Last 1/4 of the season is vital for UH FB + Cougar Hoops

UH hosts Homecoming tonight after nine games of an ugh; WTF, Rice? FR?; terrible; disjointed; a freshman walk-on?; an OMG walk-off; friggin refs; the game didn’t make sense to them; and Horns Down FTW kinda season.

Houston has played four games decided by three points or less (3-1 in those games). And of the 12 wins in the last two years, five have come by three points or fewer (and three more by 4-7 points). Houston is 8-5 in one-score games the last two years.

But first, hoops!

the daily #103 | 11/11/2023 | Archives

5 In 9. Today’s game against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi starts a challenging stretch of five games in nine days for the Coogs. The depth displayed in the ULM game will be a factor in these two home games and the tournament in Charleston.

In Big 12 play, UH will play Saturday/Monday turnarounds twice, making these two games against TAMU-CC and Stetson a good practice run. The Islanders are a 31.5-point underdog to the Cougars today. Here’s what I’m watching for:

  • L.J. Cryer’s scoring (I think he’ll have 20+) after being challenged this week in practice;
  • Emanuel Sharp’s rebounding;
  • Defensive intensity – does it match opening night? Or is consideration given to the upcoming schedule?
  • Success in half-court offense; and
  • JoJo Tugler’s improvement from game one.

Tugler is a freshman, and improvement as a freshman isn’t linear, but his teammates have repeatedly said he’s among the hardest workers in the bunch. And his coaches rave about him.

Quarter System. I’ve always broken seasons down by quarters, and this season worked out perfectly for that approach. UTSA/Rice/TCU as the first, then SHSU/Tech/WVU as the second, and UT/KState/Baylor as the third.

The last quarter of the season – Cincinnati, Oklahoma State, and UCF – is by far the most important. We knew when the schedule came out that this would be vital. But sitting at four wins, it’s even more critical for this team. UH has to go 2-1 in this quarter of the schedule.

UH has almost wholly avoided season-ending injuries to this point, and they go into this pivotal stretch as close to full strength as you could expect.

Before the season, I thought UH would go 4-8. But when I gamed it out with the GoCoogs Matrix, I had the Coogs at 6-6 (4-5 in the Big 12, 2-1 OOC). In the matrix, I thought UH would 1-2 in the first three games, 3-0 in the second quarter, and 0-3 in the third quarter. So I had the record right, but I’ve missed on two of UH’s wins and two losses.

Here’s how some significant numbers game out by quarter of the season:

Games 1-3Games 4-6Games 7-9
HOU Rush Yards325480257
OPP Rush Yards527446470
HOU Pass Yards718940709
OPP Pass Yards924678697
HOU Total Yards10431420966
OPP Total Yards145111241167
HOU 3rd Down18/4719/3710/37
OPP 3rd Down18/4222/4319/39
HOU 4th Down2/101/32/7
OPP 4th Down5/62/24/8
HOU Red Zone TDs8/149/111/5
OPP Red Zone TDs9/137/810/14

The Cougars have been outrushed in five straight games despite Dana’s insistence that they are committed to the run. It’s no surprise that UH is 105 in rushing. But Cincinnati is #5 running the ball, and UH is #88 in rush defense, so it will likely be six straight games of being outrushed.

Do you know who is even worse in rush defense? Oklahoma State (95) and UCF (127). You have some chances to get it going on the ground to close out the year (of course, Baylor was 118th, and UH ran for just 4.1 ypc against the Bears).

UH is among the worst in the country at 3rd down defense, 4th down defense, and 4th down conversions.

Cougar After Thoughts Show! Let’s Play Two

Join Starns and Ryan after the football game and press conference as we break it all down and talk about them Cougars.


Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, is proud to be a corporate sponsor as the Official Personal Injury Law Firm for the University of Houston Athletics.

“As a University of Houston alum, I am honored that the University of Houston Athletics chose our firm to be their official and exclusive personal injury law firm,” says Stewart J. Guss, the firm’s founder.