It was a frustrating afternoon at TDECU Stadium when many were expecting another great performance from the hometown Cougars. Mental mistakes and a lack of offense for Houston were the determining factors in their loss to the Red Raiders.
The offense had plenty of opportunities to keep drives going, but penalties and turnovers ended drives and killed momentum quickly. Quarterback Kyle Allen never got comfortable ever and, while he did make a few crucial mistakes, the offensive line rarely gave him time to make his reads. The run game was also non-existent until backup quarterback Kyle Postma entered the game to replace Allen. Houston had just 58 rushing yards, and Postma finished with 52. The backup made the game close with two late touchdowns to pull within three points, but a failed onside kick ended the game. We found out why head coach Major Applewhite waited so long to name a quarterback, as clearly the competition was closer than previously thought.
Elsewhere in the offense, we never got a good read from the running backs because they never had holes to run through. With the offensive line struggling, the run game appears to still need some work. Texas Tech stopped the run for most of the game and, for the most part, kept the passing game in check. But that had more to do with the inconsistencies at quarterback. Steven Dunbar and Linell Bonner all day, but Allen couldn’t seem to find them or make a good enough throw. Dunbar finished with six catches for 83 yards and Bonner caught seven passes for 66 yards and a touchdown.
It was a defensive battle for the most part, and the first quarter let us know that would be the case. Texas Tech and Houston combined for just 133 yards with the Red Raiders leading 6-0. There were only a handful of plays in which the defense let up big chunks of yardage, but that could mostly be attributed to being on the field for long stretches. Texas Tech accumulated 521 yards of offense, which isn’t something that Houston will be happy with, but to hold them to just 27 points is something the Cougars can be excited about.
Houston had five turnovers, and you simply cannot win games when you allow that to happen. There are adjustments that need to be made on both sides of the ball, but the offense has crucial changes to make. Losing to Texas Tech isn’t something to be upset about, but the way Houston played is. Luckily, this loss has zero affect on Houston’s chances for winning the conference, and they can regroup to focus on conference play going forward.