Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Houston 22, Temple 13

The Cougars won their first-ever AAC conference game, defeating the Owls in Philadelphia.

The Good: When was the last time you could say that the Coogs won because of their defense? That's exactly what happened, however; as the Cougar offense struggled to find the endzone, the defense held Temple to only 13 points, all scored in the first half, and to 300 total yards. The defense also had two interceptions, most importantly Adrian McDonald's pick with 1:18 left that helped to seal the win for the Coogs. True freshman quarterback John O'Korn continued to impress, completing 23 of 31 passes for 233 yards after coming in for the ineffective David Piland. And Richie Leone's foot kept the Cougars in the game: he made five out of six field goal attempts, and his booming punts kept the Temple offense pinned on their end of the field for much of the game.

The Bad: Three words: red zone offense. The Cougars got past the Temple 20 yard line eight times over the course of the game, but could come away with only five field goals until Ryan Jackson finally scored on a ten yard run with 1:06 left to put the game out of reach. Everything seemed to go wrong in the red zone for the Cougars, including poor blocking by the o-line and questionable play calling by the sideline. The Cougars also fumbled twice, gave up two sacks, and committed 8 penalties for 77 yards. Running back Kenneth Farrow, a critical component of the UH offense, had to leave the game early with an ankle injury.

What It Means: It was a frustrating and aggravating game to watch, given the Coogs' red zone struggles, but the play of the defense was very encouraging and the result of the game is an important in-conference win and the first true road win of head coach Tony Levine's career. The Cougars now get a week off before facing crosstown rivals Rice at Reliant Stadium.

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