Houston did what it needed to do on Saturday in their 37-17 win over Prairie View A&M, and were still learning a lot about this team. Certain positions continue to be open for competition, while other are locked up barring unforeseen circumstances. Another difficult test awaits when Washington State comes to NRG Stadium to play the Cougars, but let’s take a look at what we learned from Houston so far.
Kyle Porter is RB1
Porter’s performance against Prairie View A&M proved that last week had more to do with the blocking than with him. Given a second consecutive start, Porter proved why he’s the most talented back on the roster. He rushed for 120 yards and one touchdown displaying his wide range of skills. Houston saw his speed at work on a number of runs, but he also showed his power and quickness. Porter broke numerous tackles with his quick feet and bounced off tacklers with his balance. Patrick Carr and Mulbah Car will also get time in the backfield, but Porter’s skillset makes him the best option for the starting position.
Kicking won’t be an issue (kind of)
Excluding kickoffs (which need some work), the kicking game will be a strength for the Cougars. Punter Dane Roy is having a career year in his final season with Houston, averaging 45.3 yards per punt. He’s improved his average every year, but is taking an even bigger step this season as well. Dalton Witherspoon is also off to a strong start, making all 12 of his kicks so far. He’s already made a field goal from 46 too, so he’s proven he has good range. Houston will need to replace both Roy and Witherspoon next year, but they’ll feel comfortable knowing both bring consistency to the kicking game in 2019.
Dual threats continue to give Houston’s defense trouble
It will continue to be the story of the season for a while. Houston’s fundamentals defensively need work, mostly dealing with dual threat quarterbacks. Joe Cauthen continues to rotate in a number of guys up front, but there are still issues with contain and pursuit angles. It didn’t cost them this week, but it will in the future. Overall, it was a better showing for the Cougars defense, but not a dominant one. Houston only outgained the Panthers by 62 yards on Saturday.