The Houston Cougars defeated the Navy Midshipmen 24-14 to finish the regular season 7-4. Houston clinches second place in the AAC with the tiebreaking win. Both teams now look forward to their respective bowl games. On senior day, seniors Steven Dunbar and Linell Bonner, had great games in their last game at TDECU stadium, Dunbar finished with 142 yards and a touchdown receiving while Bonner finished with 98 yards receiving. Quarterback D’Eriq King had 277 yards passing and added 57 yards on the ground in his third career quarterback start.
Navy opened with the ball, running out of their iconic triple-option offense. On their first drive. six different rushers carried for 52 yards. The Midshipmen were forced to use two timeouts and with 8:38 remaining in the first, failed to score with a missed 40-yard field goal attempt.
D’Eriq King made his third consecutive start for the Cougars, their first drive went nowhere, and were forced to punt. The Cougars defense came up big, forcing their own three and out. After two deep throws to Linell Bonner of 24 and 32, D’Eriq King took it in himself for a nine-yard touchdown rush. By the end of the first, Houston was up 7-0 on a Navy team that was driving at the break.
A personal foul by safety Terell Williams put Navy on the Houston 12-yard line. They powered it in a play later on a Malcolm Perry rush, to tie the game at 7 with 13:42 remaining in the second. On the ensuing kickoff, the Cougars fumbled and lost the ball to Navy at their own 21. Navy drove all the way to the one yard line, but was held to zero points.
It didn’t matter as after Houston was forced to punt on their next drive, the Midshipmen scored from 13 yards out on a rush by Anthony Gargiulo. The score remained 14-7 at the half as neither team could get much going.
Houston got the ball to begin the second half, and with 13:27 in the third, fumbled the ball away for the second time in the game. The defense held once again, and Houston got the ball back and scored on a D’Eriq King rush. The drive was capitalized by a targeting penalty that set up the Cougars inside the Navy 7. The score remained tied 14-14 as the third quarter came to an end.
A minute into the fourth quarter, King found receiver Steven Dunbar for a 61 yard touchdown. The defense continued to hold, led by Ed Oliver who finished with 14 tackles and a sack. The Cougars tacked on a field goal with 7:57 remaining in the game to increase their lead to ten points, 24-14. The Cougars defense continued to shut down Navy, and the offense ran it out following an interception by The Woodlands College Park alum Alex Myres.
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