Derick E. Hingle USA Today Sports

BCI takes a look at the nationally ranked Houston Cougars

The Bearcats will be heading to Houston, Texas to take on the 18th ranked Houston Cougars in and American Athletic Conference battle. We are taking a peek at the Cougars offense and defense.

The Bearcats will be on the road Saturday afternoon against the Cougars for an American Athletic Conference showdown. We are looking at both sides of the ball check out some of the details.

Offense

The Cougars high powered offense is led by offensive coordinator Major Applewhite. Hey Texas fans do you remember Applewhite? Applewhite has his offense averaging 45.9 points per game.

This offense is led by quarterback Greg Ward, Jr. Ward is a legit dual threat quarterback who can beat you whichever way your defense allows. During the season he has 1955 passing yards, 11 touchdowns and 2 interceptions on 70.8% completions. On top of that Ward has 710 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. This guy is a real pick your poison player that the Bearcats defense must make sure they stay discipline or he’s going to do what he has been doing to opposing defenses all year.

Powerful Kenneth Farrow is the Cougars lead back. Farrow has 751 yards and 9 touchdowns on a nice 5.9 yards a carry. He is a real physical runner and is great compliment to Ward’s style of running. Backup running back Ryan Jackson is more a change of pace back, but he also has 301 yards and 3 touchdowns in limited action. So, if anything happens to Farrow I just wanted to warn everyone that Jackson is no slouch.

Ward’s number one receiver is Demarcus Ayers who has 56 catches for 713 yards and 5 touchdowns. It will be paramount for the Bearcats to keep a keen eye on Ayers because nobody else is within 25 catches of him.

Defense

The Cougars solid defense is led by defensive coordinator Todd Orlando. Orlando has his defense giving up an average of 17.3 points per game.

The defense has a bevy of playmakers led by inside linebacker Elandon Roberts. Roberts has a team leading 90 tackles (10.5 tackles for loss), 2.5 sacks, 3 pass defensed and 6 quarterback hurries. To be honest this guy is always around the ball.

Outside linebacker Steven Taylor is second on the team with 61 tackles (13.0 tackles for loss), first on the team with 8.0 sacks, 1 interception, 3 pass defensed and 6 quarterback hurries. With this linebacking core the Bearcats need to make sure protection is sharp on Saturday. Another threat is outside linebacker Tyus Bowser who is second on the team with 5.0 sacks.

The secondary has a two headed monster with cornerback William Jackson III and safety Adrian McDonald. Both are very good playmakers. McDonald is third on the team in tackles with 50 (1.5 tackles for loss, .5 sacks, 4 interception which has him first on the team and 2 fumble recoveries. Jackson is the top cornerback on the team he has 21 tackles and 3 interceptions.

Note: Houston starts three receivers so I placed the third receiver in the fullback(FB) slot

Houston Cougars Depth Chart - 2015
Regular Offense
STARTER 2ND 3RD 4TH
WR Steven Dunbar Linell Bonner
TE Tyler McCloskey Hayden Daniels
LT Alex Cooper Marcus Oliver
LG Mason Denley Kameron Eloph
C Will Noble Colton Freeman
RG Colton Freeman Kameron Eloph
RT Carter Wall Damien Parris
WR Damarcus Ayers Donald Gage
QB Greg Ward Jr. Kyle Postma
FB Chance Allen Isaiah Johnson
HB Kenneth Farrow Javin Webb
Base 3-4 Defense
STARTER 2ND 3RD 4TH
LDE Tomme Mark Nick Thurman
NT B.J. Singleton Jerard Carter
RDE Cameron Malveaux Zach Vaughan
LOLB Tyus Bowser Ralph Harvey Jr.
LILB Matthew Adams Emeke Egbule
RILB Elandon Roberts D'Juan Hines
ROLB Steven Taylor Davonte Thomas
CB Brandon Wilson Marcus Dillard
SS Adrian McDonald Lee Hightower
FS Trevon Stewart Khalil Williams
CB William Jackson Jeremy Winchester

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