The Houston Cougars came into tonight's game against the Texas State Bobcats with revenge on their minds for the visitors' 2012 upset. They got what they came for and then some, as quarterback Greg Ward Jr. combined for 365 yards of offense and six touchdowns en route to the Cougars systematically dismantling Texas State, 59-14.
Houston struck early as Ward connected with Chance Allen for a way-too-easy 32 yard bomb to the end zone. For a brief glimpse it looked like Texas State's much-maligned defense was up to the task of facing UH's powerful offense, as the Bobcats stuffed Houston three times in a row on a 2nd and 1 near midfield. However, Texas State's ensuing drive ended up being a missed opportunity as tight end Lawrence White took a reception deep into Houston territory but fumbled it away on a hard hit from a UH defender.
Texas State did manage to blunt Houston's drive and marched methodically down the field next possession and quarterback Tyler Jones worked his magic by running past the entire Cougar defense for a 4 yard touchdown run. Unfortunately for them, things would go straight downhill from there for the Bobcats.
Houston figured out Texas State's defense by working it consistently to the edge and running past Texas State's slow and undersized front six, and passing over the top of a secondary that constantly missed assignments and left UH wide receivers wide open all evening. Former Bobcat defensive coordinator turned UH co-DC Craig Naivar and DC Todd Orlando then figured out Texas State's predictable suite of screens and runs up the middle, forcing Jones to make plays with his arm. Their strategy was successful, as Houston's secondary jumped Texas State's routes and Jones uncharacteristically threw two interceptions, including a pick six.
By halftime, Texas State's defense had been thoroughly demolished by Houston's resurgent offense, and the Bobcats' body language betrayed that the team had no answers on that side of the ball. The coaches may have given up on the game by halftime as well, as they opted not to use a timeout at midfield to try a hail mary in the final seconds of the half. Houston went into the tunnel leading 42-7, and the sizable contingent of Texas State fans that had made their way to TDECU stadium started thinning out.
Things didn't get much better after halftime for the ‘Cats, as Houston didn't have much trouble dumping in another 17 points despite taking their foot off the gas. Texas State's Chris Nutall added an ultimately meaningless touchdown after the game was well in hand.
Houston's performance was nothing short of impressive, rolling up 680+ yards on a completely overmatched Texas State defense. Holding the Bobcat offense to 14 points and under 100 yards rushing a week after dumping 500+ yards and 50 points on Southern Miss was also a testament to Houston's defensive performance. However, from the Texas State perspective, well...this about sums it up.
Offense embarrassing. Defense embarrassing. Special teams embarrassing. #TXST— Tyler Hammond (@Tyler_Hammond15) September 27, 2015
Tonight's performance was utterly humiliating for the players, the coaches, and the Bobcat contingent that sold out the visitors' allotment of tickets, and it's clear that whatever Dennis Franchione and his assistants tried to implement after the Southern Miss defensive disaster didn't work. If Texas State continues to put in these kinds of performances for the rest of the season, then perhaps some of the coaches should start updating their resumes.
The Cougars improve to 3-0 and will likely be a major contender for the AAC title, while Texas State falls to 1-3 with another brutal road trip looming at Lafayette in two weeks. Gulp.