Photo: Vance Valentine/

The Houston Cougars are bowl bound following a 52-27 win against the East Carolina Pirates on Saturday afternoon.

Former Manvel star D’Eriq King made his first start at quarterback after replacing Kyle Postma last week in their upset of South Florida and got things rolling early, leading the Cougars 75 yards down the field for a touchdown and taking it in himself on a two-yard run. The Houston defens Of East Carolina’s three first quarter drives, only one went into Cougar territory and that one drive stalled at the Cougar 47. The Cougars scored two more times on a Courtney Lark five yard catch and a 22-yard rush by Duke Catalon.

Photo: Vance Valentine/

East Carolina was finally able to get something going to start, as backup signal caller Gardner Minshew took the Pirates down the field on their first possession on the second quarter. ECU kicked a field goal to start after the defense held them out. The ensuing Cougar drive was highlighted by a 39 catch by Steven Dunbar going over the back of the ECU cornerback to set up a one-yard rushing touchdown by Mulbah Car.

Not to be outdone, Trevon Brown had his own incredible catch for East Carolina, going 34 yards for the touchdown to put the Pirates within 18. East Carolina drove 53 yards to the Houston 19 late in the second quarter. A missed field goal left the score at 28-10 Cougars at halftime.

The Pirates started the second half and converted ECU started the second half with the ball and momentum carried over from the second quarter. They finally converted on a fourth down scoring on a nine yard touchdown catch by Trevon Brown. The Cougars drove right back scoring on a 75 yard catch and run by Steven Dunbar, for the longest catch of his career.

Photo: Vance Valentine/

ECU fumbled away their next drive on a botched pitch and Houston put the game out of reach with a 62-yard touchdown pass to Linell Bonner. D’Eriq King continued his hot stretch, tallying 330 total yards and a touchdown.

“He showed consistency and competitiveness,” Houston head coach Major Applewhite said after the game. “He went out there and focused, I’m very proud of him, he’s been through a lot.”

The Cougar defense stepped it up late in the third refusing to give the Pirates an inch. A field goal and pick six later, the Cougars were up 52-17 with over 12 minutes remaining for their young reserves get valuable playing time. East Carolina tallied 10 points in the last quarter for a final score of 52-27.

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