HOUSTON (AP) — Donovan Smith threw for 294 yards and a touchdown, Parker Jenkins had 105 yards rushing and three touchdowns and Houston beat Sam Houston 38-7 on Saturday night.
Smith finished 31-of-40 passing, and Jenkins had rushing touchdowns of 4, 1 and 2 yards in the first half as the Cougars (2-2) built a 24-7 lead.
“He looked pretty ready to me,” Houston coach Dana Holgorsen said of Jenkins, a freshman. “He has a chance to be a special player. First start. First 100-yard game. I think we’ll be seeing a lot of that around here from Parker Jenkins.”
Matthew Golden caught nine passes for 92 yards and a score, and Stacy Sneed added three receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown for Houston, which totaled 538 yards of offense.
Houston entered having dropped straight games to Rice and TCU.
“We needed a little confidence, needed a little momentum right now,” Holgorsen said. “The last two weeks have been tough. They haven’t blinked. Our coaches and our players haven’t blinked.”
Grant Gunnell completed 14 of 22 passes for 100 yards for Sam Houston (0-3). Trapper Pannell rushed for a 2-yard touchdown with six minutes left in the first quarter, the Bearkats’ first touchdown of the season.
Sam Houston had totaled three points in losses to BYU and Air Force to start the season.
“It felt good to finally put something together, get some points on the board and give some confidence to the offense,” Sam Houston coach K.C. Keeler said. “I think at times we did a good job of getting the ball out of our hand quick, but there was times where we struggled with (Houston’s) talent up front.”
Sam Houston, which is in its first year of transition to the FBS level, finished with 178 yards.
“I thought we played really well the first two weeks, but sometimes losing is cumulative,” Keeler said. “I thought we did some things that losing teams do. … We did some very uncharacteristic things. A lot of mistakes defensively.”
Sam Houston: The Bearkats struggled to put drives together after their first drive, which went 83 yards in seven plays. Sam Houston had 13 plays for nine yards over the remainder of the first half. … The Bearkats were hurt by penalties, finishing with 10 for 91 yards.
Houston: Outside of Sam Houston’s first drive, the Cougars were dominant on defense forcing two turnovers and two sacks. … Houston finished with 11 penalties for 95 yards. … The Cougars finished seven of 13 on third downs and had 26 first downs.
Sam Houston: Hosts Jacksonville State on Thursday in their inaugural Conference USA game.
Houston: Travels to Texas Tech on Saturday.
___ AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll