Cougar Football finally gave fans a reason to relax Saturday night as they thumped the Sam Houston Bearkats, 38-7. After a shaky first drive, the UH defense dominated, holding Sam to 55 yards on 33 snaps before the backups took over. Even then, SHSU needed 12 plays to go 29 yards.
the daily #55 | 9/24/2023 | Archives
Saturday was the game UH has needed for two years. It was a comfortable win where lots of people played. It appears 68 guys played in the game, and according to UH stats, seven players saw their first action of the season: Jamaal Shaw, Cayden Bowie, Justin Benton, Justin Beadles, Ja’Ryan Wallace, Cavan Tuley, and Ui Ale.
Ale, Benton, Shaw, Tuley, and Wallace saw their first-ever college snaps. Ale threw a touchdown on his first play at QB (not on his first throw).
In Friday’s spray chart, we showed that Donovan Smith had only thrown 12 passes behind the line of scrimmage; against Sam Houston, he threw 17 behind the LOS. In the first three weeks, 62.5% of his throws were within nine yards of the LOS. Against Sam, it was 34 of 40 (85%).
The two most refreshing parts of the game were Parker Jenkins and Ui Ale. On August 14, the media talked with QB coach Mike Burchett and running backs coach Mike Jinks. That day, the duo previewed Ale and Jenkins.
From that August day, you could tell how much Jinks loved Jenkins and how sure he was that he had a contributor. “Parker’s gonna play,” Jinks declared. “I can tell you guys that right now. Parker’s gonna play.
“The thing that jumped out to me was his aptitude. His ability to process and pick up what we’re doing, with blocking schemes and things of that nature.”
Freshmen are sometimes slow to catch up with the game’s speed when they don’t have the ball. They miss blocks or run the wrong route out of the backfield. What impressed me about Jenkins was his protection and how dogged he was in keeping Smith clean. He also averaged 3.8 yards after contact – finishing with 76 YCO, according to PFF. Only one UH running back (Ta’Zhawn Henry vs. Rice, 2022) has had 75 or more YCO since the 2019 season.
Burchett said in August that Ale threw the ball accurately and had a good feel for the game.
Ale only threw two passes against Sam: the trick play and the slant Stacy Sneed caught and went 58 yards for a touchdown. It’s hard to get much out of that, but for the first time in a while, there is some optimism down the depth chart at QB. In the postgame press conference, Dana said they decided early in the week that Ale would get all the second-team reps.