Football Sports

Dana Holgorsen: UH’s ‘technique, poise’ need work after loss to No. 14 BYU

UH junior free safety Gervarrius Owens slides on one knee trying to wrap up BYU junior running back Lopini Katoa. | Courtesy of UH athletics

UH junior free safety Gervarrius Owens slides on one knee trying to wrap up BYU junior running back Lopini Katoa. | Courtesy of UH athletics

The UH football team had another strong showing in its second game of the season, at one point scoring 23 unanswered points against No. 14 BYU, but it was the mental errors that ultimately doomed the Cougars from getting a signature win on Friday night at TDECU Stadium and saw the team fall 43-26.

“I just think they played harder than us in the fourth quarter,” UH head coach Dana Holgorsen said after BYU outscored Houston 22-0 in the final period.

UH (1-1, 1-0 American Athletic Conference) committed 10 penalties for 113 yards in the loss to BYU (5-0), but those were not the only mistakes that handicapped Houston from getting a big win.

Errors like freshman punter Laine Wilkins’s 13-yard punt that put BYU at Houston’s 23-yard line and led to the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter were prevalent by UH all throughout the night, and it was not just Wilkins.

From drops in key moments to players losing their cool on the field, UH made multiple mistakes that came back and gave too much of an advantage to BYU.

“We just beat ourselves,” junior tight end Christian Trahan said. “We didn’t finish. It’s on us. We just got to get better. Go back to work tomorrow and get back to the lab and go to work. We’ll be ready for Navy.”

When it comes to the unforced penalties, senior running back Kyle Porter had an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty during the third quarter, which was garnered due to the 5-foot-9-inch back getting frustrated with BYU freshman defensive back Micah Harper. Porter headbutted him after the play.

The reason for the frustration was due to a hit by BYU’s defender, in which he led with his helmet on a tackle on Porter. Harper was ejected for that play, but Porter’s penalty also cost Houston 15 yards on the drive, and while UH went off to finish the drive with a score, plays like that symbolized the team’s mental mistakes that were scattered throughout the night.

“We’ll look at it,” Holgorsen said. “It’s two weeks in a row with 10 penalties. …It’s just a combination of things… We got to focus on us and the things that we can control and that’s our technique. Our poise. We had a couple of things from a couple of guys that were uncharacteristic.”

Despite the self-inflicted wounds, Houston’s head coach isn’t too worried about it just yet because it is still early in the season.

“When it gets to game three, four, five you kind of our who you are, so who BYU is, is a pretty damn good football team,” Holgorsen said. “We got two games under our belt, and I’m not going to keep making this as an excuse to not be successful, but we got to keep playing. We’ve only played eight quarters. We got a lot of stuff ahead of us.”

Despite the optimism, Holgorsen did acknowledge that Houston’s errors need to be corrected quickly.

“(I’m) not disappointed in our football team,” Holgorsen said. “(I’m) proud of them. They’ve done a good job up until this point. We will learn a lot from what happened and continue to work hard on our schemes and technique and develop the attitude that we need from a discipline perspective to not do a bunch of stupid stuff that will get us beat.”

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