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Monday, September 25, 2023


Cougars’ offense sputters in Big 12 debut loss to TCU

UH could not get anything going offensively, only scoring 6 points on that end in the Cougars’ loss. | Anh Le/The Cougars

UH’s offense fell flat on its face Saturday night, failing to score a touchdown as the Cougars lost their Big 12 opener against TCU 36-13.

It was finally here. The first-ever Big 12 game for the University of Houston football program facing the TCU Horned Frogs, a program that made it to the national championship a year ago. 

On what was a rainy afternoon, the sky cleared come game time, but the Cougars were seemingly not ready for the TCU hurry-up offense to start the game, as the Horned Frogs went right down the field, scoring a TD on their first drive in a minute and a half. 

There were big chunk plays early on from TCU as in just three plays, they crossed right over midfield, ending it with a 33-yard touchdown, quarterback Chandler Morris to Warren Thompson. 

The Cougars first drive was highlighted by a huge 53-yard pass completed to sophomore wide receiver Samuel Brown on 3rd and 11.

However, Houston had to settle for a 44-yard field goal to end the seven-play, 48-yard drive to make the 7-3.

The Cougars’ defense then stepped up and forced a fumble which was recovered on the first play of the second drive, but UH could not get any points after failing to convert on fourth and short. 

Houston had another chance in Horned Frogs territory but once again came up with nothing, this time missing a 48-yard field goal. 

TCU decided to go for it on 4th down their next drive, but a huge interception of Morris by senior nickelback Malik Fleming returned it 35 yards to the TCU 48-yard line, setting up the Cougars once again. This was Fleming’s 3rd interception of the season, with two in the season opener against UTSA. 

Head coach Dana Holgorsen and the Cougars once again faced a huge fourth and one, and it was yet another missed opportunity. UH was unable to cash in for a touchdown, with a pass intended for senior tight end Mike O Laughlin.

TCU then marched on a long 14-play drive, taking more than five and a half minutes from near the back of their end zone, resulting in a 40-yard field goal by senior Griffin Kell.

On the next drive by Houston, junior QB Donovan Smith threw an interception on a trick play to sophomore safety Bud Clark at the UH 46-yard line, resulting an another TCU field goal to make it 13-3

Sophomore receiver Golden decided to take matters into his own hands with a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to make it a 3-point game. He fought incredibly through a tackle and ran it all the way back as the crowd roared. 

TCU answered right back with a touchdown of their own, once again quickly going down the field in just over two minutes. Junior RB Emani Bailey got in from 16 yards out to make it 20-10. 

However, another great return by the Cougars, a 47-yard return by freshman running back Parker Jenkins gave UH the field position to eventually hit a 45-yard field goal, to cut the deficit to 20-13 at the half.

TCU extended their lead to 26-13 in the third quarter after a long 31-yard touchdown to wideout Savion Williams. 

UH’s first three drives resulted consecutive three-and-outs, as the offense failed to put together a drive all second half.

TCU added to their lead with another field goal by Kell from 37 yards out, making it 29-13 heading into to the fourth quarter. 

To start the final frame, the Horned Frogs had the longest drive of the game but came up empty on a 50-yard field goal. 

However, with UH unable to answer back, TCU piled it on and added another touchdown as junior running back Trey Sanders punched it in from 18 yards out to make it 36-13 and seal the game. 

UH ended with 266 yards of total offense compared to 564 yards from TCU. The Cougars mustered up just 41 rushing yards on 27 attempts.

Houston fell to 1-2 on the season and will look to bounce back against Sam Houston State at home next Saturday.

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