Matthew Golden, WR
Another talented Houston wideout that troubles many opposing defenses is the 6-foot and 190-pound Golden. The preseason Athlon Sports All-Big 12 First Team wide receiver, Golden, is a threat on offense and special teams for the Cougars.
Golden already has two kicks returned for touchdowns this season. He returned a kick for 100 yards to the house for the Cougars last week in a score that proved critical in the two-point last-second win over West Virginia.
Golden is yet another versatile and elusive receiver who threatens opposing defenses when he gets in space after the catch. He’s most dangerous when he can create separation in developing route concepts or when he gets the ball in space with room to run after the catch.
The goal is simple: let Golden create space with his speed and elusiveness.
He’s targeted almost equally behind the line of scrimmage in the short and intermediate passing game. Houston is utilizing him more sparingly in the deep passing game this season, largely due to a lack of chemistry thus far between him and starting quarterback Donovan Smith.
Golden has hauled in just two of seven targets on the deep ball this season.
While Golden might not have the same Big 12-leading receiving stats that Brown boasts this season, he’s still putting up big numbers on offense and special teams. Golden is on pace to eclipse the numbers he posted during his breakout true freshman campaign, with 27 catches on the season for 295 receiving yards and four touchdown catches.
Part of the reason for Golden’s dip in targets compared to the other top wideouts for the Cougars this season could be the drop issues he had early in the 2023 campaign. Golden had a whopping six drops in the first three games of the season, good for most of any Big 12 wideout in that span.
But Golden has seemingly corrected the drop issues in the last few weeks. He has no drops on 18 targets and 15 catches in the last three games. Golden is second among Big 12 wide receivers in reception percentage in the last three weeks, only behind Texas’ Xavier Worthy.
When Golden was targeted in the last three weeks, good things happened. Golden has averaged over 10 yards per catch in each of the last three games, with over seven yards after the catch per reception and three missed tackles forced.