The Cougars had a chance into the 4th quarter against BYU but the Cougs were more physical and prepared for a fourth-quarter with a lot on the line. All three UH units had breakdowns late which overshadowed some of the good things they did earlier. It’s our first “the good, the bad, and the ugly” since February:
Good: The third-quarter 16-play, 98-yard drive for a TD. That drive had it all and the Cougars were behind the sticks plenty of times and always found a way. But that long-distance drive only happens thanks to the horrific decision by Bryson Smith to down the punt at the one (more on the drive below).
Bad: Special teams would have populated the “good” last week; against BYU, it was not great.
My favorite part is how after he catches, he looks back in surprise to find his heel now over the goal line. When did that end zone get there? Bryson had been standing on the 5-yard line awaiting a short BYU punt from the UH-side of the field.
Smith redeemed himself late in the ensuing drive with a fantastic sideline catch to get the Coogs inside the 10.
Ugly: The onside-kick in the 3rd quarter was a disaster. A preventable disaster. BYU found the hole in the UH return game and caught the Coogs completely unprepared for the onside.
UH typically lines the frontline blockers at the 48-yard line, 13 yards from where the ball is kicked. That alignment is not ideal in a situation where a team has an extra incentive to try an onside, In fact, this was the perfect time to try it: UH had just put BYU’s defense through a grueling 16-play drive and after a quick BYU touchdown, the Cougs had no interest in putting their defense back out there.
BYU saw in film study, and in the first half, that the UH frontline starts drifting backward even before the kicker boots it. Worse, UH only puts one guy to that side of the field – in this case, DJ Small. At no point did Houston ever have a chance to recover. It looked like a perfectly-ran onsides but UH’s negligence in defending against it sure helped.
There’s no one within six yards of Talmage Gunther, who had the easiest recovery you’ll ever see. Against a gassed defense, and with the UH offense full of confidence after that drive, the Coogs would have been in a great position if they fielded that ball.
Good: When dissecting the 98-yard drive, it is almost surreal. From the time Bryson fielded the kick to the time Tune evaded a sack at the 16 and dashed into the end zone, 28 minutes 12 seconds had elapsed in real-time.