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Five Players to Watch: SMU vs. Houston

Demo breaks down five Houston Cougars to watch on Saturday when SMU welcomes its in-state rival to Ford Stadium.

Senior Quarterback Greg Ward Jr.

The senior signal caller has thrown for 1938 yards with a 70.1 completion percentage and has thrown for 11 touchdowns while also rushing for 414 yards with six more scores. He is averaging 392 total yards of offense per game through six contests.  This season Ward has been named the American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week three times, the Davey O’Brien ‘Great 8’ Performance List twice, and was given Manning Award Star of the Week honors as well.  

Junior Wide Receiver Linell Bonner

The junior receiver has become a mainstay in the Cougar’s offense this season. He has played in all seven games with six starts and leads Houston with 55 catches for 653 yards and two touchdowns. He is averaging 93.3 yards a game. On third downs, 13 of his 17 receptions went for first downs so look for Ward to look his way when he needs it the most.

Senior nickel back and return man Brandon Wilson

The senior nickel back returned from injury last week against Tulsa, after missing three games, recording five tackles and breaking up a pass. Having him back on the field is huge for Houston. He has good speed and can be a difference maker on the defense and in special teams. Against Oklahoma, he returned a missed field goal 100 yards for a touchdown. He was named the American Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Week on Sept. 5, following his missed FG return. Wilson has also returned six kickoffs and is averaging 29.8 yards per return.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Senior linebacker Steven Taylor

Taylor has started in six games this season and is fourth on the team with 31 tackles. He has also leads the Cougars with 5.5 sacks. Taylor has an interception, a pass breakup and a forced fumble. He returned that interception 78 yards for a touchdown against Cincinnati. He also recorded a pair of sacks and two tackles for a loss in the win over Cincinnati earning him the FWAA Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Freshman Defensive Lineman Ed Oliver

Oliver has started in all seven games as a true freshman while recording 43 tackles and three sacks—good enough for second on the team in both categories. He also had five pass breakups and a quarterback hurry. The 6-2, 290 pound tackle from Westfield High School is making an impact early and has been named to the AAC Honor Roll twice this season.

Robert Sellers

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