Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Houston 25, Memphis 15

Last Saturday's game at BBVA Compass Stadium wasn't pretty by any means, with turnovers, penalties, misfiring offenses and a disappointing lack of fans, but it was a nevertheless a win. As a result, the Cougars are now 5-0.

The Good: The Cougar defense has been the story of the season, and they were the reason the Coogs won on Saturday. They forced four Memphis turnovers (Houston now leads the nation in turnover margin!) and kept the Tiger offense from finding the endzone. And quarterback John O'Korn's skillful improvising during a busted play on a two-point conversion - he flipped the football to running back Kenneth Farrow right as a Memphis defender was bringing him down - made the ESPN Sportscenter top ten.

But that's about it. Unless you count the pre-game at Lucky's Pub. Big thanks to them for opening early and serving those tasty breakfast tacos!

The Bad: Pretty much everything on offense, which managed less than 250 total yards the entire game. I was especially disappointed in the performance of the UH offensive line. They were responsible for numerous drive-killing holding penalties (all in all, the Coogs committed 12 penalties for 86 yards) and could not effectively block for the ground game, which resulted in only 38 yards of rushing offense (although to be fair, Farrow is just coming back from an injury and is not 100% yet).

The Ugly is summarized by this picture:

Not only can our cheerleaders apparently not spell, but yes, the stadium really was that empty.

The announced attendance for this game was 20,103, but that was still a) less than BBVA Compass's capacity of 22,000, and b) not even close to being an accurate reflection of the number of people that actually showed up. I'd be suprised if more than 10,000 people were actually there.

I know that 11 AM kickoffs are historically poor start times for UH football games, I know the BBVA Compass is an unfamiliar locale for most UH fans, I know that Memphis is not an awe-inspiring opponent, and I know that the weather - hot and sticky, with scattered thunderstorms marauding across the region - was less than ideal. 

Regardless, if the University of Houston, with 40 thousand students currently enrolled and somewhere around 200 thousand alumni in the region, can't even fill a 22,000-seat stadium, then the program will forever remain an irrelevant, second-tier have-not in the world of college football.

What it means: At five wins, the Cougars have now matched last season's win total. Wins are going to be harder to come by from here on out, starting with the formidable Brigham Young Cougars at Reliant this Saturday. If UH plays anywhere near as poorly in this game as they did last weekend, they will be utterly obliterated by the Mormons.

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