Whoose House?! Whoose Heisman?!
With Houston’s 45 – 18 win over the Arizona Wildcats, the University of Houston continues to dominate Power 5 schools and Heisman-hopefuls. If you didn’t know any better and I had told you there was a “Heisman candidate quarterback” playing in that, who would you think it was?
Khalil Tate: 24-45, 341yds, 2 INT’s / 8Ryds, 1 rushing TD
D’eriq King: 17 – 34, 246yds, 6TD’s [4 passing, 2 rushing] 0 INT.
Hard to tell, right? Well, Houston’s own Heisman candidate, Ed Oliver, agreed, saying, “You need to take me out of the running & put Deriq King in it. You see what he's doing!"
The offensive statistics between the two teams weren’t that far apart; Arizona 531 total offensive yards to Houston's 551 total offensive yards. In fact, Houston only had 28 first downs, to Arizona’s 31 – not to mention, Arizona ran 20 more offensive plays than Houston. So what was the big difference here that resulted in Houston completely dominating Arizona by a 27-point margin?
The key here lies in efficiency. Houston’s offense was WAY more effective than Arizona’s, in part because King torched their secondary with the long ball… but predominantly because Houston was able to run the ball – which kept Arizona’s defense honest and set up the pass. Houston ran the ball 297 yards to Arizona’s 150 yards.
It’s also hard to believe that Arizona wasn’t effected by the weather here. Don’t get me wrong; Arizona gets much hotter than Houston, but the difference is our humidity. Arizona is used to playing the Pac-12 schools out west, in relatively zero humidity. The humidity here makes it really hard to breathe for people that aren’t from here.
The weather certainly effected the crowd. Initially, the stands were packed and the game had a good, healthy crowd of almost 33,000 people, but by the fourth quarter, the stadium looked empty as everyone desperately huddled up in the shade of the walkways.
Sumlin’s Wrong in Arizona…
A wise man once said, “Dance with the girl that brought you.” Kevin, Khalil… DANCE WITH THE LEGS THAT BROUGHT YOU! The fact that Kevin Sumlin has not been able to utilize Tate’s athleticism/legs the way that Rich Rod did last year continues to amaze me. Is this by design? Is he trying to preserve his quarterback by taking less hits? Or is Khalil Tate determined to make his name as a pocket-passer because he knows that being known as a “running quarterback” will likely lessen his future draft stock, in the NFL? Whatever it is, it’s not working.
Don’t get me wrong – Tate has shown the ability to pass, but he made his name last year with his legs, where in a four-game stretch, he rushed for 840 yards and 8 rushing Touchdowns. Since Sumlin came along, Tate has only attempted 15 rushes, for a whopping combination of 22 yards.
Ironically, if this Sumlin – Tate combo doesn’t work, Tate has to give himself a lot of the blame here. Arizona had originally intended on hiring Navy’s head coach – but Tate took to social media and publicly stated that he had ZERO interest in the triple option. So Arizona got Tate involved with the head coach hiring process, where Tate basically chose Sumlin and system for himself.
With back to back losses VS BYU and at Houston, a New Year's 6 game is out of reach, Tate probably won’t get the Heisman… and Sumlin’s seat is already hot in Arizona.
Houston raids Lubbock; assessing the enemy
Houston looks to go 3-0, as it heads into Lubbock to face the 1-1 Texas Tech University Red Raiders; a team that is led by yet another Head Coaching product of the Coogs – Kliff Kingsbury.
Tech is .500, opening their season with a loss to Ole’ Miss (47-27) followed up by their home opener, where they demolished Lamar, scoring 77 points (the most they have scored since 2007) to the Cardinal’s 0. Normally, I would completely ignore Tech’s game vs. a Southland Conference opponent but hanging up 77 – 0 on ANY school is too impressive to dismiss. The important thing to highlight here is the fact that Tech’s defense created four turnovers and most importantly the offense had six rushing touchdowns by three different running backs. Also, their true freshman quarterback, Alan Bowman, put up two passing touchdowns and 273 yards in the first half, after their starting quarterback, McLane Carter, was injured early in the first. Tech appears to have a balanced offensive attack, but will probably be looking to establish the run early on Houston to limit turnovers from their rookie QB, who will be facing a lot of pressure at the line from Ed Oliver and Isaiah Chambers, and a secondary led by Garrett Davis, who had 11 tackles and two interceptions last week. It’s important to also note that Tech’s offense is really prone to committing penalties – even on their home turf; the Raiders O squandered -134 yards and a few touchdowns on 14 penalties.
The most important game to dissect here is Tech’s opening loss to Ole’ Miss [2-0]. Now, Ole Miss may be weak by its own conference’s standards – but alas, it’s still an SEC opponent who has put up 123 points in it’s first two contests and ultimately beat Tech 47 - 27. The Rebel’s handled Tech relatively easily, scoring 24 in the first quarter, to Tech’s 7. Tech would never recover, as senior Rebel quarterback, Jordan Ta'amu threw for 336 yards and two touchdowns, while junior running back Scottie Phillips ran for a career high 204 yards and two more touchdowns.
Every year it seems like Tech’s secondary is a liability – and this season is really no different. Ole’ Miss took advantage with their stable of fast receivers that spread the Raider defense out, and completely destroyed Tech’s secondary with big plays. This is promising for Houston, as they rank third nationally with 19 plays of 20-plus yards throughout their first two games. What Ole’ Miss did to Texas Tech was very similar to what Houston did to Arizona last week, and I would expect a similar performance this Saturday. The main difference here, being that Tech doesn’t have a “Heisman Candidate” taking their snaps – they have a true freshman, who is even less of a dual threat than Tate is…
So, could the Cougar Defense limit Tech’s offense even more than it did to Arizona? It could. However, Saturday’s game is in Lubbock, so really, anything is possible.
Saturday's contest is the 32nd meet between these two respective schools, with Houston leading the series at 18-12-1 (8-6 in Lubbock). Texas Tech barely escaped Houston with a win in last year’s matchup, 27-24, in a game where Houston did not have great Quarterback production (Kyle Allen was benched for Kyle Postma… and it was a train wreck, to say the least). With the emergence of King and WR Marquez Stevenson, combined with Tech’s rookie quarterback, you can expect this next game will look much, much different. Right now, the Coogs are favored to win by 1, but pending nothing horrible happens between now and then, I expect the Coogs to win by at least 10 – so place your bets now.