When Southern Methodist and Houston met in Dallas two weeks before Halloween, the Mustangs had just come off a one-point loss to Tulane on the road, while Houston had just finished running away from Rice, North Texas and UAB by an average score of 40-18. Houston for the win, right?
Here's some math to chew on: in 28 minutes of football between the first and third quarters, the Houston Cougars defense gave up one 92-yard touchdown drive. Including that drive, Houston out-gained SMU 242-123... and were outscored 31-14.
SMU was not without flaws, either. It takes a special kind of team to force nine turnovers, return half of them for touchdowns, and still give up 42 points and almost 600 yards of offense. They actually could have had more points, except one of the fumbles they recovered was immediately followed by an interception of their own, plus a second INT that was returned for a score.
There were several... I hate to use the word "classic." Can I just go with "fugly" moments? Is that too cliche? Anyways...
Not just a fumble on a kickoff, but it even comes with a wretched-looking recovery. The earliest signs from UH of "win? nah, we're good."
However, my personal favorite was their second "fumble recovery" of the game.
Yes, you saw correctly. The play-by-play called it a fumble, but what actually happened was a UH player who was so distracted by his attempt to start a shoving match and/or brawl that he didn't notice that he stepped on the damn football and turned it into a live ball. When you do that, you deserve to lose badly.
But, y'know, how about a couple of pick-sixes as icing on this turd sandwich?
Plus one more for good measure...
Yes, I'm very kind. I only bothered to show you the four worst interceptions out of the eight that were thrown in this game.
Things that happened during this contest:
- Houston fumbled 40% of their punt returns
- The Cougars had almost as many penalties and turnovers (18) as SMU did first downs (20)
- UH threw the ball 65 times and still tossed an INT on almost 10% of their pass plays.
- Four QBs played in this game; none had a QBR better than 66.9, and that was a Houston player.
I'm sure SMU wouldn't want to erase this game, since they won and wound up heading to a bowl game (which they also won), but I have no doubt the Cougars would gladly erase this smudge from their ultimately 5-7 season.