HOUSTON - Houston Football used four forced turnovers from its defense and a career night from sophomore quarterback Greg Ward Jr. en route to a 31-10 win over then-conference leader Temple in Friday night's game, presented by Houston-Galveston Area Council, inside TDECU Stadium.
The win lifted the Cougars' record to 4-3 and improved their American Athletic Conference mark to 2-1, while Temple fell to 4-2 on the year and 2-1 in league action.
Houston's defense once again made a strong showing with four forced turnovers, highlighted by a forced fumble and recovery by Steven Taylor in the end zone to keep Temple off the board and down 17-10 midway through the third quarter.
Houston used the momentum from Taylor's turnover to outscore Temple 14-0 in the final 20 minutes of play.
Accompanying the Houston defense's effort, the offense showed well, producing 439 offensive yards, the third-best total this season. Ward, who improved to 2-0 as starting quarterback led Houston with a career-high 268 passing yards on 29 completions in 33 attempts, for an impressive 88 percent.
Running back Ryan Jackson had 18 carries for 75 rushing yards to accompany his 59 receiving yards on three receptions, highlighted by a 30-yard reception for a touchdown. Kenneth Farrow tallied 18 carries for 52 yards and a touchdown.
Ward had several offensive targets in the win as Deontay Greenberry led the receiving core with 63 yards on 10 receptions and a touchdown, a seven-yard pass from Ward. Markeith Ambles connected on six receptions for 96 yards, including a 30-yard reception.
Defensively, the Cougars saw interceptions from William Jackson, Trevon Stewart and Howard Wilson in addition to Taylor's fumble. The trio helped Houston to its 30th straight game forcing a turnover and its 25th game in the last 28 forcing multiple turnovers. Over the last 20 games, the Houston defense has forced 66 turnovers and have at least three turnovers in 15 of the last 20.
Houston was able to capitalize on the four turnovers, turning them into 14 points.
The Cougars struck first when kicker Kyle Bullard nailed a 34-yard field goal with 7:19 left in the first quarter to put Houston up 3-0. It took just eight seconds for Houston to extend its 3-0 lead to 10-0 following Stewart's interception return for a touchdown midway through the opening quarter.
Temple jumped on board with a 22-yard field goal to close out the first quarter, making it a 10-3 game.
It didn't take long for the Cougars to strike in the second quarter as Farrow used a 4-yard run to give Houston a 17-3 lead. Temple continued to claw back and executed a 39-yard pass from P.J. Walker to Keith Kirkwood to pull with seven heading into the second half.
After a 74-yard pass and a first-and-goal situation, Temple had a chance to tie the game midway through the third, but Taylor's fumble and recovery in the endzone kept the Owls off the board and gave Houston the ball back on its 20-yard line.
Following that momentum shift, Houston used two late third quarter touchdowns passes from Ward to Greenberry and Jackson to put the Cougars ahead 31-10.
Houston Football hits the road for just the third time this season when it travels to Tampa, Fla., to take on American Athletic Conference foe USF on Saturday, Nov. 1. Kickoff for the game will be announced Monday morning by The American.
SINGLE GAME TICKET INFORMATION
Single-game ticket sales for the inaugural season in TDECU Stadium start at $36 per person for reserved seats and $25 for general admission at any of Houston's seven home games, including 2014 Fiesta Bowl champion UCF, and can be purchased by calling the Houston Athletics Ticket Office at 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or by clicking here.
YOUNG ALUMNI TICKET INFORMATION
University of Houston alumni from the last five years (2010-14) can purchase season tickets for just $125 (upper levels) and $175 (lower level) in specially designated Young Alumni sections with a multiplier of four times donations to Cougar Pride giving levels for the first five years after graduation. Each ticket consists of a $25 Cougar Pride donation with the four times Young Alumni multiplier, resulting in a $100 donation credit and a Cougar Pride parking pass in the TDECU Stadium Garage. Young Alumni can purchase tickets here or by calling 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647).
GROUP TICKET INFORMATION
Single-game group ticket sales for the inaugural season in TDECU Stadium are now on sale via the Houston Athletics Ticket Office. Groups of at least 10 or more can purchase tickets starting at just $21 per person to any of Houston's seven home games, including 2014 Fiesta Bowl champion UCF, by calling the Houston Athletics Ticket Office at 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or by clicking here.