The sizzling stats behind UH’s 5-1 start

McCaskill lunges into the end zone / Photo by Mario Puente

After the Tulane game, UH was one of 10 teams across the country that had not lost a fumble. That number is down to 6 now.

# of lost fumbles by UH after 6 games in a season –
2021: 0
2020: 5
2019: 4
2018: 3
2017: 4

Clayton Tune had won just 5 starts going into 2021. He’s now won 5 starts this year.

Comparing UH’s national rankings from 2020 to the halfway numbers in 2021 shows big strides in numerous major statistical categories.

UH Nationally: 2020 vs. 2021

Statistical Category20202021
Scoring defense8013
1st down defense5310
3rd down defense444
Total defense555
Pass yards allowed626
Rush defense6626
Red zone defense9429
Turnover margin12017
Turnovers gained10918
Fumbles lost671
Scoring offense5320
Completion %8022
Kick return defense1249

The NCAA officially keeps 47 team statistics. The Cougars are in the top-20 nationally in 21 different categories.

UH is #1 in the American in 15 categories and #2 in eight others.

UH has scored 40+ points eight times under Dana Holgorsen. The Tulane game was just the second of those that the Cougars did not have a non-offensive touchdown (Navy 2019). It’s the first time UH has scored 40, not had a non-offensive TD, and won.

True freshman Alton McCaskill’s eight rushing touchdowns are the most by a non-QB since Duke Catalon had 8 in 2017. Over the last decade only four guys have rushed for eight or more scores for the Coogs:

14 – Kenneth Farrow (2014)
12 – Kenneth Farrow (2015)
11 – Charles Sims (2012)
8 – Alton McCaskill (2021)
8 – Duke Catalon (2017)

The Cougar defense has given up 97 points through six games. It is the first time a UH defense has given up less than 100 points through six games since 1989. Jim Eddy’s defense gave up 62 through six games that year.

Below are the 10 best performances by the UH defense against FBS teams in the last 15 years:

Fewest Yards Given Up To FBS Opponents (2007-2021)


UH has held opponents to 310 yards or fewer six times in the last 7 games. That’s six of the best 10 showings over the last 172 FBS games.

UH is 5-5 in those games – four of those wins have come this season.

Heading into this season, Dana Holgorsen’s teams had beaten FBS opponents by 18 or more just three times (19 games). After Tulane, UH has 3 FBS wins by 18 or more in 2021 (5 games).

SMU is 10th in the country in scoring at 40.7 ppg. As of now, only five UH opponents are in the top 94 in that category.

UH’s six other FBS opponents are in the bottom 35 in scoring offense. UConn, Navy, Rice, and USF are all scoring less than 21 ppg.

Grambling is 117th in FCS in scoring offense (out of 123 programs). They are 115th or worse in 13 major stats kept by the NCAA including 3rd down conversions (they were 0/14 vs. UH), completion percentage (dead last in FCS), and first downs offense (they had 3 against UH).

Three first downs given up ties the UH school record. The other time UH allowed 3 first downs? November 22, 1947, a 2-0 Southwest Texas win in a driving rainstorm.


Galveston Daily News ran the full AP story from the SWT game

2021 is the first time UH has started 5-1 or better after losing the opener since 1978. That team reeled off eight wins in a row after losing in the first game of the season at Memphis.

Since the 0-11 year, UH has been 5-1 or better eight times including five of the last 10 years.

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