One week after a record-setting day offensively at Robertson Stadium, UH appeared lifeless and inefficient on the road against UCLA’s physical defense falling 37-6.
“They’ve got a tremendous pass rush, and they showed it in their first two games,” said head coach Tony Levine in a statement. “I thought the guys competed for 60 minutes, but we didn’t do enough to win the football game.”
The Cougars only touchdown came in the form of an 86-yard run from sophomore quarterback David Piland with less than five minutes remaining, preventing UH from its first shutout since losing 48-0 to Texas on Sept. 23, 2000.
Piland was plagued by five interceptions, and it took UCLA only 16 seconds into the game to take its first lead, courtesy of a lateral that was scooped up and run in for a 23-yard Bruins’ touchdown.
The Cougars were also without redshirt junior running back Charles Sims, who was injured on the second play of last week’s game against Louisiana Tech and is reportedly “day-to-day” according to reports. His replacement, Ryan Jackson went out with a leg injury after two carries against the Bruins.
“I think not having Charles Sims tonight affected our rhythm offensively, and Ryan Jackson went down with a leg injury early and was out for the game,” Levine said. “Things kind of compounded tonight when it came to our guys staying healthy, and we need to get those guys back as quickly as we can in the next week.”
Defensively, UH forced three turnovers and held Heisman hopeful Johnathan Franklin to just 110 yards rushing but the Bruins still managed 567 total yards, 320 of which came through the air.
“When you create that many turnovers defensively, it gives you a chance to win the football game,” Levine said. “Unfortunately, we turned it over more offensively. Going into the bye week now, it really becomes a nine-game season for us, and we’ve got to get some guys off the injury report and back healthy as soon as we can.”
The Cougars head into their bye week 0-3 for the first time since 2004 before facing Rice at Reliant Stadium on Sept. 29.
“I thought they played very well compared to the first two games,” Levine said. “We weren’t perfect, but I thought the tackling improved tremendously, and we created turnovers. We have to play well offensively, defensively and in the kicking game. All three in the same night and then we’ll have a good football team.”