Thabo Mwaniki Steps Up For Depleted Defense

In the 4th quarter, Rice started driving down the field before facing a crucial third down. The UH defense held as McMahon had to throw it away, but a costly roughing the passer penalty on Nelson Ceaser kept the drive alive. On the next play, the Owls picked up 17 yards on a throw to the sideline to get to the UH 35-yard line.

At this point in the game, the Cougar defense was missing starters Derek Parish (hurt earlier in the game), Chidozie Nwankwo (DNP), Donavan Mutin (DNP), Gervarrius Owens (hurt earlier), and Art Green (hurt earlier). As a result, the defensive backfield lost 480 snaps between Green and Owens, while Mutin and Parish are the heart of the defense.

Someone needed to step up, especially after the last third down. Enter Thabo Mwaniki, playing safety, who snares a first down pass that goes off the hands of Rice’s Isaiah Esdale. Mwaniki was up near the line playing run-support on the play before but was in perfect position for the INT here. A good return put the offense in a solid place to run the clock out and win the game (which, of course, did not happen).

All images © Mario Puente 2022.

Thabo eyes the INT

He knabs it…
secures it…
…and returns it 19 yards.
Mario Puente
Mario Puente
Photographer for On Twitter at. @LifeOfMarioP Formely @HTX_Seen_By_Me

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