College Football News Preview 2020: Houston Cougars Keys To The Season
Biggest Key To The Houston Cougars Offense
The passing game has to start working again. Houston might have had a disappointing 2018 season, but at least it cranked up over 3,800 passing yards with 45 touchdowns and just nine picks. Last year’s attack? 2,440 yards, 19 touchdowns, 12 interceptions.
Of course the shutdown of the offense was a part of it, but the machine didn’t work when D’Eriq King was playing, either. The O only came up with two 300-yard games – both losses – and those were the only two with more than 240 yards. The Cougars managed double-digit passing touchdowns in just five games.
In 2018, the offense came up with nine games with 240 yards or more with three or more scoring passes in every regular season game but one.
Biggest Key To The Houston Cougars Defense
More sacks, more pressure, more big plays. The pressure into the backfield will come – there are way too many good options to not find a few who can grow into stars – and the secondary is loaded with nice prospects, veterans and transfers.
Now the takeaways have to emerge.
The 2018 Houston defense managed 24 takeaways, and last year’s version generated just 14. It wasn’t just the ten turnover drop; it was that they just weren’t there in key times.
There were two recovered fumbles in the opener against Oklahoma, four takeaways in the win over Tulsa, and eight total in the other ten games with no more than one takeaway in any one of them.
Key Houston Cougars Player To A Successful Season
QB Clayton Tune, Jr.
Tune got a nice tune-up for seven games last season. The 6-3, 215-pounder took over once D’Eriq King took the rest of the season off and then took his talents to South Beach, Tune hit 59% of his passes for 1,533 yards and 11 touchdowns and nine picks, and he wasn’t consistent.
Granted, he rarely had a ton of time, but and the team lost the two times he and the passing game went off, but he’s it. He’s the make-or-break guy for what needs to be a far stronger season. As he goes, so go the Houston Cougars.
Key Game To The Houston Cougars Season
at Memphis, Sept. 18
Memphis has won four straight in the series as the star of the American Athletic Conference West division – there aren’t any more divisions, but it’s what Houston was supposed to be.
This time around, Dana Holgorsen and the Cougars can make a massive statement in their conference opener. Win this on the road, and there’s hope that there’s a payoff for everything that happened last year. Lose, and with at Navy, at Cincinnati, at SMU and UCF still to play, there might be a big problem.
– Houston Cougars Schedule
2019 Houston Fun Stats
– Penalties: Opponents 91 for 826 yards – 58 for 579 yards
– 3rd Quarter Scoring: Opponents 116 – Houston 55
– Red Zone TDs: Opponents 34-of-45 (76%) – Houston 22-of-43 (51%)