Dating back to 2014, the Houston Cougars had won 16 straight games at home. That all changed Saturday afternoon when the Texas Tech Red Raiders came to town and soundly beat the Cougars 27-24.
Quarterback Nic Shimonek shined on Saturday as he threw for 321 yards, averaging 11.1 yards a completion and helping lead the offense for 521 total yards on Saturday, which is shorter than their nation-leading 620 yards per game, but that didn’t matter.
In surprising fashion, the real hero for the Red Raiders wasn’t their offense but instead their defense that came up big. Texas Tech only allowed Houston to convert six out of eighteen third down conversions. The Cougars had trouble all day attempting to establish a run game as the Red Raider’s defense was stout, not allowing any movement in the trenches.
Forcing Houston to throw the ball, Texas Tech took advantage by causing five turnovers. Surely something to be proud of if you’re Kliff Kingsbury. Then again, a defense that causes five turnovers usually translates into a game where the score is a blowout.
Not the case today.
In a game that was expected to be a shootout, it wasn’t the case early on. Houston’s defense held strong early, forcing Texas Tech to kick two field goals. Texas Tech would go on to score early in the second quarter making it 13-0, but Houston was persistent. Kicking a field goal the ensuing drive, the Cougars would force a punt and an interception in back to back drives for Texas Tech.
Following the pick, wide receiver D’Eriq King would score on a screen pass from 18 yards out. King, who had sat out the first two games while recovering from a knee injury, would see his first playing time of the season Saturday and played well, catching five passes for 50 yards.
“[D’Eriq] is a very tough player. He makes solid decisions and because of that, we’re going to keep giving him the ball,” said head coach Major Applewhite.
Albeit noble efforts from the pass-grabbers for Houston, the quarterback play was beyond subpar. Starter Kyle Allen was sacked twice along with two interceptions and lost fumble. Allen was subbed out late in the fourth quarter for backup quarterback Kyle Postma.
Postma, a senior, scored on a ten play, 73-yard drive with four and a half minutes left in the game to make it cut the deficit to ten points. He would then throw for a touchdown with fifteen seconds left to hot target Linell Bonner for the four-yard score.
This would put Houston within a field goal to tie it. However, a failed onside attempt ended whatever hopes Houston had of coming back Saturday as Texas Tech would go on to finish off the win.
“There was also some really good things that [Allen] did and obviously the turnovers is what’s glaring right now, but we have to be very critical of ourselves as coaches first,” said Applewhite when asked quarterback Kyle Allen.
It’s still unknown at this time whether a change will come at quarterback for the Cougars next week as they take on Temple.
Texas Tech, now 3-0, will more than likely be in the next AP Top 25 poll after beating Houston on the road. They will take on number nine ranked Oklahoma State next week at home in what should be an offensive shootout.
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