Saturday Takeaways: When QBs persevere and coaches let it play out

### 3. Here comes Houston

Ed Oliver stood on the sideline at Houston’s TDECU Stadium wearing a black tee and a big smile.

Oliver, out with a knee injury from an illegal chop block against Navy, jumped around and waved a towel all afternoon. His squad didn’t need much more than that from him Saturday while it delivered a 57-36 beatdown to No. 21 USF.

What they lacked in Oliver, they more than made up for with D’Eriq King. The 5-foot-11 junior was spectacular with 419 passing yards, 132 rushing yards, seven total touchdowns and a loud-and-clear statement that he’s one of college football’s most exciting playmakers.

He powered a Cougars offense that drove for a season-high 682 total yards and is averaging just under 50 points per game under offensive coordinator Kendal Briles. Their defense shut out the no-longer-undefeated Bulls in the first and fourth quarters and got seven stops in the scoring fest. Doing so without the disruptive force that is Oliver is a feat that Houston coach Major Applewhite does not underestimate.

“I thought this was a huge win for our team, from a morale standpoint and a confidence standpoint,” Applewhite said. “You may lose a two-time All-American athlete yet you can still go out there. Obviously, they’re an explosive offense and they’re going to make some plays, but we played good defense and allowed our offense to do what they do and separate the score. I’m proud of the way they responded.”

Houston is 7-1 overall and 4-0 in AAC play and hasn’t garnered nearly enough national attention for winning five in a row since its 63-49 loss at Texas Tech. King has already accounted for 39 total touchdowns this season. He’s coming for McKenzie Milton’s conference single-season record of 45. And this Houston team is on a collision course with UCF.

The schedule ahead — at SMU, Temple, Tulane, at Memphis — gives the Cougars a real chance to keep the streak going all the way to the AAC title game. They don’t face the No. 10 Knights in the regular season. And they should get Oliver, who’s day-to-day, back soon. If King keeps lighting up defenses and the team stays the course, it clearly has enough to give UCF all it can handle.



Great game overall on both sides of the ball. Nice blocking, tackling and good adjustments made.

Still not a fan of the 4th and long play though. You depend too much on King to bail you out on a bad play decision, you will eventually get him seriously hurt.

We did have one major brainfart on defense. On the 39 yard pass play, safety or linebacker in front of a receiver blitzed, Deontay had the receiver one on one and let him blow right by like he was playing zone but everyone else was in man to man.

A couple of misreads between King and the receivers, one resulting in an INT and another in a safety because it looked like intentional grounding. People booed that call but I think the refs have to call it. Between those and a couple of big returns, the defense gave up 4 significant drives resulting in 24 points. With Oliver being out and against a run heavy team, I’ll take that.


One thing that we did great on yesterday but not something we want to continue doing is having so many 3rd and longs. Yes we converted on a very high percentage… King and receivers bailed us out.

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At one point, we were 11-14 on 3rd downs. USF could not get us off the field.

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