Before Saturday’s game against Louisiana Tech, head coach Tony Levine said the Cougars’ biggest challenge was within.
“I told the team that it doesn’t matter who we are playing Saturday night, because based off our play this past weekend, our opponent is ourselves. We have to correct things, execute better and be prepared,” Levine said.
The Cougars did improve on offense, as the team scored 36 more points against Louisiana Tech than the 13 scored against Texas State but penalties, turnovers and a defense that gave up 56 points were a hindrance to UH’s chances to win.
“We need to make plays when we have opportunities to make those plays. It comes down to your turn-over game,” said quarterback David Piland. “We’re going to prepare this week and the next week and the next week on ball security. We can’t give up freebies or field position.”
Against Texas State, the offense scored three points in the second half and the team could not keep pace with the Bobcats first-half output. The opposite happened this week.
UH’s offense put up 29 points in the second half and Piland entered his name into the history books — setting the Robertson record with 580 passing yards and the NCAA high watermark for pass attempts without an interception with 77 — but the Cougars still lost by seven.
The Bulldogs’ running game caused UH problems all night. Louisiana Tech’s tandem of freshman running backs, Tevin King and Kenneth Dixon, both neared the century mark. LA Tech head coach, Sonny Dykes was impressed with their effect on the game.
“They played great tonight. The big thing with them was that they protected the football when we really needed it down the stretch.”
King’s 59-yard touchdown run changed the trajectory of the game; the Cougars were within reach, the score was 21-20. After a punt by Richie Leone the Bulldogs began a drive at their own 1-yard line and UH had the momentum on its side.
Colby Cameron got Louisiana Tech out of its own end zone with a 21-yard pass to Quinton Patton. Three plays later, King took a handoff to the house and UH never got closer than seven.
For the second consecutive week, the Cougars did not force a turnover. Levine said that is something the team practiced.
“The things that we emphasized this week defensively were tackling and creating turnovers. Offensively we emphasized executing the offense, getting first downs and holding on to the football. We clearly did not do a good enough job in those areas to win tonight,” Levine said.
The Cougars showed offensive improvement this week, if the defense can make the same mercurial rise the team will be better for it.