Houston 34, Vanderbilt 0: What We Learned
The Cougars absolutely hammered one of the SEC's worst teams.
The SEC has been the nation’s best football conference for a decade, and the Coogs took a play out of the conference’s playbook. The Cougars’ defense will appear in Vanderbilt nightmares for a long time because they shut down the Commodores on Saturday. It forced four turnovers, including two in the third quarter. Quarterbacks Johnny McCrary and Kyle Shurmur had no answer, combining for 44 passing yards and three interceptions. One of those was a pick six, returned 55 yards for a score. William Jackson III, who made the play, was one of three players who intercepted a pass for Houston.
Where was the offense?
Houston earned an important win against a power five opponent, but its normally potent offense was hiding under the covers tonight. Don’t know what they were scared of because the win was theirs by halftime. You can’t tell in the stat sheet, but Greg Ward wasn’t his normal self. The Cougars totaled 371 yards in their 34-0 win, but they were off their explosive, high-flying game. It was a struggle from the get-go, and the Cougars finished with three turnovers. They fumbled on their opening drive and totaled negative yards on their next two drives. A short scoring drive followed, but it required the defense to make a play. It was the first of two offensive touchdowns that followed a Vanderbilt turnover, and the defense added seven points on one of its plays. In a sense, Houston was accountable for three touchdowns tonight. Way below the team’s season average (47.6), prior to the game.
The Coogs survived an awful third quarter.
It was a sloppy third quarter by both teams, but both sides of the ball showed up for Houston. Vanderbilt and Houston combined for four turnovers in the quarter’s first five drives. Vanderbilt and Houston traded fumbles on the first two drives, and Houston added a fumble after the Vandy punt. Houston scored the only two touchdowns, but one came on Vandy’s pick six, and the other arrived on Houston’s final drive of the quarter.