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Second half woes define Houston’s Big 12 beginnings

Sophomore wide receiver Samuel Brown has been one of the bright spots on the thus-far inconsistent UH offense. | Anh Le/The Cougar


For those who may have stepped away from the broadcast on Saturday, there was plenty of positives to take from Houston’s first half against Texas Tech.

UH was just one possession behind the Red Raiders. A first-ever Big 12 win was within reach.

But the script flipped in the second half. The offense fell flat, and while defensively the Cougars showed a marked improvement, the final score reflected a familiar disappointment.


A third loss in three years for head coach Dana Holgorsen’s Cougars at the hands of Texas Tech.

“Good in the first half, not good in the second half,” Holgorsen said.

Now two games into its Big 12 welcome season, UH has been outscored a combined 41-55 in the first half to its pair of Big 12 opponents.

In the second half of those games, the Cougars have now been outscored by a combined count of 30-0.

“Second time we got wore out in the second half. That’s Big 12 football.”

The Cougars get a week off now before a date with West Virginia. The West Virginia matchup is a personal one for Holgorsen, who spent eight seasons coaching the Mountaineers before departing for Houston in 2019.

Houston enters its bye week with many questions, but a list of positives much longer than it had after its Big 12 debut two weeks prior.

Junior quarterback Donovan Smith looked poised in the first half against the Red Raiders, with four touchdown passes to four different receivers.

Sophomore wide receiver Samuel Brown continued his breakout season logging 113 yards and a touchdown catch, though Matthew Golden only managed two catches on the night.

Despite the offense’s second half struggles, the defense found its footing after conceding five first-half touchdowns. The Cougars forced four punts in the second half.

The open week is a chance for Houston to capitalize on those improvements.

“I feel like this is the time we’ve got to figure out who we are as a team,” Samuel Brown said.

Seven more games against Big 12 competition await the Cougars, including a matchup with the No. 3-ranked Texas Longhorns later this month.

If this team hopes to find its identity, now is the time.

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