Tuesday, September 13, 2016

#6 Houston 42, Lamar 0

The Cougars actually came close to selling this one out: 39,402 tickets were sold, and while there were clearly a lot of no-shows, a good crowd was filling into TDECU Stadium by the middle of the first quarter. That UH sold that many seats for an 11 am game against an FCS opponent is really remarkable, and shows just how far the program has come.

Alas, with about three minutes to go in the first quarter, the game was suspended due to lightning in the area. And although no thunderstorms reached the stadium itself, menacing clouds and frequent bolts of lightning in the surrounding area forced the game to be postponed for three and a half hours.

By the time the game resumed, most of that crowd had gone home. Even Lamar's band had to leave before play resumed (the contract with their charter bus company probably specified a return time).

The Good: With Kyle Postma filling in for Greg Ward, Jr at quarterback and Kevrin Justice and Mulbah Car filling in for Duke Catalon at running back, The Cougars ground out a workmanlike game plan that managed 511 yards total offense. Postma, Justice and Car all had over 100 yards rushing. The Cougar defense, meanwhile, held Lamar to only four first downs for the entire game and never allowed the Cardinals to cross midfield.

The Bad: The Cougars went for it on fourth-and-goal twice but came away with nothing. Kicker Ty Cummings missed two field goals.

The Annoying: NCAA rules require games to be halted whenever lightning strikes within eight miles of the stadium. A thirty-minute clock then begins, but is reset every time there is another strike within the eight mile buffer. With all the storms marauding around the Houston area last Saturday, it took a long time before things cleared to the point that play could resume. I was very close to leaving myself; had the delay lasted much longer, in fact, the game could have been cancelled completely.

What It Means: This was an expected win over an FCS opponent, and Tom Herman and his staff used it to give the backups some reps while giving Greg Ward Jr time to heal his shoulder and Duke Catalon time to heal his foot before Thursday's game against Cincinnati. The playcalling, likewise, was very generic so as not to give Cinci any new scouting material.

But it's a short week for the Coogs, and Thursday's game really scares me. Cincinnati is coming off a convincing win at Purdue; they are the real deal. The Bearcats are also looking to avenge last year's close loss at TDECU. The Cougars have not won at Nippert Stadium since 1971.

No comments: