A cat is said to have nine lives.
Well, the saying actually goes: “for three he plays, for three he strays, and for the last three he stays.”
Dana Holgorsen was as feline as they come tonight, orchestrating Houston’s unbelievable come-from-way-behind 33-32 victory over the Memphis Tigers in the waning seconds of the game.
For three quarters, the Tigers played.
For three quarters, the Cougars strayed.
And for the last three minutes, Houston quarterback Clayton Tune and wide receiver KeSean Carter decided the Cougars were here to stay as they combined for two touchdowns within a minute of each other to secure a much-needed Houston victory at Liberty Stadium.
For 45 minutes, Memphis looked very much like the cat who ate the canary – leading in rushing yards, committing less penalties and controlling the time of possession. In fact, the Tigers did mostly everything right.
Except believe that Holgorsen and company had no fight let in them.
In the fourth quarter, Houston outpaced Memphis 186 yards to 121, let the Cougars go 2-2 in the red zone and scored only one touchdown to Houston’s four.
Carter caught the game-winning touchdown, his second of the night. He finished with four catches for 36 yards. Tune also finished strong, going 36 for 57 for 366 yards and three touchdowns, with only one interception on the night.
This epic comeback tied for fifth-biggest in school history and was just the second come-from-behind win over 19+ points in the fourth quarter against the Tigers in school history – the Cougars trailed 34-14 with 14:52 left in the fourth quarter on Nov. 14, 2015, before taking a 35-34 win.
#Houston QB Clayton Tune was CLUTCH in the 4th quarter last night: 15/19, 147 yds, 3 TDs.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) October 8, 2022
Tune threw TD passes with 1:17 left in the game and another with 0:18 left to complete the 33-32 comeback win over Memphis. pic.twitter.com/yCd6paHvI2
Memphis quarter back Seth Hennigan looked great as per usual, finishing 21 of 32 for 241 yards and one touchdown. But not having a complimentary ground game continues to plague the tigers – their lead rusher, Jeyvon Ducker, finished with just 10 carries for 38 yards. Not even a gorgeous lateral play from Hennigan to Gabriel Rodgers, who managed to evade three Houston defenders before lobbing a pass to Asa Martin in the endzone to give Memphis a 26-7 lead a mere 10 seconds into the final quarter could save the Tigers from Holgorsen’s wrath.
Houston was going to beat the Tigers or burn down Memphis trying. That was evident after the onside kick to end all onside kicks. The Cougars can thank kicker Kyle Ramsey for the execution and Bubba Baxa for the game-winning extra point.
Hats off to Holgorsen, who avoided a Kiffin-esque tarmac experience and instead will be toasting vodka Red Bulls all the way back to Sack Ave.
Houston continues their season on October 22 at Navy, following their upcoming bye week. Memphis will next head to East Carolina for a matchup with the Pirates on October 15.