During a season in which UH is counting down the greatest moments in Robertson Stadium history, Saturday’s 30-13 loss to Texas State arguably takes the top spot of the worst.
“The 2012 football team as a whole has a lot of work to do,” head coach Tony Levine said. “I just got done telling the kids and everybody in the locker room that we are better than what we showed.”
After heading into the game a 36.5-point underdog, Texas State became only the seventh school in NCAA history since 1980 to win a game after being more than a 34-point underdog.
The fallout continued on Monday with first-year offensive coordinator Mike Nesbitt resigning two days after the Cougars matched the second fewest point total since 2007. The resignation pushes assistant coach Travis Bush into the play-calling duties in addition to his quarterback coaching position.
“Nobody plays exceptionally well offensively when you have the ball for 16 minutes and score 13 points,” Levine said. “We have to distribute the ball into the hands of our play makers better.”
In his first action since 2010, redshirt sophomore quarterback David Piland appeared flustered and lacked the ability to make plays in the pocket, finishing the game 17 of 44 passing with one passing touchdown and an interception.
“We had chances and didn’t exploit them how we should’ve,” Piland said. “We needed to move the ball down the field and over the middle.”
The Bobcats’ option-style offense shredded UH’s new 4-3 defense, racking up 444 total offensive yards, 248 of which came on the ground. Despite struggling mightily out of the gate in the form of 27 first-half points, the Cougars allowed only a single field goal in the second half.
“We drew up on the board exactly what Texas State was doing, and it was no surprise what we had practiced against,” Levine said of the halftime adjustments. “In the first half, there was a big play here and there which we eliminated for the most part in the second half defensively.”
More troubling than the loss itself seemed to be the few positives that emerged. On special teams, redshirt senior kicker Matt Hogan finished the night two-for-two with kicks from 50 and 37 yards but otherwise, little optimism was to be found following the embarrassing defeat.
“I’m disappointed for our fans, our program and our seniors,” Levine said. “Everybody deserves better than what we did tonight.”
The troubling start to the season will be tested even further when the Cougars host a talented Louisiana Tech team on Saturday. The Bulldogs return 16 starters from a team that came the closest to ruining UH’s perfect regular season a year ago.
For UH, it will be another opportunity to add to the greatest games in the history of Robertson Stadium — or the worst.
“You can’t judge a 12, 13 or 14-game season by one game,” Levine said. “It’s unfortunate that we have this taste in our mouth after the first game, but we will look back in December or January and recognize the entire body of work from the 2012 season.”