Houston and host Kansas State clash for first time
Houston's narrow loss to Texas and Kansas State's blowout win over TCU last week set the stage for the first-ever clash between the Cougars and Wildcats on Saturday in Manhattan, Kan.
Houston (3-4, 1-3 Big 12) took then-No. 8 Texas to the wire last Saturday, and a controversial call late in the game may have prevented the upset from happening. Houston trailed 31-24 but was threatening to tie the game late in the fourth quarter.
On a third-and-1 from the Texas 10-yard line, Cougars running back Stacy Sneed appeared to advance the ball past the first-down marker but was spotted short by the officiating crew. On fourth-and-inches, Donovan Smith's pass fell incomplete, giving the ball back to the Longhorns to run out the clock.
"The spot was horrible," a frustrated Houston coach Dana Holgorsen said after the game. "I thought we got the first down.
"... I don't understand review, every time I think something is reviewable, I can't get them to review it. They say they're looking at it, but I don't know that."
Two days later, at his Monday press conference, he reiterated his belief. "I think we got the first down. Everybody thinks we got the first down. I think we would have scored, went for two and won the game, 32-31."
The disappointment overshadowed an outstanding effort by Smith, who threw for 378 yards and three scores.
His skills could spell trouble for Kansas State (5-2, 3-1), which ranks next to last in the Big 12 allowing 254.3 passing yards per game.
"I'm really impressed with Houston," K-State coach Chris Klieman said. "They went toe-to-toe with Texas and really had a chance to win. That's our league. You'd better have your A-game every week or you're going to get knocked off.
"(Smith) is a really good player. If you watch the tape of explosive runs and big-time throws, he makes that offense go."
The Wildcats effectively rotated two quarterbacks during their 41-3 rout of TCU last Saturday. Starter Will Howard threw three touchdown passes, while Avery Johson rushed for 73 yards and tossed one TD pass.
Klieman wouldn't say if the rotation would continue against the Cougars, but it's worked well so far.
--Field Level Media
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