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UH offense falls flat in second half vs. Texas tech, lose 49-28

After scoring four touchdowns in the first half, UH failed put up any more points on the board in Lubbock. | Anh Le/The Cougar

The Houston Cougars are still looking for their first Big 12 win after getting shut out in the second half against Texas Tech on the road, losing 49-28.

The first half was a shootout, with 63 combined points being scored.

In the first quarter Houston received the ball first, the Cougars took the opportunity to march it down the field for a total of 75 yards. Junior quarterback Donovan Smith connected with freshman tight end Bryan Henry for a six-yard touchdown. Houston took the lead at 7-0. 

The Red Raiders answered back with a 100-yard kickoff return, ran back by junior Drae McCray tying the game at 7-7. 

Houston was not phased as Smith lobbed it up to sophomore wide receiver Samuel Brown for a 16-yard touchdown. Houston led the Raiders 14-7 with 6:15 left in the first. 

The Raiders were ready for the shootout. Sophomore quarterback Behren Morton took them back to the endzone using senior running back Tahj Brooks to tie the game 14-14. 

Smith wasted no time connecting with sophomore wide receiver Joseph Manjack IV for a 49-yard touchdown, giving Houston the lead at 21-14 with 13:45 left in the second. 

Houston called their first timeout to try to slow down the raiders as they were pushing downfield. But Tech barreled their way back into the endzone with Morton connecting with senior wide-receiver Locic Fouonji for a 25-yard touchdown. 

Tech tied it back up at 21-21 with 8:47 left in the second. 

Fouonji then blocked Houston’s punt and scored as well, giving the Red Raiders the first lead of the game at 28-21 in the middle of the second quarter

Smith once again took over the Houston offense, stiff-arming a defender for a first down before throwing a 41-yard dagger to redshirt freshman wide receiver Dalton Carnes — tying the game for the fourth time with 2:16 left in the second. 

Tech swiftly regained the lead with Brooks scoring his second touchdown, after strategically calling a timeout to ensure Brooks, whose helmet had flown off in the preceding play, was back in action. Tech led the Cougars 35-28 with 44 seconds left left in the half. 

Houston missed a field goal shortly after, making the score 35-28 Texas Tech at the half. 

In the third quarter, Tech started off with the ball but was quickly introduced to Sack Ave, stopping the Red Raiders for the first time in the game. 

After a risky fumble, Smith connected with Brown again to keep the momentum going but the drive bogged down and resulted in a punt. 

Tech took advantage three plays later when Morton aired the ball out to senior wide receiver Myles Price for an 11-yard touchdown, adding to the lead at 42-28.

Houston went for it on a gutsy fourth and one, but the Cougars got stopped, handing Tech the ball with prime real estate to work with. 

In the fourth, both teams struggled to find their ground. That quickly changed when the Red Raiders scored again thanks to sophomore running back Cam’ron Valdez scoring a 41-yard touchdown. Tech extended the lead 49-28 with 8:47 left in the fourth, all but sealing the win for the Red Raiders.

Donovan Smith finished with 355 yards passing and four touchdowns for the game but logged just 71 yards in the second half. Overall, UH gained 489 yards with 365 coming in the first half.

UH dropped to 2-3 on the season and will enjoy a bye week before facing West Virginia Oct. 12.

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