It was a game of field goals as Houston made five to beat Temple 22-13 on Saturday in its American Athletic Conference debut.
The Cougars had no trouble moving the ball up and down the field all game as they tallied up 524-yards of total offense on the game. Those yards included 305-yards passing and 219-yards on the ground. Even with all those yards, the cougars had trouble putting points on the board once they were in the redzone.
The Cougars failed to score touchdowns on six possessions inside the 20-yard, including three inside the 2, and needed an opportunistic defense and kicker Richie Leone to bail them out. “When we get down there we have to put the ball in the end zone,” head coach Tony Levine said. “We need to get it cleaned up. We can’t rely on three points every time. We have to get the ball in the end zone.”
The only touchdown from the Cougars came after Adrian McDonald intercepted Connor Reilly’s pass with 66-seconds remaining and sophomore running back Ryan Jackson scored from 8-yards out.
My standout performance for this game goes to wide receiver Deontay Greenberry. Greenberry was also named American Athletic Conference offensive player of the week on Monday. Greenberry posted career highs with 14 receptions and 165 yards in the Cougars’ 22-15 win over Temple in the inaugural American Athletic Conference game.
The 14 receptions are the second most among Football Bowl Subdivision players this season. Through two games, Greenberry has 20 receptions. He had 47 as a true freshman last season.
Jackson, the sophomore running back was off to a good start to the day but became even more important to the Cougars offense after fellow backfield mate Kenneth Farrow left the game with a lower leg injury in the first half. Jackson responded and ended up with 22 carries for 109 yards and the Cougars lone touchdown of the game to help seal the win late.
Richie Leone should be mentioned as he handled all of the kicking duties for the Cougars and responded by hitting five of 6 field goals and the lone extra point. He was personally responsible for 16 of Houston’s 22 points in the win and had two punts for a 40 yard average and was solid on kick-offs as well with three touchbacks.
The Cougars have a bye week this week before facing cross town rival Rice at Reliant stadium Saturday, September 21.