For the first time since 2001, the No. 8 Texas Longhorns are heading to Houston to take on the Houston Cougars, rekindling a rivalry from the days of the old Southwest Conference.
The matchup has an air of familiarity to it, not just because the teams played annually for two decades. The Cougars are led by Dana Holgorsen, who once helmed the West Virginia Mountaineers during their time in the Big 12, and Donovan Smith, who was the quarterback for Texas Tech a year ago during the upset in Lubbock. The two, much like the entirety of the Houston fanbase, would be able to hang their hat on this win for years to come if the three-score underdogs managed to come out on top.
However, it will be an uphill climb for the Cougars.
A week ago, UH won on a last-second Hail Mary over West Virginia, aided by a celebration after the Mountaineers scored what would have been the winning touchdown. The last-second win gave the Cougars their first conference win of the year and avoided their second set of back-to-back losses in the first half of the season. In all but one of their games, UH has given up more than 35 points, the lone outlier being an ugly rock fight with UTSA to open the year. They followed that with an overtime loss to Rice and a beating at the hands of TCU.
Offensively, they’ve been able to move the ball with Smith’s arms, but the quarterback can only do so much if the defense gives up five touchdowns per game.
It’s a test to see where this team’s head is at coming off a bye week and a tough loss to the Sooners. If Texas is them, they should curb-stomp this Cougars team. I know they were the talk of the town last week but let’s not get things mixed up - the Longhorns are a three-touchdown favorite for a reason. If they sleepwalk into this game and it’s close in the 4th quarter, I’ll be concerned.
- Injury updates and notes from Steve Sarkisian’s Thursday media availability
- Cougars host rare visit by the Longhorns
- Improved Texas defense gets a second chance to face Donovan Smith
- ‘Embrace the Hate’ tour continues as No. 8 Texas faces Houston
“I’ve got a lot of comments (from fans),” Holgorsen said Monday. “‘Just beat Texas. Don’t care if you win any other of them, but you gotta win that one. ‘You can go 1-11 and it’s okay if you beat Texas.’ Well, beating Texas is going to be hard. We know that.”
- Senior CB Ryan Watts (ankle) — game-time decision
- Senior S Jalen Catalon (arm) — game-time decision
- Junior C Jake Majors (leg) — game-time decision
- Junior TE Ja’Tavion Sanders (ankle) — game-time decision
- Sophomore OL Cole Hutson (knee) — game-time decision
- Sophomore DT Kris Ross (elbow) — game-time decision
How to watch:
Time: 3:00 p.m. Central
Livestream: Fox Sports Live
Radio: Texassports.com. Broadcasts are also available on Sirius 132, XM 199, and App Ch. 953
Weather: Mostly sunny, 91 degrees, wind SW 6 mph, zero-percent chance of rain
*Odds/lines are subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.