The only game that current No. 6 team Houston lost last season was at Connecticut — but the Cougars didn’t start QB Greg Ward in that game. He’ll be out there Thursday night in the ESPN game of the week at Houston looks for payback at home. UH is a huge favorite on college football lines.
How to Bet on the UConn at Houston Free Pick, Lines & TV Info
When: Thursday, Sept. 29, 8 PM ET
Where: TDECU Stadium, Houston
Opening NCAA Football Lines: Houston -27.5 (51)
Why Bet on Houston?
Ward Jr. has won 17 straight games as Houston’s starting QB, the longest streak in the country. The Cougars warmed up for this game with a 64-3 destruction of Texas State on Saturday. Freshman D’Erik King caught a touchdown pass, threw for a TD and returned a kickoff for another score. King is the first Houston player ever to pass, run and return a kickoff for a touchdown in the same game. The freshman was recruited to play quarterback but moved to wide receiver after the Cougars lost two receivers to injuries.
Ward Jr. passed for two touchdowns and ran for one before leaving the game after playing one series in the third quarter. He completed 20 of 26 passes for 289 yards. Ward Jr. now has 10 career games with multiple touchdown passes. Ward has now thrown for at least 200 yards or rushed for 100 yards in each of the last 16 games.
The Cougars had 14 possessions and scored on 10 of them (including nine touchdowns while punting three times and taking a knee on the final one as the clock expired). UH racked up 563 total yards against just 142 for Texas State. The Cougars had 32 first downs and were seven of 14 on third downs and three for three on fourth down.
Sophomore cornerback Howard Wilson intercepted a pass in the third quarter, giving him three interceptions in the last two games. Houston has held its last six opponents to under 100 yards rushing dating back to the end of the 2015 season.
The win marked the second consecutive season the Cougars have started 4-0. The last time Houston achieved the feat of back-to- back 4-0 starts was 1989 (4-0) and 1990 (8-0). The 4-0 start is the 10th in program history.
Houston coach Tom Herman has been rumored for the now open LSU job but he wouldn't talk about that this week. He did talk about UConn: “We don’t have much to talk about, but I do believe that our returning players on our team are better than they were last season. We don’t see this game as a chance for redemption. This program has lost one football game since the beginning of December 2014, and we have had a lot of big games in that two-year time span. The only game we lost was to Connecticut, but we don’t focus on it. There is a bit of internal sense of liability, of atonement, to right some of the wrongs that occurred.”
Why Bet on UConn?
The Huskies (2-2) lost 31-24 to Syracuse last week. Midway through the fourth quarter with UConn down 24-17 it had fourth down at the Syracuse 2. QB Bryant Shirreffs rolled right on a run/pass option. He dove for the end zone but was met in the air by linebacker Zaire Franklin, leaving UConn short of a touchdown and giving Syracuse possession at its own 1.
“Going back, I’d probably buy some more time and throw it to the back of the end zone,” Shirreffs said. “I came up short. The linebacker made a great play and I didn’t make a good enough play, and that came back to haunt us. Well, it really cost us the game."
The ensuing Orange drive ended with a six-yard touchdown run by quarterback Eric Dungey with 2:14 left. Shirreffs hit Davis for a 24-yard touchdown with just 33 seconds left, meaningless because the onside kick attempt was unsuccessful. Noel Thomas set a new career-high with 14 receptions, which is the second-most in single-game program history. UConn’s Bobby Puyol improved to 5-for- 5 on field goal attempts in 2016. Dating back to 2015, the senior has made his last nine field goal attempts.
Last year, UConn upset No. 13 Houston 20-17. Thomas caught two touchdown passes, including a 45-yarder on a trick play in the fourth quarter. The win was UConn’s third over a team ranked in the Associated Press poll at the time of the game. The Huskies beat No. 19 Louisville on the road in 2012 and topped No. 11 USF at home in 2007.
My Free Pick
Cougars are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
Cougars are 6-1- 1 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game.
Cougars are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games in September.
Cougars are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
Huskies are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
Give the points, go over the total on NCAA Football lines.