5 observations from Houston’s loss to Texas Tech

Houston Cougars defensive lineman Derek Parish against Texas Tech during week two of the 2022 season. (Courtesy Houston Athletics).

5 observations from Houston’s loss to Texas Tech

The Houston Cougars, for the second week in a row, rallied from being down 14 points and forced overtime, but this time was unable to win over Texas Tech. Here are five thoughts on the 33-30 loss:

Resilient: but not enough

Houston tried to overcome a plethora of mistakes against Texas Tech. From penalties to missed tackles and another slow start, No. 25 UH found itself needing to claw back and had strong moments but was unable to close the deal.

Kicker Bubba Baxa delivered the go-ahead kick with 37 seconds left in the fourth quarter which gave UH the 20-17 lead. Quarterback Clayton Tune finished with 266 passing yards, a passing touchdown and an interception. Receiver Nathaniel “Tank” Dell led Houston with seven catches for 120 yards.

While the UH defense was able to come away with several key takeaways that pushed the team to have the late lead, the group struggled to close the deal with missed tackles and for the second straight week allowed the opposing team to drive down the field at the end of regulation to force overtime.

Once in the extra period, UH allowed a long fourth down conversion that would have ended the game, and the go-ahead rush touchdown to Texas Tech quarterback Donovan Smith.

Defense keeps Texas Tech at bay but struggles to close

Heading into the game, UH defensive lineman Derek Parish, who played with a cast on his right hand after injuring his ring finger the Thursday before the UTSA game, said he wanted to get more sacks against Texas Tech.

Parish set the tone early, recording two sacks and three tackles for losses in just the first quarter. He finished with four sacks. As a team, UH had five sacks, 13 tackles for losses and three interceptions. Unfortunately, the defense could not stop Texas Tech at the end of regulation, or on 4th and 20 in the first overtime that allowed the game to continue. The inability to close ultimately cost UH.

The play of the game came from senior defensive back Jayce Rogers, who intercepted Texas Tech quarterback Donovan Smith in the fourth quarter and returned it to the house to tie the game at 17. Another interception by Gervarrius Owens late in the fourth quarter put UH in a position to take the lead.

First-quarter penalties cost UH points, made things difficult

The Cougars opened the game by stubbing their toes on every board and bump possible. For the second straight week, UH had a Dell punt return touchdown called back because of a penalty. This time a roughing the kicker foul.

Houston also gifted Texas Tech multiple first downs on its second drive. The roughing the kicker penalty extended the Red Raiders’ drive. After the UH defense forced another fourth down, Texas Tech was bailed out by an unnecessary roughness penalty on cornerback Alex Hogan for shoving a receiver after the play had ended.

At the end of the first quarter, the Cougars had accumulated six penalties that cost them 71 yards. UH finished with 11 penalties that cost them 121 yards.

Dreadful first-half by Houston

Houston was in a 14-7 hole against UTSA in week one, and followed it up with another bad first-half performance against Texas Tech. Penalties cost Houston in the first quarter, wiping off a punt return touchdown from Dell, but the defense was able to hold Texas Tech to only a field goal.

Then in the second quarter, UH continued to struggle on offense and the defense began to misfire. The Cougars gave up two explosive touchdowns, a 43-yard run and catch by Nehemiah Martinez and a 54-yard score by receiver Myles Price. On both scores, UH defenders missed tackles left and right that allowed the Red Raiders’ players to go to the house.

Houston’s seven first-half drives were highlighted by a field goal. Three of the Cougars’ drives ended in punts, one ended in a fumble loss, one a turnover on downs and the final drive ended when time expired on the half.

Brandon Campbell shines against Red Raiders

The former Southern California running back was the best rusher for Houston against Texas Tech. Running back Brandon Campbell scored his first collegiate rushing touchdown against the Red Raiders. He finished with 80 yards on 16 carries.

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