Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson
During its last two games, Houston has come from behind to defeat No. 5 Oklahoma State and Texas Tech in grand fashion.
While coach Kevin Sumlin has likened that resiliency to the growing maturity of this year’s Cougars, the seeds of that resiliency were planted during a couple of games last season. Against SMU and UTEP last year, the Cougars made last-minute comebacks to win. Against SMU, Houston scored two touchdowns in the final 2:34 to win 44-38. Against UTEP, quarterback Case Keenum ran in a touchdown with 41 seconds remaining to give the Cougars a 42-37 win.
Sumlin said the team believes that because of the potency of its offense, it's never out of a game.
“There were a number of situations where we had to come from behind because of our so-called slow starts last year,” Sumlin said. “Our quarterback and our offense gives our team an attitude that we’re never out of a game and that we can win any game.”
But in both the Oklahoma State and Texas Tech wins this season, it was the defense that helped spur the offense on. After Keenum found Bryce Beall in the end zone for the go-ahead score against the Cowboys, the defense sealed it with a pick-6.
On the final three possessions against Texas Tech, the Houston defense got a turnover, a goal line stand, and a four-and-out. It was that four-and-out that gave the ball back to the Houston offense, which marched 95 yards for the game-winning score.
“Anytime you win games like that, it’s a team win,” Sumlin said. “You can’t win competitive games with one side of the ball.”
Sumlin is happy his team has shown that fight early especially with a grueling schedule coming up. Houston is on the road each of the next three weeks, including Saturday’s game against a UTEP team that has played the Cougars tough each of the past two seasons.
Sumlin knows that the resiliency his team showed the first two games and even last season with continue to pay off as the year progresses.