Houston will get its toughest test of the season when old Southwest Conference foe Texas Tech visits on Saturday afternoon. The high-scoring Red Raiders will try to snap the Cougar’s home win streak - a FBS-best 16 straight.
Senior Nic Shimonek leads the nation with 463.5 passing yards while the Red Raiders are first in passing yards (496 per game) and total offense (620.5) and tied for fourth is scoring (54 points). Shimonek is third nationally in completion percentage (78.8, just behind Houston junior Kyle Allen’s FBS-leading 86.2 percent. The Houston defense - ranked seventh nationally in scoring at 9.5 points and allowing an American Athletic Conference-best 166 passing yards per game- will try to slow down the Red Raiders while the offense tries to keep up. “Probably the biggest thing that pops into your mind as a coach on how to prepare your team mentally for this game is that there are a lot of ebbs and flows, because there’s so many points scored,” Houston coach Major Applewhite told the media Monday. “That’s if we’re doing our job offensively. You have to stay in it, you can’t pay attention to the scoreboard.”
TV: Noon ET, ABC/ESPN2. LINE: Houston -6.5.
ABOUT TEXAS TECH (2-0): Shimonek (63-of-80 for 927 yards, nine touchdowns, zero interceptions) threw for 543 yards last week in his second career start - a 52-45 victory over Arizona State. Keke Coutee has 17 catches for 285 yards and three scores, leading the country with 142.5 receiving yards per game. Dylan Cantrell (two TDs) and Cameron Batson (one) each have 12 receptions while running backs Desmon Nisby and Justin Stockon have combined for 196 yards and two touchdowns.
ABOUT HOUSTON (2-0): Allen (56-of-65 for 534 yards, three TDs, two inteceptions) and the Cougars are thin at receiver after top targets Linell Bonner (19 catches, 191 yards) and Steven Dunbar (12, 129) because of injuries. Senior linebacker Matthew Adams leads the Cougars with 19 tackles, while junior safety Garret Davis has 18 stops for a defense that has recorded five turnovers and four sacks. Houston leads the country in kick return average (46.7 yards) thanks in part to John Leday’s 81-yard return at Arizona two weeks ago.
1. The Red Raiders have won six of their past seven non-conference road games and are 10-2 overall in non-conference play under coach Kliff Kingsbury.
2. Houston sophomore DT Ed Oliver (25.5 in 15 games) leads the nation with a career average of 1.7 tackles for loss per game.
3. Kingsbury began his coaching career as a quality control assistant (2008-09), quarterbacks coach (2010) and co-offensive coordinator (2011) at Houston.
PREDICTION: Texas Tech 45, Houston 31