Texas’ weapons in the receiving corps overmatch Houston’s corners
As it has on the ground, Texas’ offense will have a major matchup advantage against Houston through the air this weekend. While Houston’s secondary has some decent players with good length and athleticism, they don’t match up well against Texas’ loaded receiving corps.
Houston has been gashed through the air multiple times this season, giving up over 400 passing yards and three passing touchdowns in a loss to the Rice Owls and three-time transfer quarterback JT Daniels in Week 2. The Cougars also allowed nearly 400 passing yards and two passing touchdowns to West Virginia and starting quarterback Garrett Greene last week.
This Houston defense plays a lot of man-press coverage in the quarters scheme. Houston relies on physical man defense and safety help to clean up plays in space to get the job done in the secondary.
But shallow man coverage and the occasional blown coverages in the secondary gives speedier receivers opportunities to get separation in the intermediate and deep passing game. It also creates one-on-one opportunities for the opposing team’s best receivers to make plays in the passing game.
Houston has struggled to hang with some of the better Big 12 receiving corps they’ve faced this season. The Cougars allow a 139.4 passer rating against when its cornerbacks are targeted in one-on-one man coverage in conference play (last in the Big 12).
Against dangerous weapons such as standout junior Texas receivers Xavier Worthy and Adonai Mitchell, Houston’s secondary will need to be buttoned up and assignment-sound, or else this could be a long day for their pass defense. Worthy and Mitchell are having big campaigns for the Longhorns.
Worthy leads the Big 12 in reception percentage in conference play, bringing down every catchable ball thrown his way (94.7 reception percentage). Mitchell is also having a career year for the Longhorns, registering 25 catches for 354 receiving yards and four touchdown catches this season.