Houston improved to 6-1 on the season with its 49-36 win over Navy on the road on Saturday. It was yet another offensive explosion from D’Eriq King and his receivers, and Navy never found an answer to stop the Cougars air attack. While things did go well offensively, the defense struggled mightily in the first half. Let’s take a look at some quick reactions to the win.
1st half and 2nd half featured two different Houston defenses
Navy put up 24 points in the first half against the Cougars. While defending the triple option is tough, Houston looked completely lost and intimidated by the Midshipmen. There were multiple plays where defenders played passively (so nothing really that new). Most of the defensive backs didn’t take on their blocks well, and that allowed the blocker to move them out of the way.
In the second half, it appeared that the defense received a stern talk as they played much differently in terms of their attitude. A handful of players were making big hits, like Austin Robinson for a few drives. Houston also added a interception returned for a touchdown by Nick Watkins in the second half.
D’Eriq King was great, and could have been better
King continues his dynamic season by completing 25 of his 38 passes for 413 yards and three touchdowns. He also added 56 yards and another score rushing. King and the offense are the only reason Houston’s is at the top of the AAC West. This comes with receivers dropping a number of passes. This is an issue that came about early in the season, and we thought it might have been fixed. But the drops were resurrected for whatever reason this week. King’s stats passing could have been much better if not for those drops, but it didn’t affect the outcome.
Changes need to be made with the defensive personnel
Nothing is going to suddenly change, and we’ve seen exactly what we’re going to get with the defensive staff. Mark D’Onofrio continues to fall short in producing a competent defense. Houston gave up 522 yards to Navy.
In 19 games as Houston’s defensive coordinator, he’s allowing over 400 yards and 24 points per game. That’s not going to get a team to a championship level unless something extraordinary happens on the other side of the ball. Houston’s offense bailed this team out today, but that’s been almost the expectation every week. It’s pretty simple: D’Onofrio isn’t getting the job done, and it’s time to move on. Major Applewhite needs to make changes on defense if improvement is to be seen. It’s getting ridiculous at this point. This isn’t the same Navy team of the past, it’s a much worse team. They just put up 522 yards and 36 points on a team that should be superior. It’s time to make a change.