, and felt it was in his best interest to get more treatment and more rehab today, rather than go out and bang around. [Catalon] is good, probably in the same boat as Greg. Had we had a big time, [he] probably could have played, but it made some sense to rest him and have him fresh for this week’s preparation.”
So with Ward and Catalon rested and hopefully ready to go with the rest of the team on Thursday night, the Cougars find themselves primed to continue their run for the College Football Playoff. It’s not going to be an easy game, but just like every other game on the UH schedule, it’s a game the Cougars should win.