It was over shortly after it started, but Saturday night’s 70-14 romp over Texas Southern wasn’t without a teensy bit of drama, as a power issue caused a near 20 minute delay in the third quarter. But by that time, most of the Houston starters had left the game after making quick work of the Tigers, dominating from the opening possession at TDECU Stadium.
It was the kind of victory the Cougars needed coming off a disappointing 63-49 loss at Texas Tech last week.
D’Eriq King passed for a career-high 431 yards and five touchdowns in that game, and the junior quarterback picked up right where he left off, going 20-of-25 for 200 yards and three touchdowns in two quarters of work on Saturday. He also ran in the opening score of the game — a 6-yard scamper capped off by a hop across the goal line.
King finished on a low note, though, snapping his streak of 147 consecutive pass attempts without an interception as Jul Marcantel grabbed a tipped pass in the waning seconds of the half.
Still, it was the kind of game Houston needed going into a bye week ahead of the American Conference opener against Tulsa on Oct. 4.
Freshman Clayton Tune showed Cougar fans sparks of promise for the future, coming in to replace King in the second half and leading Houston on a fast-paced seven-play 59-yard scoring drive set up by a solid return to start the third quarter.
Tune finished the game 12-of-23 passing for 186 yards, a pair of touchdowns and no interceptions.
Houston’s quarterbacks spread the ball around, tossing touchdown passes to five different players. Marquez Stevenson led all receivers with six catches for 67 yards and a score.
Six Cougars carried the ball for a total of 285 rushing yards and five scores, led by freshman Kelan Walker (105 yards), whose 72-yard touchdown run late in the game gave Houston its highest point total in nearly seven years.
Texas Southern had its own moment to shine late in the fourth quarter, as backup quarterback Jay Christophe connected with Bobby Hartzog for a 95-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass.
Houston hosts Tulsa to open conference play on Thursday, Oct. 4.