USF comes to TDECU undefeated on the season. This is the first true test for the Coogs since the Texas Tech game. Discuss your 2-3 most important keys to the game:
Brad Towns, Played baseball at UH in the 1990s –
I have only have 2 keys for this game. My first is come out gunning and build a big lead early and everything will flow from that. That’s what you do to over-hyped teams (see Louisville 2016).
South Florida is considered a pretty good team based on their record alone. But I’ve watched them a few times this year and they look like a paper tiger to me.
Sure, UH’s schedule has been weak so far but USF’s is right there with us. Maybe worse. The biggest difference in the way the two schedules have played out is that we have let bad teams stick around for 2-3 quarters while USF has let them stick around the whole game.
They have an 8-point win vs UConn, a one-point win over Tulsa, and a 7-point win vs ECU in their only 3 AAC games. Those three teams have combined for just 2 FBS wins this year – and ECU has both of them.
It’s true that USF has a solid offense and will probably move the ball on us. Key stat: Their running game ranks #15 at 237 yards per game and is their strength. But that’s why we have to get the offense cranking from the first snap.
We need to force them to play from behind and out of their comfort zone. They are built to grind, not strike fast. And their defense has been mediocre to bad. If the UH offense starts humming, they’ll never keep up.
Ryan Monceaux, Ate Frenchys at UH in the 1990s –
USF and UH are similar in many ways this year. Probably the most glaring is how both have needed second-half comebacks quite a bit this season.
So my one key is to see four quarters from the Coogs. We haven’t seen a complete, dominant win against a decent team in almost two years. We certainly haven’t seen it this season.
The Coogs have trailed at the half in 3 of 6 FBS games (Rice, Tech, Navy) and after 3 quarters vs. Tulsa. And both Texas Tech and Arizona outscored us in the 2nd half. Just as Towns said, USF and UH are similar in that both teams have looked mediocre for extended stretches but have still found ways to win games.
For the Coogs to take the next step, they’ve got to put it all together. It’s time to show us 4 quarters of an intense, no let-up beatdown. The best way to do that is score fast, create an early turnover, and continue executing. Grab the momentum and get the crowd into the game.
I think USF needs to be exposed. Are we prepared to drop the hammer?
Back to Towns –
My secondary key is for the Coogs to win 1st down on defense. Put USF into 2nd & 3rd and long and force their QB to make plays. That’s how the Coogs beat Navy a week ago. As Ryan pointed out earlier this week, the game changed when we started containing Navy on 1st down.
By the time Navy went up 24-14 in the 2nd quarter, we had held them to 3 yards or less on first down just twice. But in Navy’s next 6 possessions we held them to 3 yards or less on 8 out of 10 first down attempts. We forced 4 straight punts, a turnover on downs, and a pick six – all of which helped turn a 10-point deficit into a 25-point lead.
Our defense needs to get back to being the 3rd Ward Defense and bring the heat early and often. We need to be aggressive and dictate terms while playing with a sense of urgency. If they beat us long, so be it. That just gets the ball back in our hands to score again.
I would rather give up a quick score than a long 10+ play drive that leads to points. The flip side of that is that we will make plays with tackles for loss or forcing turnovers.
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