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DTN Game Preview | Houston Cougars vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders

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No time to do separate previews, but this is my Thanksgiving gift to the DTN faithful.  A full preview with comparison stats and previews of the offense and defense.  Everyone travel safe this weekend and have a tremendous holiday.


(5-6, 4-4)

 

VS.


(6-5, 3-5)

INFORMATION: Detail
OPPONENT: Houston Cougars (5-6, 4-4)
DATE: November 27, 2010
LOCATION: Lubbock, TX
WEATHER: Sunny, 64
TIME: 7:00 p.m. CST
TV: FSN
RADIO: Affiliates
GAME CAST: Fox Sports

 

So much good-strong after the jump.

CATEGORY STATISTIC (NCAA RANK, CONF. RANK) WINNER
TTU Pass Offense
vs.
UH Pass Defense
309.45 (9, 3)

210.55 (54, 3)
TTU Rush Offense
vs.
UH Rush Defense
139.91 (82, 11)

217.27 (116, 11)
TTU Total Offense
vs.
UH Total Defense
449.36 (16, 5)

427.82 (99, 8)
TTU Scoring Offense
vs.
UH Scoring Defense
31.82 (36, 7)

31.91 (93, 7)

 

TEXAS TECH OFFENSE VS. HOUSTON DEFENSE | The Cougars line up in a 3-4, similar to Texas Tech's defense, with a noseguard and two sizable defensive ends: NGMatangi Tonga, DE David Hunter and DE Kelvin King. OLB Sammy Brown the the biggest pass rusher for Houston and that leaves your other three linebackers in the 6-1/215 range, including Marcus McGraw, Efrem Oliphan and Phillip Steward. But teams have run and run and run on Houston. Every team that Houst has played has gained at least 100 yards and over the past four games, Memphis, UCF, Tulsa and Southern Mississippi have averaged 266.25 yards a game. And to emphasize how awful the rush defense has been for houston, Mississippi St., which is a really good team, had 409 yards on the ground against Houston.

I don't know if it's fitting or ironic or a little bit of both, but if there was ever a day for Texas Tech to have another field day on the ground and not rely too much on the quarterback, no matter who it is, then it's Houston. It would suit me just fine to see RB Baron Batch and RB Eric Stephens get the ball and carry this team to a win. And in case you're keeping count, there have been three games that Texas Tech has failed to gain over 100 yars rushing: SMU, Texas and Texas A&M.

The players that you have to watch, possibly shooting the gap and getting behind the line of scrimmage, Brown has 18.5 TFL, which is good for 6th in the country and is just a remarkable amount of tackles for a loss for the year, while Steward had 9 TFL, and Hunter has 8 TFL for the year.

The thing that bothers me just a bit is that Houston scores about 30 points a game, no matter whether or not they're on the road or at home, which means that the inconsistent offense that Texas Tech has seen for a good part of the year can't afford to be too inconsistent for a good part of this game. I should really save this for the Houston offense, but what the heck. The only solace I can give you is that the Houston offense doesn't score a lick against automatic qualifier BCS teams, only 18.5 points per game (UCLA and Miss. St.), but scores 40.9 points per game against non-AQ BCS teams.

The secondary continues to be led by FS Nick Saenz, the guy that haunted my nightmares after last year's game (12 tackles in that game). The Cougars haven't gained a ton of interceptions this year, which is always a problem with a team that's not good defensively (Texas Tech knows plenty about this after not having many turnovers recently). CB Devin Mays, CB Jamal Robinson and SS Jack Candy round out the rest of the secondary. I seem to recall that Robinson had a really good year last year, but this year it looks like he's struggled to make a significant impact.

CATEGORY STATISTIC (NCAA RANK, CONF. RANK) WINNER
UH Pass Offense
vs.
TTU Pass Defense
316.92 (7, 2)

293.82 (118, 12)
UH Rush Offense
vs.
TTU Rush Defense
154.09 (62, 6)

158.18 (67, 8)

PUSH

UH Total Offense
vs.
TTU Total Defense
471.00 (12, 2)

452.00 (114, 12)
UH Scoring Offense
vs.
TTU Scoring Defense
39.27 (10, 1)

31.27 (92, 11)

 

TEXAS TECH DEFENSE VS. HOUSTON OFFENSE | The Houston offense continues to score. A lot. And it really doesn't matter who's at quarterback. If you want a reason to be afraid, this is it. Last game of the year and this beleagured defense is playing yet another high octane offense, in particular a successful passing offense. Everyone knows that QB Case Keenum was injured early in the year and then the backup Houston quarterback, Cotton Turner, was injured. And freshman QB David Piland is cleaning up the pieces quite nicely. Piland isn't completing a terribly high percentage, only 60%, but he is averaging 7.7 YPA and has a 2 to 1 touchdown to interception ratio (22 to 11). The interesting thing here is that despite being just a freshman, Piland is still averaging 314 YPG. That's a lot of production.

Houston doesn't have the same amount of offensive production compared to last year (310 YPG passing in 2010 and 430 YPG in 2009 with Keenum), but you still have WR Patrick Edwards with 923 yards and 13 touchdowns thus far this year. WR James Cleveland and WR Kerrie Johnson are your other major threats and each have 6 touchdowns. And there's quite a bit of balance to the offense as the rushing attack is led by two juniors, RB Bryce Beall and Michael Hayes. Beall is the main threat, averaging over 5.44 YPC and 74.73 yards per game, but he's not involved in the passing game much at all. Hayes on the other hand does have 28 catches and averages 11.07 yards per catch out of the backfield.

The Houston offensive line is only allowing 1.09 sacks/game, which is just outstanding, but perhaps expected with a line that consists of 3 seniors (LG Isiah Thompson, C Jordan Shoemaker, RT Roy Watts), 1 junior (RG Chris Thompson) and a sophomore (LT Jacolby Ashworth).

I don't think anyone needs a primer on the Texas Tech defense, although I think we've talked briefly about the fact that Brian Duncan has moved from his outside linebacker spot to back inside, while Tyrone Sonier is now outside. The Texas Tech pass rush started out gang-busters, but has faded late in the season, getting only 1 sack in 4 different games. Playing Duncan outside worked initially, but he's been incredibly stiffled lately and if I remember correctly, Duncan was moved back inside for the Oklahoma game.

I am glad to hear that CB LaRon Moore is back practicing and I'm thinking now that the staff wanted to sit him last week so that he would be available against Houston. With the current depth at cornerback, I approve.