Sep 18, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA;  Houston Cougars wide receiver Nathaniel Dell (1) celebrates his touchdown during the first half against the Grambling State Tigers at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

News Articles

Epic win, national ranking propel No. 20 Houston into USF matchup

No. 20 Houston will ride a wave of momentum created by a seven-game win streak and an electric victory when it plays South Florida on Saturday night in an American Athletic Conference game in Tampa.

Houston (7-1, 5-0) heads to South Florida after a rousing 44-37 home victory over previously undefeated SMU last week.

Houston won on Marcus Jones’ 100-yard kickoff return in the final seconds.

The win allowed Houston its first ranking in the Top 25 since Oct. 28, 2018, when it landed at No. 17. The team remained in the poll for just one week.

The Cougars’ win streak is their longest since winning eight straight from Nov. 27, 2015-Sept. 29, 2016.

“Any time you get an emotional game like that, whether you win or whether you lose, you’ve gotta move on,” Houston coach Dana Holgorsen said. “We’re in a good spot. We’re 5-0 and in first place in the conference, so how hard do we want to work to stay there? That’s going to be the message going forward.”

The Cougars also received huge performances from wide receiver Nathaniel Dell (nine catches for 165 yards and three touchdowns) and quarterback Clayton Tune (a career-high 412 yards and four touchdowns passing) to survive SMU.

Dell posted the first three-TD performance for a Cougars receiver since 2018 and garnered AAC offensive player of the week honors. Jones received the conference’s special-teams player of the week award for his game-winning, walk-off return.

Houston is one of two unbeaten teams in the AAC — along with No. 2 Cincinnati — and will need to continue to win to qualify for the AAC championship game on Dec. 4.

South Florida (2-6, 1-3) returns home with anything but momentum following a 29-14 loss at East Carolina on Oct. 28, the Bulls’ fourth setback in the past five games.

The Bulls’ defense forced three turnovers in the loss, played in periodic heavy rain, but South Florida lost the ball four times – on a fumble and three interceptions, one of which was return by East Carolina for a TD.

Freshman Katravis Marsh passed for 192 yards and a touchdown in his second career start at quarterback for the Bulls, and Kelly Joiner Jr. ran for 103 yards on just 12 carries. South Florida averaged 6.4 yards per snap on just 60 plays but were doomed by turnovers.

The Bulls were 0 for 7 on third-down conversion attempts and 2 of 4 on fourth-down tries, and struggled mightily in the second half after going to the break ahead 14-6.

“It was a disappointing finish,” South Florida coach Jeff Scott said. “I felt like our guys played pretty well in the first half. But in the second half, we just couldn’t get off the field on third down and we couldn’t convert on third down. That’s kind of where the game was won and lost right there in the second half.

“Hopefully this nine-day break that we’re going to have before the next game will give us a chance to get some things figured out.”

Houston and South Florida are meeting for the eighth time, with the Cougars holding a 5-2 edge highlighted by five consecutive victories (2013-present).

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

Sportsbooks

Rated 5/5

Rated 5/5

Rated 5/5

Rated 5/5

Upcoming Games

Aug 27th, 12:00 PM

Austin Peay

WKU

@

Aug 27th, 12:30 PM

Nebraska -10.5 -107

Northwestern +10.5 -107

@

Aug 27th, 3:30 PM

Idaho State

UNLV

@

Aug 27th, 3:33 PM

Nevada -16.5 -110

New Mexico State +16.5 -110

@

Aug 27th, 4:00 PM

Wyoming +8.5 -110

Illinois -8.5 -110

@

Aug 27th, 4:00 PM

UCONN +29.5 -110

Utah State -29.5 -110

@

Aug 27th, 5:00 PM

Duquesne

Florida State

@

Aug 27th, 7:00 PM

Charlotte +5.5 -110

Florida Atlantic -5.5 -110

@

Aug 27th, 8:15 PM

Florida A&M

North Carolina

@

Aug 27th, 9:00 PM

North Texas -4 -110

UTEP +4 -110

@

Aug 27th, 10:30 PM

Vanderbilt -4.5 -110

Hawaii +4.5 -110

@

Sep 1st, 6:00 PM

St. Francis-PA

Akron

@

Sep 1st, 7:00 PM

Ball State +27.5 -110

Tennessee -27.5 -110

@

Sep 1st, 7:00 PM

Central Michigan +19 -110

Oklahoma State (11) -19 -110

@

Sep 1st, 7:00 PM

West Virginia +7.5 -107

Pittsburgh (16) -7.5 -107

@

Sep 1st, 7:00 PM

South Carolina State

UCF

@

Sep 1st, 7:00 PM

Bryant

Florida International (FIU)

@

Sep 1st, 7:00 PM

LIU

Toledo

@

Sep 1st, 7:30 PM

VMI

Wake Forest (19)

