Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Houston 24, Tulane 31

In what has become a pattern under the Tony Levine regime, the Cougars were upset in front of a large (by UH standards, at least) home crowd by an inferior opponent. This time, it was the Tulane Green Wave (2-6 going into Saturday's game) that came to TDECU Stadium and ruined Houston's homecoming. The Cougars, to their credit, did have a chance to send the game into overtime after a late score and recovered onside kick. But Greg Ward threw an interception - his third of the day - as time expired to seal the embarrassing loss.

The Good: The Cougar defense did manage to extend its streak of creating a turnover to 32 straight games. Safety Adrian McDonald recovered a Tulane fumble in the endzone for a Cougar touchdown late in the first half. On the Green Wave's very next possession, he picked off Tulane QB Tanner Lee to set up a Houston field goal. The Cougars went into the locker room at halftime up 17-14, but that was the only time they led the game.

The Bad: Where shall I begin? The Cougar defense, which had been the team's bright spot, gave up 361 yards and 22 first downs to the Green Wave, who converted 10 out of 16 third downs. Lee gashed the Cougar secondary for 237 yards and three touchdown passes. The Cougar running game that looked so good against South Florida last week looked horrible against Tulane; RBs Kenneth Farrow and Ryan Jackson managed only 40 yards between them. Greg Ward rushed for 59 yards, but most of those were on scrambles after his protection broke down. He completed 31 of 49 passes but looked indecisive at times; in addition to his three interceptions, he was also sacked three times.

The Ugly: Again, where shall I begin? Deontay Greenberry fumbled on the Cougars' very first play from scrimmage, which more or less set the tone of the game. Kyle Bullard missed two field goals. While the Coogs "only" committed six penalties for 51 yards, they were penalties of the type that sustained Tulane drives and killed Houston ones. And the team simply did not look focused or prepared for this game. This was truly a team loss.

What it Means: The Coogs still only need one win to become bowl-eligible, but this loss - their first to Tulane since Dana Dimel was head coach - probably prevents them from winning a share of the conference title. Moreover, it's just another black eye that is going to cost the program credibility and fan support it simply can't afford to lose.

As for me, I've seen enough: Tony Levine isn't going to get the job done here, and needs to be relieved of his duties as head coach. 

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