My fave collegiate football team had a short week because this Halloween night American Athletic Conference game against the University of South Florida Bulls was being nationally televised on ESPN.
It also had all the earmarks of being a potential trick instead of a treat for unbeaten in conference play UH but didn't start that way.
The Cougars took just three plays to score on their opening drive and sprinted out to a 21-10 halftime lead before the script flipped in the second half.
UH came into this game as the nation's leading team in turnover ratio at +20 but coughed the ball up in the end zone on the opening third quarter drive that would have given them a 28-10 lead. The Cougars started shooting themselves in the foot on offense with mistakes, mental breakdowns and a personal foul penalty by Kenneth Farrow that stalled another drive as the Bulls mustered enough offense after going a month with scoring touchdowns to narrow their deficit to 28-23.
But the Bulls (2-6, 2-2 AAC) committed 19 penalties for 170 yards, with the most backbreaking one happening with UH clinging to a five point lead deep into in the fourth quarter. USF's true freshman QB Mike White tossed a pass along the right sideline to Bulls receiver Andre Davis that had him stepping out of bounds just short of the goal line but was flagged for offensive pass interference for pushing off on UH cornerback William Jackson.
The penalty wiped out a 27 yard gain and pushed the Bulls back to the UH 42 yard line. On the very next play Cougar defensive end Tyus Bowser sacked White and forced a fumble that was recovered by Jeremiah Farley for their first and most critical turnover of the game.
UH then put the game away with a drive capped off by a determined Kenneth Farrow 5 yard TD run and a late interception to help the Coogs close out the 35-23 win and go to a spotless 4-0 in AAC play.
It was also the 16th straight game that the Cougars have had 2+ turnovers.
Next week the 7-1 Cougars travel to Orlando to take on their first ranked opponent of the season in the 6-1 University of Central Florida Knights. The Knights are no slouches with their lone loss being a narrow 28-25 non conference one to South Carolina. UCF is also unbeaten in AAC play and walked into the Pizzeria October 18 and knocked off then number 8 ranked Louisville 38-35.
So I hope UH got the sloppy play out of their system because they better be ready to play against the Knights. This upcoming game and the one next week at Louisville will probably determine whether the Cougars stay on track for that BCS bowl berth and the inaugural AAC title.