@

Sep 1st, 8:00 PM

LA Tech +16 -107

Missouri -16 -107

@

Sep 1st, 8:00 PM

Penn State -3.5 -107

Purdue +3.5 -107

@

Sep 1st, 8:00 PM

Eastern Illinois

NIU

@

Sep 1st, 8:00 PM

Alabama A&M

UAB

@

Sep 1st, 9:00 PM

New Mexico State +37.5 -107

Minnesota -37.5 -107

@

Sep 1st, 10:00 PM

Northern Arizona

Arizona State

@

Sep 1st, 10:30 PM

Cal Poly

Fresno State

@

Sep 1st, 10:30 PM

Portland State

San Jose State

@

Sep 2nd, 7:00 PM

Virginia Tech -7.5 -107

Old Dominion +7.5 -107

@

Sep 2nd, 7:00 PM

Western Michigan +20 -107

Michigan State (14) -20 -107

@

Sep 2nd, 7:00 PM

Eastern Kentucky

Eastern Michigan

@

Sep 2nd, 7:00 PM

William & Mary

Charlotte

@

Sep 2nd, 7:30 PM

Temple +6.5 -110

Duke -6.5 -110

@

Sep 2nd, 8:00 PM

Tennessee Tech

Kansas

@

Sep 2nd, 8:00 PM

Illinois +3.5 +103

Indiana -3.5 +103

@

Sep 2nd, 10:00 PM

TCU -9 -107

Colorado +9 -107

@

Sep 3rd, 12:00 PM

Sam Houston State

Texas A&M (7)

@

Sep 3rd, 12:00 PM

Rutgers +9 -110

Boston College -9 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 12:00 PM

NC State (13) -10 -110

East Carolina +10 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 12:00 PM

North Carolina -4 -110

Appalachian State +4 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 12:00 PM

South Dakota State

Iowa

@

Sep 3rd, 12:00 PM

Buffalo +20.5 -110

Maryland -20.5 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 12:00 PM

Colorado State +30 -110

Michigan (6) -30 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 12:00 PM

Central Connecticut State

UCONN

@

Sep 3rd, 12:00 PM

Delaware

Navy

@

Sep 3rd, 12:30 PM

Richmond

Virginia

@

Sep 3rd, 1:00 PM

Northern Iowa

Air Force

@

Sep 3rd, 2:00 PM

Southeast Missouri State

Iowa State

@

Sep 3rd, 2:30 PM

Bowling Green +3 -110

UCLA -3 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 3:30 PM

Cincinnati (22) +7.5 -107

Arkansas (23) -7.5 -107

@

Sep 3rd, 3:30 PM

Oregon (12) +16.5 -107

Georgia (3) -16.5 -107

@

Sep 3rd, 3:30 PM

Arizona +10 -110

San Diego State -10 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 3:30 PM

UTEP +39 -110

Oklahoma (9) -39 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 3:30 PM

Bethune-Cookman

Miami-FL (17)

@

Sep 3rd, 3:30 PM

North Dakota

Nebraska

@

Sep 3rd, 3:30 PM

Houston (25) -6.5 -110

UTSA +6.5 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 3:30 PM

Tulsa -1.5 -110

Wyoming +1.5 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 3:30 PM

Norfolk State

Marshall

@

Sep 3rd, 4:00 PM

Troy +21.5 -110

Ole Miss (24) -21.5 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 4:00 PM

UC Davis

California

@

Sep 3rd, 4:00 PM

BYU -13 -110

USF +13 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 5:00 PM

Nicholls State

South Alabama

@

Sep 3rd, 5:30 PM

Texas State +11 -110

Nevada -11 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 6:00 PM

Rice +33.5 -110

USC (15) -33.5 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 6:00 PM

Middle Tennessee +4.5 -110

James Madison -4.5 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 6:00 PM

Morgan State

Georgia Southern

@

Sep 3rd, 6:00 PM

Florida Atlantic -1 -110

Ohio +1 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 7:00 PM

Mercer

Auburn

@

Sep 3rd, 7:00 PM

Utah (8) -1.5 -107

Florida +1.5 -107

@

Sep 3rd, 7:00 PM

Miami-OH +20 -110

Kentucky (21) -20 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 7:00 PM

Elon

Vanderbilt

@

Sep 3rd, 7:00 PM

South Dakota

Kansas State

@

Sep 3rd, 7:00 PM

Albany-NY

Baylor (10)

@

Sep 3rd, 7:00 PM

Illinois State

Wisconsin (20)

@

Sep 3rd, 7:00 PM

Massachusetts +31.5 -110

Tulane -31.5 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 7:00 PM

Army +3 -110

Coastal Carolina -3 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 7:00 PM

Liberty -4 -110

Southern Miss +4 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 7:00 PM

Grambling State

Arkansas State

@

Sep 3rd, 7:00 PM

Southeastern Louisiana

Louisiana-Lafayette

@

Sep 3rd, 7:30 PM

Utah State +34.5 -106

Alabama (1) -34.5 -106

@

Sep 3rd, 7:30 PM

Memphis +12.5 -110

Mississippi State -12.5 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 7:30 PM

Georgia State +11 -110

South Carolina -11 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 7:30 PM

Notre Dame (5) +13.5 -107

Ohio State (2) -13.5 -107

@

Sep 3rd, 7:30 PM

SMU -7.5 -110

North Texas +7.5 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 8:00 PM

Colgate

Stanford

@

Sep 3rd, 8:00 PM

Louisiana-Monroe +37 -110

Texas (18) -37 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 8:00 PM

Murray State

Texas Tech

@

Sep 3rd, 8:00 PM

Louisville -4 -110

Syracuse +4 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 8:00 PM

Maine

New Mexico

@

Sep 3rd, 9:30 PM

Idaho

Washington State

@

Sep 3rd, 10:30 PM

Boise State +4 -110

Oregon State -4 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 10:30 PM

Kent State +21.5 -110

Washington -21.5 -110

@