In a turf war between two schools separated by just one city block, the Houston Cougars, led by a solid all around performance, mauled the Texas Southern Tigers by the final score of 70-14 Saturday night at TDECU Stadium.
Junior quarterback D’Eriq King, a Manvel High School product, with the lead at 42-0 was removed at halftime, but not before finishing with 20 of 25 for 200 yards and four total touchdowns.
King ranks in the top 10 in the NCAA in passing yards and in the top five in touchdowns thrown, and he has also thrown for 200-plus yards in all eight of his collegiate starts.
The Cougars defense roared out of the gate forcing a three-and-out, setting up the offense with good field position at their own 49-yard line.
In what was the biggest Texas Southern defensive play of the night, a pass interference kept a King pass to redshirt freshman Bryson Smith from turning into a 51-yard touchdown on the first play of the game.
The Cougars kept marching, and King capped off the first drive with a rushing touchdown from 6 yards out, and after an extra point by kicker sophomore Dalton Witherspoon, Houston led 7-0.
The touchdown was the program’s 228th straight game with a score, dating back to the 2000 season.
The Tigers tested a Houston defense, still reeling from allowing 63 points a week earlier to Texas Tech, by embarking on a 12-play drive including four first downs and two third-down conversions, however the Tigers could not convert on a pass play and the ball was turned over on downs.
Houston would mount a long drive of its own, finished off when King found junior receiver Keith Corbin from 8 yards out and a 14-0 lead after the extra point with 2:48 left in the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, Houston sophomore defensive lineman Payton Turner blocked a Texas Southern punt and senior linebacker Emeke Egbule recovered the ball setting the Cougars up at the Tiger 18-yard line.
Junior running back Kevrin Justice took three handoffs and broke through for a touchdown on the third handoff from 1 yard out to score again and after a point after the Cougars led 21-0.
Aided by two big runs by backup sophomore running back Chandler Smith, King threw another touchdown pass, this time finding sophomore receiver Marquez Stevenson for Stevenson’s fifth touchdown reception of the season.
King added another touchdown pass to junior Terry Mark, and Smith added another score on the ground from 2 yards out to put the Cougars up 42-0 at the half.
Texas Southern scored a pair of touchdowns via running back Terio Brown and a 95-yard pass and catch from Jay Christophe to Bobby Hartzog.
Clear Springs alum Peyton Sawyer showed fans what his exceptional speed could bring to the football team with 79 all-purpose yards, including two nice returns.
Dickinson Gators alum Brad Woodard finished the game with nine carries for 26 yards for the Tigers, and La Marque alum Aymiel Fleming recorded a tackle for loss for the Cougars.
The Cougars (3-1) opens up conference play on Thursday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m against Tulsa at home.