Round table: Cougars battle Red Raiders
The Cougars are coming off of a dominant win against the Rice Owls that saw the defense take care of business. After only allowing 242 yards against their cross-town rivals, look for the defensive unit to get a much bigger challenge in the Texas Tech offense.
Texas Tech head coach Kliff Klingbury is bringing his high-powered spread offense to Houston. Senior quarterback Nic Shimonek comes into the game with 927 yards and a stout arm that will give the Cougars’ young corners problems if they don’t get physical. The Cougar staff discusses the upcoming game and the team’s upcoming challenge.
Assistant sports editor Peter Scamardo
This Saturday, the Cougars’ defense will face its toughest opponent by far. The Red Raiders are coming in with one of the top offenses in all of college football. The air raid offense has done wonders for every quarterback under Kliff Kingsbury, dating all the way back to his time at UH with Case Keenum.
This year is no different. Quarterback Nic Shimonek has taken over for NFL-draftee Patrick Mahomes without any issue. Only two games into the season and Shimonek has already thrown nine touchdown passes — six of those in last week’s win against the Arizona State Sun Devils.
This is a dangerous game for the Cougars. Their defense has been strong throughout the first two games, but if the offense is not able to match the pace of Tech’s, there is a chance the defense will tire. Ed Oliver, Garret Davis and company will get their hits on Shimonek and his receiving corps. But Tech will find a way to score, and when they do, quarterback Kyle Allen will have to match Shimonek.
If the defense is not able to get stops and Allen is unable to sustain drives, then this game might run away from the Cougars.
But do expect the Cougars to win this game. The Red Raiders’ defense is not one to be feared after giving up 45 points to Arizona State last weekend. It will be a close, but expect the Cougars to score just a little bit more. Final score 35-28.
Assistant sports editor Reagan Earnst
Saturday’s matchup against Tech is undoubtedly the most important game of the season for the Cougars. Even though it’s an unranked week three matchup, credibility is on the line for the University of Houston.
The Cougars bring seven consecutive wins against Power Five opponents dating back to 2014 and 16 straight victories at TDECU Stadium to the field Saturday. Eventually, college football conferences will likely be restructured, and the Cougars need to seize each opportunity to bolster their resume beforehand.
A true clash of styles, Tech puts one of the most efficient offenses in the country against an aggressive defense. The Red Raider offense’s average of 52 points per game ranks them No. 3 in the NCAA, while the Cougars’ defense surrenders on average 9.5 points each contest.
Whichever team can make the least amount of mistakes is going to come out on top.
Houston’s defense must limit the quick scores that Texas Tech often utilizes to put teams out of reach. Forcing long, clock-consuming drives will increase the likelihood for a mistake by Tech’s offense as well as require it to play outside of its comfort zone.
By controlling time of possession and creating turnovers, the Cougars will come out on top 42-32 Saturday.
Sports editor Frank Campos
The defense needs to muster yet another dominant week to carry the team to victory this Saturday against the Red Raiders.
Ed Oliver and company can certainly rise to the challenge, but this will definitely be their toughest opponent this year. The Cougars come into the game 9th in scoring defense while the Red Raider offense comes in 4th nationally in scoring offense.
This will make for a juicy matchup as we will see if the Red Raiders can continue their high-powered offense against the Cougars’ stout defense.
The Cougars’ offense has an opportunity to continue what it started last week against Rice. Allen left last Saturday’s game with the highest completion percentage in UH history, and he should get plenty of opportunities to throw with the soft Raider defense.
The offense has been good in the air and on the ground. It has managed to rotate its stable of running backs, which includes Dillon Birden and Duke Catalon. This should open up the wide receivers for big gains and set them up for a win.
Ultimately, I think Texas Tech will be a challenge for the Cougars, but not one they can’t defeat. The game will be close, but the Cougars should walk away with the victory on Saturday.