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Wednesday, May 31, 2023


Five things we learned about the Cougars from BYU


The UH special teams didn’t play well last against No. 25 BYU last Thursday, which included a blocked field goal and two missed extra points that were significant during the close contest in the second half.  |  Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

UH warded off a blowout but still came up short against BYU. With the loss, the Cougars (1-2) continued their up-and-down 2014 season. Here are five truths we learned from UH’s 33-25 loss to BYU:

1: UH isn’t committed to running the ball

UH had 10 net yards and in the second half didn’t have a single rush attempt by its running backs. I understand that UH fell behind early, which forced sophomore John O’Korn to throw more, but the game was within reach for most of the second half.

Though its running backs struggled, UH abandoned the rush earlier than necessary. And after the Cougars clearly became a passing team, BYU was able to get more pressure on O’Korn. The offense was one-dimensional and easy to defend.

2: Forced turnovers in the clutch should almost be expected

Junior safety Adrian McDonald’s strip of a BYU receiver helped turn a potential blowout into a game decided late in the fourth quarter. After the scoop and return into BYU territory, the Cougars were set up for a Hail Mary that was No. 1 in the SportsCenter Top 10. It was a nine-point swing because BYU was in field goal range.

Junior safety Trevon Stewart made a similar impact by intercepting Taysom Hill late in the fourth and setting the offense up with prime field goal position. The Third Ward Defense isn’t dominant — it gave up more than 500 yards of offense to BYU — but the squad has playmakers on all three levels of the defense.

3: The special teams unit is an issue

Kicker Matt Hogan and punter Richie Leone aren’t at UH anymore. For their four years, the Cougars didn’t need to worry about routine field goal and extra points — now they do.

UH left five points on the field, including two missed extra points and a missed field goal. Instead of needing just a field goal to tie the game in its final possession, UH needed a touchdown and a two-point conversion.

4: O’Korn got his groove back

After struggling in the first two games with his completion percentage hovering around 50 percent, O’Korn had a breakout game in the loss. He passed for 307 yards and three touchdowns, going through his progressions and made plays in key moments.

5: UH has become slow starter

In both losses this season, UH has fallen behind by more than 20. UTSA scored 27 points before UH got on the board while BYU claimed 23 before surrendering any scoring to UH. In both contests, UH dug a hole too big to climb out of. In future games, the Cougars will need a fast start to properly compete.

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