Everything was going wrong. The game was over. At least until Houston took a breath. Oklahoma appeared to be poised to run away with the game in the first quarter. Houston’s offense couldn’t do anything against the Sooners defense, and the defense wasn’t ready to play. Effort and anxiety contributed to the struggles. Even with a new quarterback, the Oklahoma offense didn’t take a step back.
Jalen Hurts’ first half with the Sooners was a good one. He headed into halftime going 13-for-15 for 174 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed 11 times for 128 yards and another score. Houston didn’t have an answer for him until they forced a fumble late in the second quarter. The second half was more of the same. Hurts finished with 332 yards passing with three touchdowns and 176 yards rushing with three more scores. Oklahoma finished with a total of 686 yards.
Oklahoma imposed their will upon the Cougars offensively. Houston couldn’t get any pressure or win the line of scrimmage, so Hurts found receivers with relative ease. Oklahoma’s running game found little resistance as well averaging 9.6 yards per rush. Houston’s secondary was making tackles left and right well beyond the line of scrimmage, and the offense didn’t fair much better.
Oklahoma was in D’Eriq King’s face all game, but he manged to settle in to the game in the second half. The Cougars made a late charge to pull somewhat close, but not enough to make it a game. Mulbah Car ran the ball well in relief of Kyle Porter (who had an okay game), and finished with 76 yards and a touchdown.
What went well
- King running the ball
- Car running the ball
- Drawing penalties on Oklahoma’s secondary
- Won turnover battle
What to work on
- Effort defensively
- Not letting big games affect anxiety
- Offensive line play
- Covering in space
Overall, Oklahoma proved to be the better team. Houston showed many flaws Sunday night, but there’s also potential on this team. The Coogs were able to move the ball against the Sooners defense as the game went on, but not enough to challenge the home team. It simply wasn’t the right first game for a team learning from a new coaching staff and featuring many new players. There’s still a lot to be excited about going forward for the Houston Cougars.