Tuesday, November 29, 2016

#20 Houston 44, Memphis 48

It's tough for the kids to win - especially on the road - when rumors are swirling about their head coach's imminent departure to another school. Such was the case at Memphis last Friday.

The Good: Down seventeen points at the half, the Cougars mounted a 27-point second half rally and actually led the game with a minute and a half remaining. Greg Ward Jr finished the day with 47 completions on 67 attempts for 487 yards and four touchdowns. He and running back Duke Catalon also combined for 125 rushing yards and a touchdown.

The Bad: The rally simply wasn't good enough, as Memphis scored with 19 seconds remaining to win the game. The same UH defense that shut down Louisville the previous week was utterly embarrassed by the Tigers' offense, surrendering six touchdowns and 555 total yards of offense, while creating no turnovers.

The Ugly: Houston turned the ball over twice and committed 10 penalties for 94 yards. And, as expected, Tom Herman left the Cougars to become the head coach of the Texas Longhorns the following day. I'll have more to say about that later.

What It Means: The loss keeps the Cougars from reaching double-digit wins for the second year in a row, ensures a losing record in the AAC West division, and most likely knocks them out of the top 25. In terms of which bowl game the Cougars go to, however, it probably doesn't change anything.

I'd also like to point out that my preseason prediction of a 9-3 season for the Coogs was spot on. I just didn't expect that one of their wins would be against Oklahoma and one of their losses would be against lowly SMU.

Next up for the Cougars is their bowl game, which will be announced this weekend. Defensive coordinator Todd Orlando will assume interim head coaching duties for this one while the school, yet again, searches for a new head coach.

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