The good, the bad, and the ugly from the Rice game. Trends, data, notes, and more:
Rice was the 5th time the Cougars have scored 40+ under Dana Holgorsen (4-1 record).
The last time UH gave up less than 13 points in a game? It was on 9/16/17 against Rice (38-3 win).
Rice has scored 7, 27, 3, 26, 14 in the last five games in the series (77 total points/15.4ppg). In the previous five games, they scored 169 (33.8ppg).
Rice has scored 37 points in the last three games (2017, 2018, 2021). You have to go back to the Run and Shoot days to find a stretch when Rice scored less than the 37 in three consecutive games. From 1988 to 1990, Rice managed just 36 total points on the Coogs.
It was the 17th time in series history that Rice has scored 14 or fewer points.
Clayton Tune fumbled the ball twice in the game but UH never lost possession. It’s the first time for UH without a turnover since the BYU game last season (8 games). Tune fumbled in that game, too, but did not turn it over.
UH has put the ball on the ground or thrown an INT in every single game under Dana Holgorsen.
UH is 104th in the country in rushing yardage and 106th in yards per carry. The Cougars are 107th in total offense at 322 ypg and 115th in yards per play.
Clayton Tune is 13th in completion percentage and T-12 in total completions.
UH went 8/13 on 3rd down Saturday night. It’s the first time under Dana Holgorsen that the team has been above 50% on 3rd down. UH has hit 50% on 3rd twice under Dana (Wazzu 2019 – 6/12; BYU 2020 – 8/16). The eight conversions tied the BYU game for most in Holgorsen’s tenure.
It was the best third-down game for UH since going 13/18 against USF in 2018.
For Clayton Tune, it was a very good night on 3rd down. With the ball in his hands, UH went 7/10 on 3rd down including all five in the second half.
Tune ran for 61 yards on 3 third-down attempts, picking up all 3 first downs easily (he also took a sack). Tune completed 4/6 passes on 3rd down for 68 yards.
Clayton made a statement on the first drive after the half, going 7/8 for 66 yards on a 17-play drive that took more than half the quarter.
Tune did fumble and take two sacks in the drive but he made big throws on 3rd and 19 and 3rd and 17 to pick his team back up.
In stark contrast to a week earlier, UH dominated the 3rd quarter against Rice. The Cougars ran 27 plays for 164 yards, went 5/5 on 3rd, and scored two touchdowns. Rice ran 5 plays for -3 yards in the quarter.
UH possessed the ball for over 12 minutes in the 3rd. It’s the fourth time UH has held the ball for 12+ minutes in a quarter under Dana. The Cougars had it for 12:45 in the first quarter a week ago, outscoring Tech 14-0, too. The Cougars held the ball 12+ minutes in a quarter against SMU (12:05) and UCF (12:47) in 2019 but were outscored in those two quarters (14-13 and 7-6).
Until Saturday, the Cougars were 0-3 in games with 12+ minutes of TOP in a quarter.
Laine Wilkens had another hellacious day punting the football. His kicks went 51, 48, and 47 yards, the last one down to the 4-yard line. He’s 8th in the country at 49.3 ypp. His last seven punts have gone 47 yards or further.
Speaking of kickers – Dalton Witherspoon went 5/5 on PATs Saturday. That brings him to 140/140 in his career. The NCAA record for PATs without a miss in a career is, as far as I can tell, is 166/166 by Alex Trlica (Texas Tech, 2003-2006). Dana Holgorsen was on that staff all four years Trlica kicked.
Witherspoon passed Ben Bell for 3rd all-time in total PATs made at UH. He trails GoCoogs.com contributor Matt Hogan (228) as well as Roman Anderson (213). Witherspoon also jumped Bell to move into 3rd in points scored kicking. He is now at 248 points, trailing Roman (423) and Hogan (405).
Witherspoon slid past Bell, Ken Hebert, and Greg Ward Jr into 5th in all-time points scored as a Cougar.
Tune was sacked 3 times by Rice and has been sacked 3 or more times in 11 of his 19 starts at UH. He has taken 11 sacks in his last three games.
Lagniappe: Texas has been ranked in every preseason AP Poll for the last 5 years. And in four of the 5, UT has lost within the first two weeks of the season.
The Longhorns have lost in the first 3 weeks of the season for nine straight years.
Nathaniel Dell has been targeted 20 times in two games (14 catches). He’s tied for 16th in FBS in receptions per game.
Jeremy Singleton and KeSean Carter have started both games to this point but they’ve been largely absent in terms of production. They’ve combined for just 5 catches with only 14 yards after the catch. Saturday, they totaled four catches and just two yards after catch.
UH needs more production from the actual receiving corps.
UH is now 5-0 under Dana when scoring 3+ rushing TDs. Going back to 2006, UH is 65-1 when scoring three TDs or more on the ground.
The one loss was, obviously, under Major Applewhite. It’s the Memphis game in 2017 when UH led 17-0 at the half and 31-14 with under a minute to play in the 3rd quarter.
Even Tony Levine was 10-0 when his team ran for 3 scores. Including two years as OC, Dana’s offenses are 13-0 when they score at least 3 times on the ground.
The Rice game was the 127th time a UH team has held an opponent to 28 or fewer points in a game since 2003.
Why is that number important? Because UH has proven that you don’t have to shut a team down to win games. Since Art Briles came to campus, UH is 115-12 when holding the opponent to 28 or less (88.2%).
Dana Holgorsen is 7-1 in this category (Hawaii 2020 is the loss). The worst? Tony Levine went 18-5 (which is still 78.3%).
Just gotta hold them to one touchdown a quarter.