San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey stands 50 yards short of the FBS all-time rushing record as his Aztecs trail Houston 10-6 at the half in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Houston’s Ty Cummings opened the scoring with a 31-yard field goal at the 6:38 mark of the first quarter. The Cougars’ next drive moved 74 yards in 10 plays, culminating in a 2-yard Greg Ward, Jr., plunge to give Houston a 10-0 lead through one quarter.
After four consecutive punts and three three-and-outs to open the game, San Diego State finally mounted a substantive drive midway through the second quarter, moving to the Houston 5-yard line before settling for a 23-yard John Baron II chip shot at the 6:28 mark of the frame. Baron added another field goal, this one a 28-yarder, at the 1:29 mark to pull the Aztecs within four.
More important historically than the outcome of a single bowl game is Pumphrey’s march toward history. He entered the game needing 108 yards to break Ron Dayne‘s FBS all-time rushing record of 6,397 yards and at the break has notched 58 yards on 13 carries. (It should be noted the records are a bit funky, as Dayne did so in 47 official games since bowl statistics did not count toward season stats until Dayne’s senior season of 1999; the Las Vegas Bowl is Pumphrey’s 53rd career game.)
For Houston, Ward has completed 7-of-11 passes for 81 yards while the Cougars have mustered only 26 yards on 18 total carries. Houston is playing without second-leading receiver Chance Allen, serving a suspension for a violation of team rules.
Houston out-gained San Diego State 102-5 in the first quarter, while SDUS returned the favor with a 94-5 margin in the second quarter.
Houston has suspended senior wide receiver Chance Allen for the Las Vegas Bowl for a violation of team rules. AS reported by Joseph Duarte of The Houston Chronicle, via Twitter, the violation was related to the team’s curfew.
Allen was Houston’s second-leading receiver this season with 815 yards and a team-high six touchdowns. With Allen now suspended, Houston will bump sophomore Isaiah Johnson into his spot on the field. Johnson appeared in 10 games this season, in which he accounted for 11 receptions and 134 yards.
Houston takes on Mountain West Conference champion San Diego State in the Las Vegas Bowl later today.
Houston head coach Tom Herman worried before the season began about his team’s conference opener at Cincinnati. After seeing how the Cougars played early on the road Thursday night, it turns out those fears were spot on.
Defense, dropped passes and strange plays dominated a sloppy first half of play in Cincinnati, as the Bearcats were able to limit the normally prolific Houston offense to just a single touchdown and headed into the locker room tied at 10-all after two quarters of play of the AAC opener for both teams.
Quarterback Greg Ward Jr. returned to action for Houston after injuring his shoulder and missing the team’s blowout win over Lamar last week. He lofted a beautiful 39 yard strike to Chance Allen in the first quarter to show that his arm looked just fine but had issues throughout the half finding receivers because of a lack of protection from his offensive line. The Heisman Trophy candidate did pick up several first downs with his legs but took a number of shots that caused him to get up slowly.
The Bearcats defense, led by their very active line in the trenches, limited the visitors to just 3.6 yards per rush and picked off Ward during the second quarter. Linebacker Antonio Kinard was in on an impressive 12 tackles in the first half alone.
The Cincy offense didn’t quite bring the same amount of effort, stalling several times on drives into UH territory and finding the end zone just once on a busted play that resulted in a 61 yard touchdown for Devin Gray.
All that was just building up to the strangest moment of the game — and possibly the season so far. Houston ran a double reverse that was setting up to be a sneaky trick play but Isiah Johnson was hit by safety Carter Jacobs, jarring the ball into the air and inexplicably back onto the field.
Grant Coleman ended up picking the ball up off the turf and returning it back into Houston territory to setup a late Cincinnati field goal that tied things up going into halftime.
Given how things went, it could be a wild final few quarters between the two AAC rivals.
Nothing seemed to go right for Florida State in the first half of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta. Everything seemed to go righ for their opponents, AAC champion Houston. Houston has forced two turnovers and quarterback Greg Ward Jr. has rushed for two touchdowns to help Houston jump out to a 21-3 lead on the Seminoles after one half of play in the Peach Bowl.
The first quarter was a complete mess for Florida State. Run blocking for Dalvin Cook was non existent (10 carries, 11 rushing yards in first half). Kicker Roberto Aguayo missed a 52-yard field goal try. Starting quarterback Sean Maguire was lost (temporarily) to a leg injury, and with Everett Golson not with the team due to a death in the family, that left the Seminoles to go with J.J. Cosentino under center. Cosentino was not even listed on the depth chart for the game. Maguire went to the locker room but returned with his leg wrapped up.
Ward opened the scoring this afternoon with a seven-yard touchdown run at the end of an 11-play drive midway through the first quarter. Houston dug into the bag of tricks for its second touchdown midway through the second quarter when Demarcus Ayers took a handoff off a reverse and chucked it 20 yards to the end zone to a wide open Chance Allen.
Ward rushed for his second touchdown of the game shortly after that after Houston’s defense forced a fumble from Dalvin Cook at the Florida State 16-yard line.
Still one half to play, but Houston appears to have a solid upper hand in Atlanta.