It wasn’t pretty for Houston last week, opening up Big 12 play with a 36-13 loss to TCU. But the Cougars had one final non-conference play to “get right” before conference play started up again, and that’s exactly what UH hopes they accomplished on Saturday night with a 38-7 win over Sam Houston.
Here are three thoughts on the game.
Houston’s Offense Shows Up
Following last week’s loss to TCU, Dana Holgorsen called his offense “embarrassing”. On Saturday night, the Cougars scored on four of their six drives in the first half, and it would have been five, if not for a missed field goal.
There were three touchdown drives of 78, 72 and 56 yards for the Cougars, as quarterback Donovan Smith had his most productive game of the season, as he finished 31-40 for 294 yards and one touchdown pass, while rushing for 26 yards.
Then, Houston began the second half with a dominant 15-play, 85-yard drive that also resulted in a touchdown and a 31-7 Cougars lead, while taking nearly nine minutes off the clock. The game was essentially over at that point.
Parker Jenkins Breakout Game
Parker Jenkins got the first start of his career at running back for the Cougars on Saturday night and he justified Holgorsen’s decision. Houston came into the game ranked 12th in the Big 12 with 108 rushing yards per game, and on Saturday night, Jenkins finished his night with 20 carries for 105 yards and three rushing touchdowns.
Jenkins is a former three-star prospect, according to 247Sports, who is a true freshman who chose to stay home in Houston and join the Cougars. He came into the game with 42 career rushing yards (TCU, Rice) before his breakout game on Saturday night.
Now Back to the Grind
While Saturday night felt good for the Cougars on both sides of the ball, it’s time to get back to reality and Big 12 play starting next week.
If Houston wants to get on track in conference play, they have two opportunities coming up at Texas Tech and vs. West Virginia. Things are looking shaky in Lubbock after the Red Raiders fell to 1-3 with a loss to WVU on Saturday, including the loss of their starting quarterback Tyler Shough. And then, while the Mountaineers are 3-1, WVU still looks like a team with several holes in it, although the defense is stout overall.
After that it’s Texas and K-State. So if Dana Holgorsen wants to string together a couple of wins, these next couple of weeks are his best opportunities to do just that.