Houston’s follow-up to its upset of Louisville was quite the dud.
A week after dominating the then-No. 5 Cardinals, Houston lost 48-44 to Memphis as quarterback Riley Ferguson found wide receiver Anthony Miller for a game-winning touchdown with 19 seconds left.
Miller’s second TD of the day came after Houston QB Greg Ward found WR Chance Allen for a three-yard touchdown and a 44-41 lead with 1:29 left. And as the Memphis drive took 1:10 off the clock, the clock management of Houston coach Tom Herman was quite questionable.
The Cougars went exceptionally fast on the drive for its final score and didn’t use any timeouts. Then, as Memphis neared the goal line and time ticked away, Herman kept his timeouts in his back pocket. Having three timeouts for a potential game-winning drive is nice. But it’s almost impossible for a game-winning TD drive to happen in just 19 seconds.
Faith in your defense is nice too. But the Houston defense was gashed for over 550 yards, including 409 passing yards by Ferguson. And Memphis needed just a field goal to tie. It wasn’t like Houston had to force the Tigers into needing a touchdown.
The Louisville win helped reignite chatter about Herman’s candidacy for a job at a top Power Five school. That chatter went into overdrive over Thanksgiving, as reports surfaced he was nearing a deal with LSU and Texas may also be interested in his services as coach in 2017.
Given the Cougars’ performance, Herman’s agents are likely happy those reports didn’t wait 24 hours to emerge. Memphis, meanwhile, avenges a one-point loss to the Cougars from 2015 that allowed the Cougars to win the AAC West and eventually go to the Peach Bowl.
Houston finishes the regular season at 9-3 as Navy wins the AAC’s West division. And Herman’s record as Houston’s coach is now (and possibly forever) at 22-4.
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