By Bill McCaughey
For The Fort Bend Star
The Third Ward Defense continued to dominate as the University of Houston Cougars beat the University of Connecticut 42-14.
The Cougars held UConn to 62 yards rushing and 335 total yards as they improved their record to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the American Athletic Conference, and atoned for their only loss of 2015.
“I was really proud of the way our guys responded as we played our fourth game in 19 days,” Coach Tom Herman said.
The first quarter was scoreless, but 40 seconds into the second quarter quarterback Greg Ward Jr. ran 30 yards for a touchdown, giving the Cougars a 7-0 lead. The Cougars then blew the game open as Dillon Birden scored on a 1-yard run, Tyler McCloskey caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Ward and Steven Dunbar grabbed a 15-yard touchdown pass from Ward to make the score 28-0. UConn scored on a 62-yard pass play just before the half ended to make the halftime score 28-7.
“We really got the offense rolling in the second quarter,” Herman said. “We were 5-5 in the red zone and 8-16 on third down conversions for the game.”
The third quarter was all Houston as Ward scored on a 10-yard run and Linell Bonner made a fantastic one-handed catch on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Ward.
UConn scored the final touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter to make the final score 42-14.
The star of the game was Ward as he completed 32 passes on 38 attempts for 389 yards and three touchdowns. Ward also ran 12 times for 65 yards and two touchdowns.
“Ward is one competitive dude and one of the most competitive guys I have encountered in my career,” Herman said. “His fire and energy is very palpable this season. I think he is playing with a tremendous amount of confidence.”
Linell Bonner had 12 pass receptions for 159 yards and one touchdown. Chance Allen (Elkins graduate) and D’Eriq King had seven receptions each for 85 and 32 yards, respectively. Steven Dunbar had five receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown, and Tyler McCloskey caught his second touchdown pass of the season.
On defense, Garrett Davis, Khalil Williams (Hightower graduate) and first year freshman Ed Oliver led the team with five tackles each. Javian Smith (Bush graduate) also had a tackle.
The Cougars’ next game is at Navy on Saturday, Oct. 8.