Riding momentum from fourth-quarter comeback, Houston faces Navy

Coming off a massive comeback in its last game, Houston will try to make it two straight road wins in conference when it faces Navy on Saturday in Annapolis, Md.

Houston (3-3, 1-1 American Athletic Conference) trailed Memphis 26-7 at the beginning of the fourth quarter of its last game Oct. 7, but thanks to Jayce Rogers’ 100-yard kick return touchdown and three passing touchdowns from Clayton Tune, the Cougars stormed back for a 33-32 road win.

Tune’s 2-yard pass to KeSean Carter with 18 seconds left was the game-winner.

Coach Dana Holgorsen had hinted before the Memphis game that Houston wanted to get more aggressive on offense, and it produced points with an up-tempo style late in that contest. But he hesitated to commit to more of that style.

“We’ve won a lot of games around here with controlling the ball, controlling the clock, keeping our defense fresh, keeping them off the field, not putting them in bad situations,” Holgorsen said Monday. “I’m not gonna stop doing that just for the sake of people wanting to see an up-tempo offense. … If we’re sputtering doing what we’re doing, then that’s an opportunity to be able to pick things up.”

Navy (2-4, 2-2) came close to a fourth-quarter rally of its own last Friday, but it wasn’t enough to stop host SMU from securing a 40-34 win.

The Midshipmen scored 20 points on three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, drawing within six points in the final nine seconds, but they couldn’t recover an onside kick. SMU quarterback Tanner Mordecai burned Navy for 336 yards and three touchdowns.

Navy still gained a season-high 510 yards, including 372 on 77 rushing attempts.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever been involved with a game like that,” Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. “We had 101 plays, we had the ball for over 40 minutes, rushed for 370, over 30 points but I feel like we should’ve had 50. It’s just tough. … 80 percent of the time we play good on defense, but we can’t give up big plays.”

Houston has won each of the last two meetings with Navy and leads the all-time series 6-2.

–Field Level Media