No. 24 Houston aims to complete the regular season in style on Saturday afternoon when they visit UConn in East Hartford, Conn.
The Cougars (10-1) capped an undefeated season against conference foes for the second time since 1960 with a 31-13 win over Memphis last Friday. The victory notched Houston’s first 10-win season since 2015, the same year it won the American Athletic Conference crown.
“We are a good team,” Cougars coach Dana Holgorsen said. “We finished the American 8-0. We’ve won 10 in a row. It’s hard to win in college football. It’s hard to win every week … I’m very proud of this football team.”
And for good reason.
Let’s start with Clayton Tune, who threw for 264 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score versus the Tigers. Tune has completed 131 of 196 attempts for 1,742 yards with 15 passing touchdowns in his last six games.
“We just hammer through whatever adversity we are faced with,” Tune said. “Whatever challenges it is for that week, we keep hammering and playing. Don’t let outside noise and distractions get in the way of what we are trying to do. It just speaks to the character of this team and what we know we can do.”
Alton McCaskill has 11 rushing touchdowns in his last seven games while fellow running back Ta’Zhawn Henry has found the end zone in six of Houston’s last nine contests.
Meanwhile, cornerback Marcus Jones continued his scintillating play on the other side of the ball by setting a career high with two interceptions versus Memphis. Jones, who has five picks in his last four games, received AAC Defensive Player of the Week honors for the fifth time this season.
“He’s the most versatile player in college football, you can’t deny that,” Holgorsen said of Jones. “He’s gonna win the Paul Hornung (Award). … He’s that kinda talent. He changes that game. … Defensively, he’s the best cover guy that I’ve been around and I’ve had corners get drafted high. He’s just special how he can feel the receivers and make plays on the ball.”
While Houston may ultimately have bigger fish to fry, UConn (1-10) likely will welcome the end of the regular season with open arms.
The Huskies, after all, went through an abrupt in-season coaching change that did little to change the fortunes of the club.
UConn has been outscored 137-37 during its current three-game skid. The Huskies surrendered the game’s first 28 points en route to a 49-17 shellacking by UCF last Saturday in Orlando, Fla.
“We had a couple of missed tackles, and we were watching rather than playing,” UConn interim coach Lou Spanos said. “Once we settled down, we were better. Then we got a little sloppy at the end.”
Nathan Carter provided a rare bright spot for the Huskies, rushing for 5.9 yards per carry while finding the end zone for the first time since a 24-22 loss to Wyoming on Sept. 25.
QB Steven Krajewski pushed his season total to 10 interceptions with three versus the Knights.
–Field Level Media