Crawford’s Box: Cougar Football Still Roaring Despite Big 12 Letdown


Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS

University of Houston quarterback Greg Ward Jr. runs for yardage on a quarterback keeper against Florida State defensive back Derwin James during the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Dec. 31, 2015 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Ward continues to lead the team through a stellar season.

University of Houston football is off to a blazing hot start with a 6-1 overall record and a 3-1 conference record. UH started the season by unexpectedly knocking off then number three ranked Oklahoma. Leading the charge against the Sooners was quarterback Greg Ward Jr.

Ward began his college football career playing wide receiver during his freshman and sophomore years but moved to quarterback last season where he led the Cougars to a 13-1 record.

In a short amount of time, Ward proved he can do it all from the team’s central position demonstrating he is a true dual-threat playmaker. He has the running ability of a running back combined with the passing skills necessary to succeed as a quarterback.

This season, Ward played in six of seven games missing one game because of a shoulder injury suffered during the Oklahoma game. He put up 1938 passing yards along with eleven passing touchdowns and five interceptions, all while posting 414 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns.

Although Ward is off to an outstanding start to the season, he is not the only Cougar grabbing headlines. Head Football Coach Tom Herman is also enjoying time in the spotlight along with his star player.

Herman came to Houston in 2015 after coming off a national championship with Ohio State where he was the offensive coordinator. Last season, he led the Cougars on a stellar run suffering only a single loss to UConn while Ward was injured. However, his continued success at UH fueled speculation he may leave to accept a head coaching position at LSU, UT, or USC.

In addition to leading his team to eleventh place in the current college football rankings, Herman positioned the Cougars into consideration for the Big 12 after the announcement was made it was looking for new members. The Cougars were one of nearly a dozen finalists looking to make the cut.

In an unexpected move, the Big 12 announced Oct. 18 they were terminating their effort toward expansion crushing the team’s hope to make it to the big leagues.

UH Chancellor Renu Khator, who aggressively helped campaign for Big 12 membership, told the Houston Chronicle she continues to maintain a positive outlook for the team’s future in spite of recent developments.

“We are confident that in this competitive collegiate athletics landscape an established program with a history of winning championships and a demonstrated commitment to talent and facilities in the nation’s fourth largest city will find its rightful place,” Khator said. “Our destiny belongs to us.”