Basketball season has tipped off, but we’re still in the middle of a football season that was supposed to end in an NY6 Bowl. The talking heads have stopped saying it and now don’t even mention UH, especially the 77-63 record-setting loss to SMU that had been brewing all season long. The only surprise was the final score. I didn’t think SMU could be consistent enough to score 77, and I didn’t think there was any way UH could score 63 points.
Tanner Mordecai missed the previous week with a concussion and bounced back to throw for 379 yards against UH’s defense. Mordecai is really good and a big passing day had to be expected. He threw for 305 yards last year against a highly-ranked UH defense. He had thrown for 295+ yards in 5 of his previous seven games, and you knew he would put up yards against this UH defense.
Giving up a lot of yards has been as much of a calling card this year as Sack Ave. was last year. The QBs at UTSA, Texas Tech, and Rice put up 337, 350, and 334 yards to start the season. Memphis put up 438 yards, and USF put up 425 yards. This defense gives up a ton of yards, which made Saturday night on the Hilltop pretty easy to accept. They’re now 108th nationally in yards given up.
You couldn’t foresee SMU getting 9 TDs out of it without throwing an interception. Nor could you believe they’d add 263 yards on the ground and two more scores. But, SMU didn’t make mistakes, and their receivers made some tough catches. They made big plays in the running game and never turned it over.
SMU scored touchdowns on nine-straight possessions to start the game and scored on 11 out of 12 drives. That is virtually impossible to do. At the time, it seemed surprising that Kansas scored TDs on six straight possessions, then added field goals at the end of their next two drives. The UH defense we all praised a year ago has had this type of performance in them from the start. All it took was playing against another top-flight QB to expose them again.
The real surprise was the UH offense. It’s not a surprise that Tune would light up a poor defense; the surprise was that he would be allowed to do it. Dana and Co. took the shackles off Tune and let him rip and run. Here’s Tune’s spray chart from Saturday:
They finally put the ball in the fifth-year QB’s hands and let him take over, and he shined. He threw for 527 yards and seven scores and added another 111 yards on the ground with a TD. The difference between Tune and Mordecai last night is that Tune made two mistakes, and Mordecai made zero. That doesn’t diminish anything Tune did because he would have won every game except for that one if he had been allowed to spread it around.
"We've won a lot of games around here with controlling the ball, controlling the clock, keeping our defense fresh, keeping them off the field, not putting them in bad situations.
"I'm not gonna stop doing that just for the sake of people wanting to see an up-tempo offense." pic.twitter.com/HpgIik4OJX
— GoCoogs.com (@gocoogs1) October 17, 2022
This was the offense we all had hoped to see from day one. It was never about being up tempo; fans want to put the ball in the hands of your best players and put them in the best position to succeed.
Tune and Dell are the best players on this team and the 2022 season looks wildly different if Tune is let loose from the first snap in San Antonio. I hope the defense’s poor performance isn’t used as an excuse to go back to more “ball control” because, with the shackles back on Tune, the SMU game would have been over in the 1st quarter.