4 things to watch in Houston-Prairie View A&M game


HOUSTON – Constant improvement on a weekly basis is what University of Houston head coach Dana Holgorsen and his staff preach to their players.

The Cougars will be the favorite this week against Prairie View A&M.

Here are some things to watch Saturday at 7 p.m.:

1. Fast start

Last week in Norman, Oklahoma, the Cougars took on the No. 4-ranked Sooners.

UH quarterback D’Eriq King admitted he thought the offense got off to a slow start. At halftime, Houston’s offense had 149 total yards and six first downs.

A fast start is expected when Houston hosts Prairie View A&M in their home opener at TDECU Stadium.

“We have a lot of video that we can watch, so we can look at what we can do better and what needs to change,” Holgorsen said.

2. Prairie View's senior running back, Dawanya Tucker

Tucker is coming off a 1,000-yard rushing season, earning second-team All-SWAC honors. After Week 1, Tucker leads the FCS in rushing yards (188), plus the yards per carry average with 17.1. In Prairie View's season opener against Texas Southern, Tucker had 298 all-purpose yards. Tucker finished with 11 carries for 190 yards and three touchdowns.

3. UH defense could gain confidence

One of the best ways to learn is from experience. Houston’s defense got some valuable experience in their new system last week.

“Defensively, they were obviously pretty motivated, especially because they were playing for a new coordinator. It doesn't matter who you're playing at this point, it matters about being able to improve and fix a mistake from the first time," Holgorsen said.

Since 1960, Houston has won 27 consecutive games against FCS opponents. UH's average margin of victory is 36 points.

In front of their home crowd, expect the defense to fly around and gain more confidence in the new system.

4. Get rest for starters

The Cougars play their next three games in 18 days. If Houston manages to jump out to a big early lead, look for some starters to get some rest.

“We have a routine that we try to get into, and it's a little tougher this week because we have six days and not seven, but that's something we have to get used to because a lot of our schedule is like that,” Holgorsen said.

Even though it’s early in the season and the new coaching staff wants to get more in-game film with their players in the new system, Holgorsen still knows maintaining health is important.