Houston falters in second half, loses opener to Texas Tech

By Tyler Tyre, Times Sports Editor
Posted 9/5/21

“We didn’t do a very good job in the second half from an offensive perspective,” Houston coach Dana Holgorsen said. “That’s one of the worst halves I’ve ever been a part of. I admit that, I own that and we’ll work hard on trying to fix that.”

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Houston falters in second half, loses opener to Texas Tech

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For the first half of the University of Houston’s season opener, it seemed like everything that could go the Cougars way did.

But football is a 60 minute game, and as right as things well things went in the first 30 minutes for the Cougars, the second half was the opposite.

The Cougars had no answer for Texas Tech, as the Red Raiders reeled off 31 unanswered points in the second half to take a 38-21 victory as Houston started the season with a loss Saturday at NRG Stadium.

“We didn’t do a very good job in the second half from an offensive perspective,” Houston coach Dana Holgorsen said. “That’s one of the worst halves I’ve ever been a part of. I admit that, I own that and we’ll work hard on trying to fix that.”

Texas Tech trimmed Houston’s lead to seven on its opening drive of the third quarter as Tyler Shough ran in a touchdown from eight yards out. On the first play of the ensuing drive, Riko Jeffers intercepted Clayton Tune and returned it 13 yards for a touchdown to tie the game.

After another Tune interception, the Red Raiders took the lead on a 34-yard field goal by Jonathan Garibay.

Texas Tech put things away in the fourth quarter on an eight play, 71-yard drive that ended with a Shough pass to Xavier White from three yards out.

“I think they just wore just out,” Holgerson said. “They wore us out.”

Tune had a strong start to the game, as he led Houston on an eight-minute, 16 play, 75 yard drive to start the game, culminating in a 1-yard quarterback sneak for a touchdown.

Houston caught Texas Tech napping on a surprise onside kick, and the Cougars added to their lead after an eight play drive as Tune completed a 23-yard touchdown pass to Nathaniel Dell.  

“We were up and I felt good about the momentum,” Holgerson said. “The onside was there and we play to win, it worked out and got us the lead.”

Texas Tech got on the board with a touchdown in the second quarter, but Tune again had an answer, as he hooked up with Seth Green for a 9-yard score with 23 seconds remaining in the half and Houston went into the locker room with a 21-7 lead.

Houston finished with just 53 yards of total offense while allowing the red Raiders to accumulate 246 yards of offense in the second half.

Tune threw four interceptions, three of which came in the third and fourth quarters, and finished he night 27-38 for 174 yards and two touchdowns passing.

Dell finished the game with a career-high seven catches for 80 yards and a score. Mulbah Car rushed for 37 yards on 13 carries. Defensively, Donavan Mutin had a team-high eight tackles and forced a fumble.

“They just came out in the second half and did some things,” Tune said. “They got after us a little and we just didn’t make as many plays. That’s what it comes down to.”

Houston will have a chance to get into the win column when they face Rice at 5 p.m. Saturday at Rice Stadium.

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