With a one-yard rushing touchdown by quarterback Kyle Postma and an extra point by Ty Cummings with 1:27 remaining in the game, the No. 16 Houston Cougars remained unbeaten and downed the No. 25 Memphis Tigers by the score of 35-24 at TDECU Stadium in Houston on Saturday, November 14, 2015. The victory was the tenth of the season for the Cougars and first year head coach Tom Herman. With the win, the Cougars remain at the top of the American Athletic Conference West Division tied with Navy with 6-0 records.
The Tigers drew blood first at the 10:32 mark in the first quarter when the Houston defense stalled a 49-yard Memphis drive as they had to settle for a field goal. Jake Elliott’s kick gave the Tigers an early 3-0 lead. They added seven additional points 1:06 into the second quarter on a 38-yard pass from Paxton Lynch to Alan Cross to cap an eleven-play drive. Elliott added the kicking conversion to increase the Tigers’ lead to 10-0. Elliott added three additional point to the Tigers’ total with a 29-yard field goal at the 8:46 mark in the second quarter. Memphis added another touchdown and extra point with 1:52 remaining in the first half with a 61-yard pass from Lynch to Doroland Dorceus and another extra point by Elliott. Houston responded 75 seconds later with a touchdown and extra point of their own on a pass from Postma to Linell Bonner and a Cummings kicking conversion. The Cougar score closed out the first half with Memphis leading 20-7.
Houston came out after halftime, taking possession of the ball in the second half and quickly scored on a seven-yard carry into the end zone by Kenneth Farrow and another kicking extra point by Cummings. Memphis came back four minutes later to add seven points to their total for the evening on a six-yard run by Dorceus and another Elliott extra point. With the final fifteen minutes to play in the game, Memphis held a 27-14 lead. Nine seconds into the fourth quarter, the Tigers capped a 12-play, 68-yard drive with a 25-yard run by Tevin Jones to take a 34-14 lead.
At that point, the game was all Houston as the Cougars ripped of 21 consecutive points to secure the win. Farrow carried the ball the final 10 yards of a 75-yard drive with 12:56 remaining in the game to cut the Tiger lead to 13. They scored again seven minutes later on a one-yard run by Javin Webb. Postma closed out the 21-point scoring run with the seven-yard quarterback keeper touchdown Cummings added the kicking extra points on the final three touchdowns.
Before leaving the game with an injury, starting quarterback Greg Ward, Jr. was 5-of-11 for 60 yards. Postma, who came into the game with 1:21 left in the second quarter completed 21-of-33 passes for 236 yards and one touchdown. He also carried the ball six times for 49 yard and one touchdown, including a 22-yard romp on a second and ten play in the fourth quarter. The 34 points by Memphis was the most allowed by the Houston defense this season.
Herman discussed Houston’s performance with the media in the post-game press conference. He stated:
“There is not much to say, other than ‘incredible team win.’ I know that phrase gets used a lot across the nation, probably used by me as well. We couldn’t do anything in the first half offensively. Defense gave up some big plays, but I thought they played admirably given the lack of field position and lack of keeping drives alive by the offense. To come out and take the first drive of the second half down for a touchdown, then come back to give up a touchdown on defense, things looked pretty bleak. At one point, we had a false start and two back-to-back holding penalties in a row, and the offense came off the field.”
With two regular season games remaining, the Cougars will next hit the road for a November 21 matchup against UConn. They will return to TDECU Stadium on November 27 for their final regular season game against No. 25 Navy. The Midshipmen are currently 6-0 in conference play with a 55-14 win over the SMU Mustangs on Saturday, November 14. They will next play the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Saturday, November 21.