Houston Cougars head coach Dana Holgorsen eyes the field during a game against UTSA on Sept. 3 in the Alamodome. (Courtesy Houston Athletics)
The Houston Cougars survived UTSA in week one to open the season with a victory.
Despite the win, head coach Dana Holgorsen knows there is a lot the Cougars (1-0) need to polish up, particularly offensive line play, heading into their week two outing against Texas Tech (1-0).
“We are going to be ready to go,” Holgorsen said on Monday. “We realize that we are a fortunate team. That we are fortunate to be sitting here at 1-0. That was a hard-fought game.”
Houston managed to overcome a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Holgorsen said a lot of UH’s early hole was a result of inconsistency from various positions.
One group the head coach spoke about specifically was the offensive line, which was shaky through the first three quarters and allowed four sacks and nine tackle for losses for the entire game.
While Holgorsen acknowledged the group needs to play better in week two and beyond, he also said not all of the blame can go on the men up front.
“(For) three quarters (the offensive line) didn’t block very well,” Holgorsen said. “Just inconsistent. I’m critical not just of the offensive line, but our blocking on the perimeter wasn’t very good either. Our backs need to do a better job in pass protection.”
Despite the shaky start, Holgorsen said he was proud of the way the offensive line was able to clean things up in the fourth quarter and in the overtime periods during the team’s rally.
Holgorsen said the offensive line’s performance during UH’s rally showed the guys are capable of blocking better and playing better together. The key will be to do it consistently, he said.
“We know we got to get better and there’s a lot of things that we have to do to improve and we are excited about doing that this week,” Holgorsen said. “Big challenge in Lubbock, get used to it, these games are going to happen a lot.”
Around the American
Houston quarterback Clayton Tune was named the American Athletic Conference offensive player of the week. He accumulated 206 passing yards and three passing touchdowns. Tune rushed for an additional 51 yards and a touchdown as well. Tune also had the go-ahead two-point conversion that sealed the win for UH.
UH kicker Bubba Baxa was also named AAC special teams player of the week, which was highlighted by two go-ahead field goals towards the end of the fourth quarter and at the end of the first overtime to give the Cougars advantages.
Across the other AAC schools, UCF defeated South Carolina State 56-10; Temple was shut out by Duke 30-0; East Carolina narrowly fell short of upsetting No. 13 North Carolina State, losing 21-20 after a missed extra point; Navy lost to Delaware 14-7; Tulsa lost to Wyoming 40-37; No. 23 Cincinnati lost to No. 19 Arkansas 31-24; No. 25 BYU defeated South Florida 50-21; Tulane defeated Massachusetts 42-10; SMU beat North Texas 48-10; and Memphis was defeated in a rout to Mississippi State 49-23.