Monday, November 05, 2018

#17 Houston 31, SMU 45

I'm not going to spend a lot of time writing about this pathetic performance. It seems that the Cougars are due for at least one of these head-scratching let-down games against inferior opponents (colloquially known among the UH faithful as "Coog Its") at least once every season, and it's nothing short of maddening.

The Good: Cougar defensive back Gleson Sprewell returned a fumble for a touchdown in the second quarter to cut SMU's lead to 3. That should have been the spark that got the Coogs back into the game. Alas, it wasn't.

The Bad: Everything else. The Cougars started out slow and quickly fell into a 17-point hole. Unlike their previous slow starts (i.e. against Rice, Tulsa, and Navy), they simply weren't able to rally back to win. The defense made SMU quarterback Ben Hicks look like a Heisman contender, allowing him to complete 28 of 43 pass attempts for 318 yards and 4 touchdowns. They also allowed the Mustangs to pound out another 196 yards on the ground; it didn't help that Ed Oliver was still out with a knee injury. The offense, meanwhile, was completely befuddled by something called a Tampa 2 defense; the Coogs stubbornly tried to run the ball - D'Eriq King only completed 11 of 22 pass attempts for 175 yards - to little avail; the Cougars were held to their lowest offensive point total of the season.

The Ugly: Everything about this game was ugly, and everybody, from Coach Applewhite to the rest of his staff on down to the players, should be embarrassed and ashamed of themselves.

What It Means: the Cougars can kiss their top-25 ranking, and any pretense of contending for a New Years Six Bowl, goodbye. They still lead the American West, but are no longer in control of their own destiny.

Houston hosts the Temple Owls at TDECU on Saturday evening.

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