Tune has TDs passing, rushing, No. 17 Houston beats Memphis

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
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HOUSTON – Clayton Tune threw for 264 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score as No. 17 Houston extended its winning streak to 10 games with a 31-13 victory over Memphis on Friday night.

Tune tossed a 19-yard touchdown pass to Nathaniel Dell in the second quarter but was picked off twice, the first snapping a streak of 192 attempts without an interception. The QB also rushed for 59 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown as the Cougars (10-1, 8-0 American Athletic Conference) built a 21-3 lead at halftime.

“We just hammer through whatever adversity we are faced with,” Tune said. “Whatever challenges it is for that week, we keep hammering and playing. Don’t let outside noise and distractions get in the way of what we are trying to do. It just speaks to the character of this team and what we know we can do.”

Ta'Zhawn Henry rushed for 73 yards and a touchdown and Alton McCaskill rushed for 58 yards and a touchdown. Dell caught seven passes for 100 yards and Jeremy Singleton finished with five catches for 80 yards.

Houston gained 461 yards and was 8 of 15 on third downs.

Houston went undefeated in conference play for the second time in school history, matching the 2011 team.

“We are a good team,” Houston coach Dana Holgorsen said. “We finished the American 8-0. We’ve won 10 in a row. It’s hard to win in college football. It’s hard to win every week … I’m very proud of this football team.”

Seth Henigan threw for 208 yards and a touchdown for Memphis (5-6, 2-5), while Calvin Austin III had five catches for 103 yards. The Tigers gained 322 yards.

“There’s frustration, there’s hurt, there’s anger in the locker room and there should be,” Memphis coach Ryan Silverfield said. “I’m all those things. . It starts with me, and I am frustrated. We’ve got to find a way. Our players are frustrated, and I understand. We didn’t execute the way we needed to, the way we are capable of.”

Asa Martin caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Henigan, and David Kemp made a 22-yard field goal to cut the lead to eight early in the fourth quarter.

Following two straight three-and-out drives by Memphis, Dalton Witherspoon connected on a 34-yard field goal with 3:24 remaining to put Houston up by 11.

THE TAKEAWAY

Memphis: The Tigers closed within eight and had momentum, but could not finish, gaining 23 yards in the fourth quarter. Memphis finished 2 for 14 on third downs and 2 for 4 on fourth downs.

“Our kids haven’t quit,” Silverfield said. “They’re fighting, they’re caring, they’re working. It’s just not showing in results, and that’s my job to figure out a way to get that done.”

Houston: Marcus Jones had two interceptions, his fourth straight game with at least one pick. The Cougars were called for 11 penalties totaling 122 yards, including an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Holgorsen. He called the penalties “mind-blowing.”

SCARY INJURY

Houston junior linebacker Donavan Mutin was taken off the field on a stretcher after tackling Martin with 12 minutes remaining in the first quarter. After the tackle, Mutin’s teammates immediately surrounded him as trainers and personnel rushed on to the field. The entire Houston team came out near the hashmarks on the far side and watched as Mutin was strapped on a backboard, loaded on to a stretcher and wheeled off the field.

Mutin was taken a hospital as a precaution and was alert and talking, the school announced.

Mutin entered the game tied for the team lead with three forced fumbles. He has five tackles for loss, including two sacks.

“Donnie is our emotional leader and team captain,” Holgorsen said. “We were out there for a while. In my 11, 12 years of being a head coach, I’ve never had that. I’ve never had a kid taken off on a stretcher. That was dire. He was moving and talking toward the end of it. It took him awhile to wake up. He was breathing.”

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Cougars should at least maintain their position in the poll.

UP NEXT

Memphis: Hosts Tulane on Nov. 27.

Houston: At UConn on Nov. 27 to end the regular season.

WVU RB Donaldson in concussion protocol, out for Baylor game

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) West Virginia running back CJ Donaldson is in concussion protocol and will miss next week’s home game with Baylor after he was injured in a loss to Texas, coach Neal Brown said Tuesday.

Donaldson remained on the ground after he was tackled on a short gain in the third quarter of Saturday’s 38-20 loss to the Longhorns. His helmet and shoulder pads were removed and he was carted off the field on a stretcher. After the game he was cleared to travel home with the team.

“He’s recovering,” Brown said. “There is a strict return-to-play (policy) that we have to follow here and I’m zero involved in it. All I do is ask the question. They don’t even start the return-to-play until they’re symptom free.”

Donaldson, a 240-pound freshman, leads the Mountaineers with 389 rushing yards and six touchdowns, with an average of 6.9 yards per carry.

West Virginia (2-3, 0-2 Big 12 Conference) is idle this week and hosts Baylor (3-2, 1-1) next Thursday, Oct. 13.

Taulia Tagovailoa says he visited brother, Tua, over weekend

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was able to visit his brother, Tua, last weekend after the Terrapins’ game against Michigan State, he said Tuesday in his first comments to reporters since Tua left the Miami Dolphins’ game against Cincinnati last Thursday with a frightening head injury.

Taulia played in Maryland’s win over Michigan State on Saturday but was not made available to the media afterward. He said Tuesday he was able to go to Florida and spend some time with his brother, who suffered a concussion four days after taking a hit in another game but was cleared to return.

“He’s doing good, everything’s fine,” he said. “My biggest thing was just seeing him and spending as much time as I can with him. I came back Sunday night.”

Tagovailoa said he appreciates the support for his brother.

“My brother’s my heart. He’s someone I look up to, someone I talk to every day,” he said. “It was just a hard scene for me to see that.”

Tagovailoa said he was in constant contact with his mother about his brother’s situation, and he was finally able to talk to Tua on Friday night.

“I really just wanted to go there and just spend time with my family, hug them and stuff like that,” Taulia Tagovailoa said. “But he told me he’s a big fan of us, and he’d rather watch me play on Saturday. … After that phone call, I was happy and getting back to my normal routine.”

Tagovailoa indicated that his brother’s injury didn’t make him too nervous about his own health when he took the field again.

“I guess when that happens to someone like my brother, or when anything happens to one of my family members, I don’t really think of how it will be able to affect me,” he said. “I just think of: `Is he OK? How’s he doing?”‘

Although it was a short visit to Florida, he said he and Tua made the most of their chance to be together.

“I just wanted to make sure he’s healthy and stuff, which he is,” Taulia Tagovailoa said.