There’s no room for detractors on the #htowntakeover bandwagon. There’s also no need for people to doubt the University of Houston football program under head coach Tom Herman.
Stand in the way of the steamroller Herman has created at your own risk. Whether you’re a local radio station or “Big game” Bob Stoops, everyone is discovering it’s foolish to stand in Herman’s way as he leads the Coogs to the top of the college football mountain.
After completely out-coaching Bob Stoops it’s clear Herman is among the best coaches in college football.
UH finished Herman’s first season by dominating FSU 38-24 in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. They started the 2016 season with an equally impressive 33-23 victory over Oklahoma in the Advocare Kickoff Classic at NRG stadium.
“We were prepared to win. We expected to win. We train to win,” Herman said. “It wasn’t about making a statement, it was about going 1-0 the first week of the season.”
It may not have been about making a statement, but make one they did. What looked like it was going to be an offensive track meet early, was fine with the Cougars. The Sooners took the opening kickoff and marched easily down the field capped by a Joe Mixon 32-yard rush for a touchdown and a 7-0 Sooner lead. The Coogs responded by going 71-yards in ten plays for a drive that ended with a Ty Cummings 35-yard field goal.
Oklahoma’s second drive started with a 60-yard completion to a wide open Mixon, but the UH defense stiffened and held OU to a field goal. The Cougars responded with another field goal on a drive that short circuited in the red zone.
From this point on (early in the second quarter) Houston began to dominate on both sides of the ball. After forcing the Sooners into a three-and-out, Greg Ward, Jr. led the Coogs to a 13-10 lead finding Duke Catalon wide open in the left flat for a 15-yard touchdown.
A bust in coverage allowed Oklahoma to retake the lead when Baker Mayfield found Mark Anderson behind the coverage for a 64-yard touchdown. UH responded with a pair of field goal drives to take a 19-17 halftime lead.
On the Sooners first possession of the second half, Mayfield moved them down the field for what looked like a go-ahead touchdown drive, but the UH defense sacked Mayfield on a first and ten at the UH 28, then dropped Mixon for a two-yard loss on a flat pass on second down, forcing Austin Seibert into a 53-yard field goal attempt on fourth down. Seibert’s try was fielded by Brandon Wilson with his feet millimeters from the back of the end zone. From there Wilson went 109-yards for a touchdown and a 26-17 Houston lead.
Two plays later the Cougars recovered a Jarvis Baxter fumble and methodically drove 51-yards in 12 plays for a 33-17 lead. The Sooners eventually found the endzone with 1:58 remaining, but it was too little too late.
For Oklahoma it’s another disappointing performance in a “big game” for “Big Game Bob.” For Herman and the Houston Cougars it’s another example of why you cannot doubt this team. Houston is 4-0 as an underdog under Herman. It will take the postseason before the Cougars will have an opportunity to pad that record.
As the Big 12 contemplates which teams it will offer expansion bids to, 71,060 screaming fans – the majority of which appeared to be Cougar fans – and the fact that UH knocked off the predicted favorite for this year’s Big 12 title should be reason enough to include the Cougars in any possible expansion.