Tom Herman probably could’ve taken an intramural squad from the UH campus and defeated Texas State last night, so mismatched did the game appear to be. He surely could have taken that intramural squad and used it exclusively in the second half and have held onto the win, especially since UH was up 43-3 at the break.
There’s not really much to say about a game with a final score of 64-3 except that the Cougars played as close to a perfect game as can be played, and that that final score really wasn’t as close as it appears. UH did whatever it wanted to do, whenever it wanted to do it, as the team moved to 4-0 on the season. The only thing that actually stopped the Cougars during the game was the Cougars (like missing two extra points in the first half).
The dominating performance, though, if anything, showed how much UH football has grown over the years. Major conference teams are supposed to annihilate minor conference schools, but this game showed how deserving UH is of its No. 6 national ranking. There were scores like this during the Kevin Sumlin years, but the Cougars made the occasional mistake and the defense never quite shut down teams like this. And UH’s performance in games like this under Tony Levine is well known, and is still the cause of nightmares for Cougar fans.
The offense finished drives in this game. There were no red zone glitches, no drops, no fumbles. The Cougars had 14 possessions and scored on ten of them (including nine touchdowns while punting three times and taking a knee on the final one as the clock expired). UH racked up 563 total yards against just 142 for Texas State. The Cougars had 32 first downs and were seven of 14 on third downs and three for three on fourth down. And this is a Cougar football team that committed zero penalties for the entire game. Zero. Nada. Zilch. There were no offsides, no false starts, no holding or pass interference or unsportsmanlike penalties. Not in this game.
“I’m proud of the team,” Tom Herman said after the game. “I didn’t realize we had no penalties. That’s a sign of a mature team.”
Star quarterback Greg Ward Jr. had an easy night, completing 20 of 26 passes for 289 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 39 yards and a touchdown. He played one series in the second half, and was then replaced by Kyle Postma, who promptly got in on the action, rushing for a 21-yard touchdown that featured a nice spin move. In total, seven Cougars scored touchdowns (with Postma and D’Eriq King each getting two) as Herman spread out the ball and emptied the bench.
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But the breakout star of the game was freshman D’Eriq King. King caught a 48-yard touchdown pass, threw his own 15-yard touchdown pass and took the second half kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown.
“He’s a true freshman,” Herman said of King, “and to play in his fourth college football game ever, to be the only player in the history of University of Houston football to throw a touchdown, to catch a touchdown and return a touchdown, that says a lot...He’s a guy that just goes out and works his tail off, listens, doesn’t say anything and just goes to work each and every day, and it shows on Saturdays.”
Now it’s on to Thursday night, when the Cougars host UConn at TDECU Stadium before a nationwide audience on ESPN. This is a revenge game for the Cougars since UConn was the only team to defeat UH last season. But that game was on the road, Ward was hurt and the Cougars made some errors that helped them to lose the game. This UConn team is 2-2 on the season and lost to an unimpressive Syracuse yesterday. But Herman preaches focus from his team, and does not want the Cougars overlooking any game or taking any team for granted.
The team “shows up each and every week,” Herman said. “I expect them to show up, especially this coming week.”