Big plays, turnovers lead Houston past UTSA on Saturday, 59-28
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Houston has spent the early part of the season doing major things like changing quarterbacks. On Saturday at UTSA, the Cougars did something minor with their special teams and continued to get positive results.
Houston's B.J. Singleton blocked a field goal that was returned for a key touchdown late in the third quarter and he later intercepted a pass that helped the Cougars stay undefeated in a 59-28 victory against the Roadrunners.
"The blocked field goal was the turning point of the game," Houston coach Tony Levine said. "We change up our blocking schemes every week and we showed a look they hadn't seen. B.J. Singleton came through with the blocked kick and made it a 10-point swing."
The Cougars (4-0) were 12-0 late in the season two years ago under then-coach Kevin Sumlin.
"It was a great win," Levine said. "We've played four and won them all."
Ahead 24-21 late in the third quarter, it appeared UH would be in a tie game when UTSA (2-3) lined up for a 29-yard field goal, but Singleton broke through the middle and blocked Sean Ianno's kick and Brandon Wilson returned it 78 yards to give the Cougars a 31-21 lead with 3:11 left in the quarter.
UTSA came right back and David Glasco II's 2-yard run made it 31-28 with less than a minute to go in the third.
In the opening minute of the fourth, Singleton intercepted Soza.
John O'Korn, UH's true freshman making his second start, found Xavier Maxwell on a 22-yard scoring pass that put the Cougars back up by 10.
O'Korn, last season's private school player of the year in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., passed for four touchdowns without an interception in his second career start after taking over for the injured David Piland. O'Korn finished 24-for-36 for 312 yards.
However, Soza had the edge in the quarterback matchup through the opening three quarters. He was 22-for-28 with a pair of TDs and no interceptions at the time and he also had run for a score, but he was picked off three times in the fourth quarter and finished 29-of-40 for 316 yards.
"The fourth quarter was a disaster," UTSA coach Larry Coker said. "We just couldn't hang with them."
UTSA had a golden opportunity to take the lead before the blocked field goal.
The Roadrunners called an option play off a reverse that allowed Soza to circle out of the backfield and become a receiver, but the pass attempt by Kam Jones from 12 yards out fell short to a wide-open Soza.
"It was a walk-in," Coker said. "Where we are playing good teams — and they're 4-0 now — we have to make those plays."
Soza's first passing score gave UTSA its only lead.
The Roadrunners went up 7-0 after taking the opening kickoff and running a 12-play, 81-yard drive that ended with Soza's 12-yard pass to Jones.
Houston answered, but not until after O'Korn's shaky start.
He was 1-for-5 passing, but he hit five of his next six, including a 15-yard scoring pass to Ryan Jackson that made it 7-7 with 2:41 left in the first quarter.
The Cougars took first-half leads on Greg Ward Jr.'s 6-yard run and a 7-yard pass from O'Korn to Maxwell.
The Roadrunners tied the game on each occasion, first on Soza's 1-yard run and again with Soza's 6-yard pass to Earon Holmes that made it 21-all with 1:18 left in the first half.
After Soza left late in the game, replacement Tucker Carter was intercepted by William Jackson, who returned it 96 yards for the Cougars with 46 seconds to go.
Houston has a bye and open play in the new American Athletic Conference at home against Memphis on Oct. 12.
The Roadrunners, who have home losses to UH and Oklahoma State, play next week at Marshall in Conference USA.