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Sunday, December 10, 2023


UH football falls to Texas Tech after 2OT collapse

UH football defensive end Derek Parish sacks Texas Tech quarterback Donovan Smith during the second quarter of Saturday's game at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock. | Courtesy of UH athletics

UH football defensive end Derek Parish sacks Texas Tech quarterback Donovan Smith during the second quarter of Saturday’s game at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock. | Courtesy of UH athletics

LUBBOCK — For the second consecutive season, UH football dropped a heartbreaker to Texas Tech, falling 33-30 in double overtime on Saturday afternoon at Jones AT&T Stadium and extending the Cougars’ losing streak to five against the Red Raiders.

It was Houston’s second time going to multiple extra periods this year after UTSA took UH to triple overtime just last week, a game where the Cougars came out on top.

Missed tackles, which was a problem for the UH defense in Week 1 against UTSA, continued to plague the Cougars, leading to multiple big plays by the Red Raiders’ offense.

Texas Tech’s first touchdown, which came early in the second quarter, was a result of multiple missed tackles from the UH defense. Up 3-0, Texas Tech quarterback Donovan Smith connected with receiver Nehemiah Martinez over the middle before Martinez did the rest, breaking two Cougars’ attempted tackles on his way to a 43-yard school.

Getting the ball back with 59 seconds remaining in the first half, the Red Raiders’ offense quickly got the ball close to midfield before Smith connected with receiver Myles Price. What should have been a short gain turned into a 54-yard touchdown as UH junior safety Hasaan Hypolite and senior nickleback Jayce Rogers collided with each other while both going for the tackle.

UH’s only first-half points came via a Bubba Baxa 24-yard field goal early in the second quarter.

Texas Tech took a 17-3 lead into the locker room.

A 63-yard connection between UH senior quarterback Clayton Tune and junior receiver Nathaniel Dell on the first play of the second half was the spark the Cougars needed. Plays later, redshirt freshman running back Brandon Campbell found paydirt from two yards out, his first collegiate touchdown, to cut the deficit in half.

Momentum stayed on the Cougars’ side as senior cornerback picked off Smith deep in UH territory, giving the ball back to Tune and the offense on Texas Tech’s side of the field after a 37-yard return plus a 15-yard penalty tacked on to the end of the play.

Despite the prime field position, UH wasted its opportunity to tie the game or further cut into the deficit. 

On third-and-four from the Red Raiders’ 15-yard line, Tune was sacked for a loss of 15. This set up a 47-yard field goal attempt from Baxa which missed wide right.

Despite the offensive struggles, the Cougars’ defense continued to hold its ground.

A fourth down stop forcing a Texas Tech turnover on downs, the UH defense came up with its biggest play of the afternoon. On second-and-10 in UH territory, Rogers jumped a route, intercepting Smith and taking it to the house for a pick-six to even the game at 17 early in the fourth quarter.

The UH defense wasn’t done yet. With just over a minute on the play clock, senior safety Gervarrius Owens picked off Smith for the third time and returned it to the Texas Tech 21-yard line.

This set up Baxa, who calmly drilled a 35-yard field goal with 37 seconds remaining in regulation.

While it appeared like Baxa’s kick would win the game, the Red Raiders drove down the field in the closing seconds, just like the Roadrunners did last week against the Cougars, to set up a game-tying field goal in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter. Texas Tech’s Trey Wolffe drilled a 47-yard field goal to send the game into overtime.

After overcoming a first-and-20 to begin overtime, Tune found freshman receiver Matthew Golden across the middle. Golden evaded multiple Red Raiders, cutting his way across the field for a 15-yard touchdown, the first of his collegiate career.

Houston had Texas Tech on the ropes on the ensuing possession thanks to defensive end Derek Parish, who had four sacks in the game, but the Red Raiders overcame a fourth-and-20 on their first possession of overtime to set up a 4-yard Tahj Brooks touchdown run that extended the game.

On its second overtime possession, UH stalled at the 3-yard line. Head coach Dana Holgorsen, whose unconventional decision to take the ball first in overtime against UTSA turned heads last week, elected to kick the field goal, which Baxa drilled to put the Cougars up three.

Smith, who got the start due to Red Raiders’ starter Tyler Shough getting hurt in the team’s opener, was the hero for the Red Raiders. His 9-yard touchdown run won the game for Texas Tech.

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