Beyond the box score: Massacre in Manhattan

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MANHATTAN, KS – It’s hard to quantify how bad Saturday was, but it’s still not as bad as losing to Rice. One team won the Big 12 last season and is 6-2 this year and tied for first in the Big 12. One is T-6th in the American and finished T-7th in C-USA last year. One is a legitimate national program with a great coach and one is little brother down the street with no resources.

That said, Saturday was terrible. There was no fight in that team and no discipline. From giving up a 12-play drive to start the game to taking a delay before your first offensive snap, it was disorganized and pitiful.

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There’s no excuse for 41-0. It was an embarrassing effort, with discipline problems when the going gets tough and never getting into the red zone. UH crossed into Kansas State territory five times and was inside the 30 just once. And that’s only because KState gave them the ball at the 26.

Otherwise, the closest UH got to the end zone was the 44-yard line. They did that twice.

41-0 says a lot, but look at Kansas State over the last ten quarters: they’ve allowed 10 points total. Over the last ten quarters, UH has allowed 101 points. This means UH allows more per quarter in that stretch than Kansas State has allowed in total.

Thanks to UCF, the Coogs are not last in conference-game-only scoring defense. UH has given up 196 points in 5 games (39.2 ppg), while UCF has given up 203 (40.6). The Cougars are tied for second-to-last in points scored in conference (106 or 21.2 ppg) with Baylor. UH has an 18-ppg scoring deficit in Big 12 games, which is the worst in the conference.

UH is dead last in scoring defense in the conference for the full season. UH has given up 20 more points over the full season (260 or 32.5 ppg) than Baylor (240 or 30.0 ppg), so this Saturday’s Internet-only game should be, uhhh, fascinating.

Kansas State was 7/7 on third downs in the first half. They gained 88 yards on those seven plays. UH ran 25 plays in the first half and gained five yards less (83) than KState did just on third down.

The 208 yards of offense is the lowest output of the Dana Holgorsen era. There was no anger in Dana Holgorsen’s voice after the game; he was resigned to the loss. He also misstated the last time UH was shut out: he said 2014 when, in fact, it was 2000. Dana’s last time to be shut out was a 2013 game against Maryland (34-0) when he was at WVU.

Twice this season, UH has been held to zero offensive touchdowns (TCU, Kansas State). Houston scored two offensive touchdowns against UTSA – drives of 22 and 35 yards. A few weeks ago, Brad Towns wrote about dead quarters – quarters “where the offense scores 6 points or fewer.” At that point, dead quarters made up half of the season (10 of 20 quarters).

Since he wrote that story, UH has played three more games. After one vs. WVU, two against Texas, and four against Kansas State, 17 of 32 quarters played this season (53.1%) are “dead.”

What about dead halves? Towns did not assign a value to dead halves, but let’s say ten or fewer offensive points. That’s pretty conservative, right? Using that number, UH has nine dead halves out of the 16 they’ve played.

If the number rises to 14 points or fewer in a half, UH has had dead halves in 12 out of 16 this season. Only four times (Rice second half, SHSU first half, Tech first half, WVU second half) have the Cougars scored more than 14 offensive points in a half.

In FBS football, 28.0 points a game (so, 7 points a quarter or 14 points a half) is 66th this season in scoring, just below the median for 130 teams. Last season, 28.0 ppg was 67th nationally. Scoring more than fourteen points in a half is a completely reasonable expectation.

UH is now 81st nationally in scoring at 25.2 ppg; without the OT periods vs. Rice, they’d be at 93rd. 93rd in scoring at the University of Houston.

UH leads the country in overtime scoring over the last two seasons combined. Overtime points since the start of 2022:

Houston – 39
Texas Tech – 36
FIU – 30
Colorado – 29
Kansas – 28

UH is 111th in third-quarter scoring in 2023. Does that mean halftime adjustments are lacking? Or is the message not getting through? Sam Houston State is the only team on the 2023 schedule with less scoring in that period.

UH is 129th in points given up in the first quarter (10.9 ppg). Kansas State only scored 7 in the first, one of the few spots UH got better in this week.

Where is this team 100th or worse in the country?

CategoryOut of 130
3rd down defense120
4th down defense126
4th down offense126
1st down defense105
Kick return defense109
Pass yards allowed111
Red zone defense107
Red zone offense111
Rushing offense107
Scoring defense108
Pass efficiency defense114
Team TFLs103
Total defense107


Only 23 kickoffs have been returned for touchdowns across FBS this season, and Matthew Golden has two. Golden has only attempted nine returns – a pretty good average. Oddly, Eastern Michigan has three kick return touchdowns – all from different guys.

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.