HOUSTON - University of Houston junior quarterback Greg Ward Jr. threw for 275 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 107 yards and two more scores to lead the Cougars to a 52-24 win against Tennessee Tech and give Head Coach Tom Herman his first career win Saturday night inside TDECU Stadium.
Ward, who took over as the Cougars' signal-caller midway through the 2014 season, completed 21-of-28 passes and moved to 7-2 as a starter. The Tyler, Texas, native also enjoyed the first 100-yard rushing day of his career as the Cougars made their debut under first-year Head Coach Tom Herman.
Herman became only the third head coach in school history to lead the Cougars to 50+ points in their inaugural games, joining Kevin Sumlin (W, 55-3, vs. Southern, Aug. 30, 2008) and Bill Meek (W, 54-12, vs. Montana, Sept. 17, 1955). He also became the eighth Houston Football head coach to win his inaugural game.
Ward led a Houston offensive that racked up 627 yards of total offense, including 355 through the air. It was the most yards by a Houston team in a season opener since the Cougars posted 627 yards in a 62-13 2013 win against Southern at then-Reliant Stadium.
The Cougars jumped out to a 14-3 lead after the first quarter and never looked back in winning their second season opener during the last three seasons. Tennessee Tech moved to within 14-10 early in the second quarter when Brock McCoin hauled in a 71-yard pass from Jared Davis.
However, Ward used his feet for a 41-yard touchdown scamper on the Cougars' next possession to regain a double-digit lead. After a 26-yard Kyle Bullard field goal pushed Houston's lead to 24-10, Ward hit receiver/reserve quarterback Kyle Postma on a 29-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter.
Following a Tennessee Tech rushing touchdown midway through the final period, Webb added his second touchdown of the night with a 3-yard plunge.
Tennessee Tech wide receiver Brock McCoin hauled in a 77-yard touchdown catch with two seconds remaining in the contest for the Cougars' final margin of victory.
Junior wide receiver Demarcus Ayers led the Cougars with 10 receptions for 121 yards for the first 100-yard receiving game of his career.
As impressive as the Cougars were on offense, the Houston defense was no less impressive. Houston limited Tennessee Tech to only 29 rushing yards on 33 carries.
Linebacker Elandon Roberts led the Cougars with nine tackles, including eight solo stops, and two stops for a loss of 13 yards. Linebacker Steven Taylor finished with seven solo tackles, including three for a loss of 16 yards, and safety Trevon Stewart added six tackles in the win. Senior strong safety Adrian McDonald hauled in an 11-yard interception for the 14th pickoff of his career.
Tennessee Tech quarterback Jared Davis threw for 312 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 16-of-26 passing. McCoin was the Golden Eagle's leading target, hauling in nine receptions for 264 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The Cougars hit the road for the first time in 2015 when they meet Louisville at 11 a.m. (CDT), Saturday at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in Louisville. Fans can watch that game live on FOX Sports Network and listen on KPRC 950 AM.
The Cougars return to the friendly confines of TDECU Stadium to play host to Texas State on Sept. 26. Game time will be announced on Sept. 14, so fans should stay tuned to UHCougars.com and Houston Football's social media sites for the latest information.
2015 HOUSTON FOOTBALL SEASON TICKETS
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