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Houston mistakes cost them in 31-24 loss to Washington State

Penalties and missed opportunities cost the Cougars

Washington State v Houston Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

It was a disappointing finish for the Houston Cougars Friday night. Houston took the Oklahoma game but flipped it against Washington State. They came out strong in the first half, but struggled in the second. Ultimately, Washington State came away with a 31-24 win against Houston, and it left many Houston fans frustrated.

The first half featured a lot of D’Eriq King. As I stated in my preview, Houston needed a healthy dose of King, and they started the game by listening to that advice. The Cougars star produced 170 total yards and two touchdowns in the first half, giving Houston a 14-7 lead heading into the break. They also won the turnover battle in the first half.

Houston’s defense gave up 173 total yards in the first half, but were flying around the field. There were multiple big hits by the Cougars secondary, and Gleson Sprewell came up with an interception late in the second quarter.

The first drive of the second half was a bad omen for the rest of the game. Houston turned the ball over on downs, and Washington State promptly scored soon after that. King’s production died down quickly as well.

Time to throw came at a premium in the second half, and King couldn’t find any rhythm in the second half. He produced 170 yards in the first half, but finished with 222. His offensive line rarely gave him time to throw and it had an impact on the game. It didn’t help that some poorly timed penalties ruined big plays as well.

Houston committed eight penalties for 77 yards with a handful of them negating big plays. King had a 72 yard touchdown called back because of a hold, and there were a number of others that brought the ball back. Many fans were upset with some of the calls, but Houston was simply sloppy in their discipline.

What went well

First half D’Eriq King

Running the ball

Forcing turnovers

What to work on


Protecting King all game

Missed opportunities (dropped picks)

Houston dropped a handful of interceptions, including one by Grant Stuard that would have given the Cougars the ball inside the Washington State 10 yard line. There were things that they could have done to put themselves in a better position to win. Overall, a tough loss to stomach, but there’s plenty to learn from going forward.