1. QB David Piland
After Houston legend Case Keenum graduated, sophomore David Piland had huge shoes to fill. After a rough 0-3 start that saw Piland struggle against schools like Texas State and UCLA (a game in which he through five interceptions), Piland has rebounded nicely, throwing five touchdowns and only one interception in his last three games against Conference USA opponents. Houston, a team notorious for throwing the ball a lot, including an incredible 77 times against Louisiana Tech, has had more success recently when they've lightened the pass attempts, so look for a balanced attack this week against the Mustangs. Remember, Piland was came into Ford Stadium as true freshman and helped the Cougars beat down SMU while filling in for Keenum.
2. RB Charles Sims
Like Piland, Sims struggled earlier on this season, failing to reach 100 rushing yards against both Texas State and Louisiana Tech. Since then, Sims has played extremely well, rushing for 158, 210 and 133 yards in his last three games, respectively. The junior, who stands at 6-foot-1, 213-pounds is one of the bigger running backs SMU will have faced this year and could cause some problems for the Mustang defense if he gets going early.
3. WR Deontay Greenberry
Although the Houston receiving corps has receivers with more catches and yards than Greenberry, the freshman out of Fresno (CA) may be one of the harder to cover. Standing at 6-foot-3, Greenberry, who some may remember originally committed to Notre Dame, gives the Houston passing game a more physical threat compared to his shorter counterparts. Greenberry has not been featured yet in the offense, but against the talented Mustang line backing corps, may be the guy Houston looks to.
4. LB Phillip Steward
Senior linebacker Phillip Steward may be one of the top C-USA defenders the Mustangs face all season. Steward, who led all NCAA linebackers in interceptions last year, currently leads the Cougar defense with 72 total tackles (34 solo), and sacks, with six and a half. Steward, who is widely regarded as the leader of the Cougar defense, may be the main man the Mustang offense accounts for due to his ability of covering the pass and rushing the quarterback.
5. K Matt Hogan
Red-shirt senior Matt Hogan has racked up numerous kicking records throughout his time at Houston, mostly due to having one of the most explosive offenses in the country the past few years. However, with Keenum gone, Hogan's has not digressed at all, going 13-17 on field goals so far this season, including kicking a C-USA record six field goals against UAB earlier this season. If the SMU-Houston game comes down to the wire, look out for Hogan, who just may just be the player who decides the game.
5 Houston Players To Keep An Eye On
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