There’s no reason to beat around the bush: the UH offense stinks. In reality, it stunk last year, too. Unfortunately, a lot of us fell into the trap of thinking it worked because UH was beating bad teams.
Winning 12 games was a good accomplishment, but it doesn’t mean you have a good offense. It just means you were better than the bad teams you played. UH played a terrible schedule and beat many terrible teams along the way. The eleven FBS teams UH beat combined to go 52-84.
The 2021 team was 3-2 vs. teams that finished the season with a winning record. One of those wins came on a last-second kick-off return and another win in overtime. So where the Coogs are today isn’t much different than where they were last year. The difference is that the first five opponents in 2022 have started out better than last year’s results.
The UH offense has struggled this year, similar to how they played against decent teams in 2021.
Offensive TDs in regulation (2022):
Offensive TDs in regulation (2021) vs. above-.500 opponents:
That’s sixteen touchdowns in five games in 2022 and 16 in five games in 2021.
This offense didn’t put up points against anyone with a pulse last year…except for Tulsa. At the time of the game, Tulsa didn’t have a pulse, either. They had lost to FCS UC-Davis and had given up 37.0 ppg to FBS teams (and were 1-4). After the UH game, they gave up just 22.4 ppg and won six of their last eight.
Since Dana Holgorsen’s arrival, the Cougars have played 22 teams, either 1) in 2022 or 2) that finished with a winning record. In those 22 games, Houston has scored 65 offensive touchdowns (2.95 per game) in regulation. Taking out overtime periods again, but counting all points in regulation (defensive and special teams scores and field goals), UH has scored just 27.0 ppg against those 22 teams. It makes sense that the Cougars are 5-17 in those games.
UH is also struggling to put up yards this season (79th nationally), but I don’t care about yards. No game has ever been decided by yards. I also don’t care about field goals: holding a team to a field goal is a defensive win. I care about touchdowns. An offense’s goal is to score touchdowns.
At no point has this offense “worked” in the games that matter. Of course, you can use any offense to score against crappy 2-10 and 4-8 teams. But, again, just because it works against the worst doesn’t mean it is good.
It doesn’t matter if you have a senior QB who eventually quits (D’Eriq King); it doesn’t matter if you have a freshman thrown into a tough spot (Clayton Tune) or if he’s now a fifth-year senior with 30+ starts. The offensive production has not changed.