UH comes up short against TCU

.      Written by: MAi' Ghen Storm | Photo credit: Xavier Rosales-SFL Staff Photographer

Houston, TX-September 16, 2023- Saturday night, UH's offense did not score a touchdown as the Cougars fell to TCU 36-13 in their Big 12 opener. The day had finally arrived. UH football's first-ever Big 12 game against TCU Horned Frogs, the national champions a year ago. Despite a rainy afternoon, the sky cleared by game time, but the Cougars were unprepared for TCU's hurry-up offense, as they went right down the field and scored a touchdown on their first drive. 

After three plays, TCU crossed right over midfield, ending the drive with a 33-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chandler Morris to Warren Thompson. 

One of the highlights of the Cougars' first drive was a 53-yard pass completed to sophomore wide receiver Samuel Brown on 3rd and 11. As a result of the seven-play, 48-yard drive, Houston was forced to settle for a 44-yard field goal to make it 7-3. UH's defense then forced a fumble, which was recovered on the first play of the second drive, but the Cougars were unable to score after failing to convert on fourth and short. 

A 48-yard field goal attempt by Houston in Horned Frogs territory was missed once again. After going for it on 4th down, TCU decided to go for it again, but senior nickelback Malik Fleming intercepted Morris and returned it 35 yards to the Cougar 48-yard line, setting up the Cougars again. The interception was Fleming's third of the season, following two interceptions against UTSA earlier in the season. 

Another fourth-and-one opportunity was missed by the Cougars under head coach Dana Holgorsen. With a pass intended for senior tight end Mike O Laughlin, UH failed to score. A 14-play drive by TCU, which took more than five and a half minutes from near the back of their end zone, resulted in Griffin Kell's 40-yard field goal.

Houston's next drive ended with an interception by junior quarterback Donovan Smith to sophomore safety Bud Clark at the UH 46-yard line, resulting in another TCU field goal to make the score 13-3. As a 3-point game was about to turn, sophomore receiver Golden took matters into his own hands by returning the kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. While the crowd roared, he fought through a tackle and ran it all the way back. Within just over two minutes, TCU answered back with a touchdown of their own. RB Emani Bailey scored from 16 yards out to make it 20-10. 

UH's freshman running back Parker Jenkins returned a 47-yard kickoff for UH to cut the deficit to 20-13 at the half. A long 31-yard touchdown by wideout Savion Williams extended TCU's lead to 26-13 in the third quarter. The offense failed to put together a drive on any of UH's first three drives, which resulted in consecutive three-and-outs.

Kell added another field goal to TCU's lead during the fourth quarter, making it 29-13 going into the half.  As the Horned Frogs started the final frame, they had the longest drive of the game but were unable to convert a 50-yard field goal. As UH was unable to answer back, TCU piled it on and added another touchdown as junior running back Trey Sanders punched it in from 18 yards out to make it 36-13. 

In total, UH had 266 yards of offense while TCU had 564 yards. Despite 27 rushing attempts, the Cougars only managed 41 rushing yards. The Houston Cougars dropped to 1-2 on the season and will face Sam Houston State next Saturday at home.

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