It was more of the same Saturday night for the Houston Cougars, and it was entertaining yet maddening. Houston’s offense continued to look phenomenal like they have nearly every week, but the defense hit a new low. Temple jumped out to an early lead, and never gave it back in the 59-49 thriller.
Temple began the game with trick plays and gimmick formations to get in the heads of the Cougars, and it worked. They abandoned that strategy, however, after realizing that they didn’t need it. The Owls found out that simple plays would be enough to win the game, and it resulted in a record breaking performance by Ryquell Armstead.
Armstead set an AAC record by rushing for six touchdowns in the game. Houston’s defense couldn’t get a stop to save their lives, which resulted in Armstead’s 210 yard and six touchdown performance. Backup Rob Ritrovato chipped in 91 more yards and another score. The worst part about the loss is that Temple wasn’t doing anything complex in the second half. It was a mix of handoffs to Armstead and read options. Houston couldn’t do anything to stop it. Payton Turner’s untimely ejection also hurt a position group that was already desperately thin on depth.
King and the offense did everything they could to keep Houston in the game. King passed for 322 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for 125 yards and another score. It was the second game this year that the Cougars scored 49 points and lost by double digits. Now, they need help to make it to the conference championship game.
Houston is now tied with Tulane and SMU for the AAC West lead, and is just one game ahead of Memphis as well. Well, actually, SMU holds the lead now because they beat both Houston and Tulane. What once was believed to be a given (AAC West title) has suddenly turned into chaos for the Cougars. Major Applewhite continues to ignore the fact that the defense is incompetent, and it’s continuing to cost him. Maybe even his job at the end of the year.