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Friday, June 9, 2023


UH ready to recover after tough loss

D’Eriq King and the Cougars have a chance to bounce back after the loss to SMU, but Temple will be a huge challenge. | Joe Buvid/ Courtesy of Houston Athletics

On Monday, head coach Major Applewhite met with the media at a press conference to speak on the storylines leading into this week’s game against Temple.

Last weekend, UH lost its second game of the season against conference rival SMU. Even though there were many mistakes between the coaches and players, the team is ready to learn from the loss and improve, Applewhite said.

“The most important thing is not assigning blame, it’s fixing the problem,” Applewhite said. “That’s where we’ve been at, and that’s what we talked about yesterday as a team. The loss is only good if you learn from it and you change.”

The Cougars have a lot to do to make the SMU game a good loss. The UH defense allowed six total touchdowns and almost 200 yards rushing. It was also the first game all season in which the Cougars had more rushing yards than passing yards.

Though the team struggled against SMU, it should get a boost from the return of Heisman candidate junior defensive tackle Ed Oliver. Oliver missed the past two games against USF and SMU, but he will return to play against Temple.

The defense needs Oliver’s help, as it has allowed opponents in its past three matchups to score more than 30 points. According to Applewhite, however, the coaches evaluate the defense in different ways than just looking at how many yards it allows.

“Yards can lie,” Applewhite said. “If you get people off the field with field goals, if you’re taking the ball away and creating short fields for your offense and getting them off the field on third down, those are successful traits that you look for.”

The defense will need to be on top of its game against Temple. The Owls have a quality win against then-No. 20 Cincinnati and played a close game against No. 9 UCF. Temple also averages 144 rushing yards and over 260 passing yards a game.

Though the Cougars have dealt with injuries and difficult situations in the past, Applewhite said the ability to perform under duress is one of the best parts of a game.

“That’s the fun part of competing, whenever the odds are stacked against you and you don’t have a great hand but you go out and find a way to win anyway,” Applewhite said. “That’s what we have to do this Saturday against Temple and obviously the rest of the season.”

Houston plays Temple Saturday, Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. at TDECU Stadium.

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