The offensive line looked much improved, but the Cougars continue to be a work in progress in the backfield, with only Dillon Birden, 14 carries for 83 yards and one touchdown, and Duke Catalon, 18 carries for 78 yards, sharing the load. Applewhite said it remains a priority to find a No. 3 back from a group that includes Mulbah Car, Patrick Carr and true freshman Davion Mitchell.
Another concern is capitalizing once inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. On the second possession of the game, the Cougars had a fumble at the goal line and had to settle for a Caden Novikoff field goal.
“You can’t survive college football with field goals and missed opportunities,” Applewhite said. “It’s a killer. We have to find a way to get in the end zone.”