The Cougars went into their game against crosstown rival Rice as 17-point favorites. They struggled to pull out a seven-point win.
The Good: Cougar wideout Nathaniel "Tank" Dell had seven receptions for 134 yards and a touchdown, while RB Ta'Zhawn Henry carried 17 times for 112 rushing yards and a score. On defense, D'Anthony Jones had two sacks and two forced fumbles against Rice QB TJ McMahon, the second of which was scooped up and run into the endzone by defensive lineman Nelson Ceaser for a touchdown. Backup safety Thabo Mwaniki intercepted McMahon on Rice's following drive, which should have sealed the win as there were only about two minutes left in the game. However...
The Bad: The Cougars failed to manage a first down (which would have allowed them to run out the clock) on their ensuing possession. They punted the ball back to the Owls, who were able to march down the field and almost score a game-tying touchdown with 24 seconds left on the clock (and no time outs). Sound familiar?
The Ugly: The usual: horrible tackling, an oftentimes-sputtering offense, poor pass defense (Houston allowed McMahon to pass for 334 yards), and penalties (ten flags for for 110 yards). The Cougars are now the most-penalized team in FBS.
Dana Holgorsen is frustrated with his team. If message boards and social media are any indication, Cougar fans are frustrated with Dana Holgorsen.
The Devastating: Houston's best defensive player, Derek Parish, suffered a torn bicep during the game and is out for the rest of the season. Given that linebacker Malik Robinson suffered a season-ending injury the week before, and linebacker Donovan Mutin, defensive back Gervarrius Owens and cornerback Art Green are all dealing with injuries that could keep them out of the next game, things are truly dire on the defensive side of the ball.
What It Means: The Cougars retain possession of the Bayou Bucket, and end their out-of-conference slate with a 2-2 record. However, UH could very easily be 0-4 right now. This is not a good team, and injuries have made it worse.
The Coogs open conference play against Tulane at TDECU Stadium on Friday.