Singleton, Tune & the defense shine at Tulane

D’Anthony Jones strip sack on Michael Pratt / Photo by Derick E. Hingle for UH Athletics


 
Clayton Tune’s most complete quarter in his 23 UH starts was Thursday’s opening period. He was in command of the offense, making the right reads and throws, and has grown each of the last three weeks. Clayton took a lot of criticism for the way he played against Tech but he’s turned it up against Rice, Navy, Tulsa, and Tulane.

This is my favorite Tune throw from Thursday and one of the best pieces of quarterbacking, decision making, throwing, and harmony with a receiver you’ll ever see. This was Keenum-esque:

Clayton scans to the left, pumps once to get the defenders on that side to commit, then scrambles to the right, identifies Singleton, and throws it to the pylon as soon as Jeremy breaks free of the hand-fighting with the corner. It’s the best example to date of a play where Clayton is patient, makes a smart decision not throwing into coverage, and scrambles while scanning the field to find the right guy for the score. That’s quarterbacking.

Outside of Grambling, when Tune was hurt early on, the Tulane was the first game Clayton did not attempt to run. Instead, he bought himself time, gave his receivers time to adjust, and made plays downfield.
 

Tune was pressured 19 times but only two of those turned into sacks. Both came in the same drive late in the second quarter. It’s a testament to Tune how often he dropped back (39), was pressured, and only took two sacks.
 

Keenan Murphy played very few snaps after getting the start at LG. Cam’Rom Johnson played 76% of the snaps and I expect after the week off, Cam’Ron either gets the start vs. SMU or is playing over 80% of the snaps.
 

The right side of the UH OL had a rough night. Tank Jenkins struggled to pick up assignments and needs to work on identifying his man. He’s got the body you want for a right guard but needs to see when the defensive tackle slides down to create a rush lane, there’s a reason.


 

Tulane left tackle Joey Claybrook (#79) played on 41 dropbacks and gave up three sacks, a QB hurry, and a hit on the QB (but it sure felt like more). Claybrook had not allowed a sack since giving up 3 to OU but the film and the numbers we wrote about before the game showed that’s where UH wanted to attack.

Sure enough:

#79 gets worked so hard here, he ends up giving up the sack and getting pancaked by Latrell Bankston:


 

Almost everyone got in on the tackle for loss parade: Logan Hall, Derek Parish, David Anenih, Gervarrius Owens, D’Anthony Jones, Latrell Bankson, Elijah Gooden, Nelson Ceaser, my cousin, your mom, everyone. It was the most TFL for the Coogs since Tulane 2020 and tied for the most since Louisville in 2016. The eight sacks are the most since Louisville, too.
 

In all, UH pressured QB Michael Pratt 15 times in 41 dropbacks (36.6%).
 

In the last 259 snaps, UH has just one turnover, the ball to the Christian Trahan at the front pylon vs. Navy. Other than that, the Coogs have been clean since early in the Grambling game.
 

Between Tulsa and Tulane, Jeremy Singleton scored three touchdowns in the span of 7 days. That’s the same number he’d scored in the last 26 games going all the way back to Tulane 2018. That day, after Clayton Tune came in to replace an injured D’Eriq King, his first touchdown pass went to Jeremy Singleton.

Jeremy Singleton running to the end zone / Photo by Derick E. Hingle for UH Athletics


 
The Cougars ran 23 times for 64 yards in the first three quarters. As the ESPN announcers kept discussing how Tulane was starting to wear UH down with the run, the opposite happened. The Cougars ran for 83 yards on 13 tries in the 4th quarter while the Olive and Green (really old person reference) had -7 yards on the ground in nine attempts.
 

Clayton had his fewest incomplete passes of the year but even that shows growth. He didn’t try to fit the ball into spaces that did not exist. He threw for 3 touchdowns, the first time he’d done that since USF last year and the fifth time in his career.
 

For the first time since the Memphis game in 2020, Nathaniel Dell was not the most targeted receiver. KeSean Carter had 10 targets and caught six balls for 69 yards. Dell suffered what appeared to be a shoulder injury in the first half but did return to the game later.
 

UH has scored 14+ points in every game since the debut game at TDECU in 2014 (with the one exception being the Las Vegas Bowl in 2016). Beginning with that UTSA game and working back, UH had scored less than 14 in six of their last 26 games.
 

Despite giving up 38 in the opener, UH is 15th in the country in scoring defense. UH has given up 59 points in the last five games combined.

The Cougars are 2nd in the country in sacks (4.17 pg), 3rd in third-down conversion defense, 18th in fumbles recovered (5), 5th in total defense, 11th in passing yards allowed, and 13th in turnovers gained.
 

Through six games, the Cougars have not lost a fumble. 10 teams in the country can say the same but UH is the only one of those to play six games.
 

Dalton Witherspoon is now 4th in UH history with 40 field goals.
 

UH was 8/17 (47.1%) on third down against Tulane after combining to go 10/28 (35.7%) the two weeks prior.

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