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Texas Tech Opponent Prospectus // Houston Cougars

2009 Texas Tech Opponent Prospectus

Game 1: North Dakota Fighting Sioux // Game 2: Rice Owls // Game 3: Texas Longhorns // Game 4: Houston Cougars

The Houston Cougars come off of an impressive 8-5 2009 season, where head coach Kevin Sumlin did a fine job leading Houston to a winning record, a bowl win, an exciting offensive team to watch (helped by former Texas Tech coach Dana Holgorsen), all in his first year as a head coach.

Join me after the jump for a closer look at the Houston Cougars.

General Information

Opponent University of Houston
Nickname Cougars
Location Houston, TX
Enrollment 28,800
Conference Conference USA
Head Coach Kevin Sumlin
2008 Record 8-5 (6-2)
Starters Returning/Lost 11/11
Blogs UH Athletics with Steve Campbell (Houston Chronicle)
Fourth And Fifty (Houston Sports)
Links 2009 Depth Chart


Statistic Houston Texas Tech
Pass Offense 401.62 (2) 413.15 (1)
Rush Offense 161.15 (47) 117.84 (94)
Total Offense 562.77 (2) 531.00 (4)
Scoring Offense 40.62 (10) 43.77 (3)
Pass Efficiency 160.03 (8) 158.76 (9)
Sacks Allowed 2.08 (71) 1.00 (4)
Pass Defense 238.31 (91) 242.23 (94)
Rush Defense 175.15 (94) 140.38 (61)
Total Defense 413.46 (100) 382.62 (79)
Scoring Defense 30.92 (91) 27.85 (74)
Pass Efficiency Defense 137.27 (91) 130.56 (72)
Sacks 1.84 (64) 2.62 (18)
Tackles For Loss 6.23 (44) 4.85 (95)
Turnover Margin -0.46 (88) 0.62 (22)

Top Returners

Category Player
Rushing Bryce Beall (198 / 1,247 yds / 13 TD)
Passing Case Keenum (397-589 / 5,020 yds / 44 TD / 11 Int)
Receiving Tyron Carrier (80 rec. / 1,026 yds / 9 TD)
Tackles Marcus McGraw (103)
Sacks Tyrell Graham (1.5)
Interceptions Brandon Brinkley and Loyce Means (4)

A Few Things

  1. Keenum is Special: Graham Harrell was outstanding last year, part of the best passing offense in the NCAA last year, but Case Keenum wasn't far behind and in fact led the NCAA is total offense in 2008. Yep, Keenum is an incredibly special player and if you aren't at all worried about Keenum, you should be.
  2. Home Field Advantage: In the last decade, Houston is 31-21 at home, which is a winning percentage of 59.1% , good for 74th in the nation, so there's not the hugely decided advantage that you might expect playing at home. As an example, in the last decade, Texas Tech has the 12th best home winning percentage at 47-10 or 82.5%.
  3. Brothers In Arms: There's a very simple similarity between Texas Tech and Houston in that both have great offenses and weak defenses. Houston was decidedly worse, by 20 teams, last year, ranking 100th in total defense. This is a team that struggled to stop Conference USA opponents (and there are some really good ones), but the Cougars gave up 38 points to SMU, 37 to Marshall, 37 to UTEP and 56 to Rice. That's a lot of points.
  4. No Pressure: Houston is not returning many pass rushers from last year and Houston's best rusher last year was Phillip Hunt (14.0 sacks; 18.5 TFL) and Tate Stewart (5.0 sacks; 6.5 TFL) sacks. That's a lot of defense that's missing and it's going to be tough to make up and if Texas Tech has success, it might be based on the fact that Houston hasn't found a consistent pass rush early in the season.
  5. Beall Takes Opportunity: Bryce Beall is the perfect example of a guy that has taken advantage of a situation where (I think) a player was hurt, Beall gets inserted into the starting lineup and was just tremendous for the Cougars, as a true freshman. If you remove the first 4 games for Beall where he didn't start, he averaged over 124 yards a game, including two games where he had 176 (Tulane) and 167 yards (UTEP). The guy can run.
  6. Stopping the Run: We looked at Houston's lack of returning pass rusher, but the other big defensive issue is Houston's rush defense, where the Cougars gave up over 175 yards a game. The good thing for Houston is that they do return a fairly stout linebacker corp, but the defensive line is rebuilding.
  7. O-Line Return: Houston is only returning two starters along the offensive line, but are returning their left tackle, Sebastian Vollmer, center, Carl Barnett, and right guard, Michael Bloesch. The penciled in starters at left guard is a sophomore and right tackle is a redshirt freshman.