Cougars Emphatically Reject The Tanking Narrative


Jack Freeman coming out of the tunnel
Jack Freeman coming out of the tunnel / Photo by Mario Puente

If that’s what tanking looks like, I’ll take 8 more just like it.

After being told all week that the school was tanking the season, the UH players responded with their most impassioned effort of the year. UH came out last night and played with an energy we have not seen since the USF game last year. Players were more focused, the defense played as well as it has all season, and the guys seemed more willing to do the little things needed to win.

The key stat for me is that UNT was 8/22 on 3rd down (36%). The Mean Green was 5/5 in the 3rd quarter – meaning that for the rest of the game, they were just 3/17 (17.6%) on 3rd down. That’s crazy good.

Yes, they were 4/7 on 4th down but UH won’t face another team this year that goes for it that much. In all, you have to be very happy with the way the defense played. GoCoogs will cover that quite a bit more in the next few days.

But let’s key on the offensive energy. Last night, five guys started on O that didn’t start in the Tulane game (six, technically, but I’m not including Patrick Carr). Three of them haven’t started a game this season (Clayton Tune, center Jack Freeman, and WR Courtney Lark) but they all three stepped up in critical spots.

In his first action of the season, Tune didn’t try to do too much. He made good decisions all night and managed the game. There will come a time when he needs to throw 40+ times but last night wasn’t it. The QB came out and hit all 7 of his throws in the first quarter (89 yards). He also ran for 42 yards in that quarter.

Tune’s competence forced the defense to respect him and gave Carr the opportunity he needed. Carr ran hard all night but he set the tone early with his 68-yard TD run in the first drive.

The OL was blocking to the left but Carr saw the hole to the right, cut back, and turned on the jets. He ran through a half-hearted attempt by the defensive end and flew by the cornerback (#11). If you check Mario Puente’s photo gallery, you’ll see several runs where Carr leaves #11 on the ground having whiffed on the tackle.

After Carr eluded the corner’s “attempt” he was slowed half a step. That allowed the weakside safety (#4) to catch up to him. But the safety was obviously tired so Carr agreed to carry him the rest of the way.

In one run, Carr jolted the fanbase alive and showed the country that no one was tanking on the season.
Overall, the first quarter in the UNT game was the best quarter the Cougars have played all year. There were no distractions and guys like Tune, Lark, and Freeman stepped into the starting lineup and delivered.

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