Houston Cougars QB Clayton Tune eyes the field during the Cougars’ 2021 season opener against Texas Tech at NRG Stadium. (Courtesy Houston Athletics)
Houston (0-0) vs. UTSA (0-0)
Game time: 2:30 p.m. CT
TV/radio: CBS Sports Network/950 AM KPRC
What’s at stake: The Houston Cougars and UTSA Roadrunners enter the 2022 season looking to build on the strong campaigns each program had in 2021. Both teams will be entering a new conference next season and are looking to start the new year on the right foot.
When Houston has the ball: Quarterback Clayton Tune will have his top target from 2021 in receiver Nathaniel “Tank” Dell. Look for the duo to make splash plays early and often. UH is excited about the plethora of weapons it has added around the duo, including receivers Joseph Manjack IV, Matthew Golden and Samuel Brown.
When UTSA has the ball: The Roadrunners’ success on offense will start and end with quarterback Frank Harris. After throwing 27 touchdowns in 2021, Harris will have his top three receivers from last season in Zakhari Franklin, Joshua Cephus and De’Corian Clark.
Key Cougars to watch: All eyes will be on Tune as he enters into his fifth year with UH. Coaches and players have said the Carrollton native has been on another level throughout training camp, throwing receivers open and embracing the leadership role. After a 30-touchdown season in 2021, expectations are high for Tune.
Running back Ta’Zhawn Henry will have a bigger role in 2022 following the offseason injury of last year’s starter, Alton McCaskill. Holgorsen said on Monday he wants the Cougars to be a run-first team. The success of Henry’s rushes will play a big role in that.
Cornerbacks Alex Hogan and Art Green are expected to be the new starters in the secondary for UH following the departures of Damarion Williams and Marcus Jones. UTSA could look to test the defensive backs early. How the duo performs will play a big role in how successful UH’s defense is in 2022.
The bottom line: Houston is looking to go into the Big 12 with momentum in 2023. A season opening win in 2022 will go long ways in achieving that.