Nov 5, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans offensive tackle Tytus Howard (71) walks off the field after the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Texans place OL Tytus Howard on IR, waive CB Shaquill Griffin

The Houston Texans placed offensive lineman Tytus Howard on injured reserve Wednesday with a knee injury.

Multiple reports said Howard requires season-ending surgery after being hurt in Sunday’s loss to Jacksonville.

He started the last seven games for the Texans (6-5) after missing the first four games with a broken hand.

Howard, 27, was Houston’s first-round draft pick (23rd overall) in 2019 and signed a three-year, $56 million extension in July. He moved from his customary right tackle position to left guard.

He has started all 61 of his games in the NFL. Rookie Juice Scruggs replaced Howard after he was helped off the field in the loss to the Jaguars.

The Texans also waived Shaquill Griffin and added fellow cornerback Desmond King II to the active roster. Linebacker Denzel Perryman also rejoined the 53-man roster, while kicker Matt Ammendola and linebacker Garret Wallow were signed to the practice squad.

Griffin, 28, played in 10 games (six starts) this season and had 33 tackles and one interception. The 2019 Pro Bowl selection has 360 tackles and seven picks in 86 games (78 starts) with the Seattle Seahawks (2017-20), Jaguars (2021-22) and Texans.

–Field Level Media

Nov 18, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Cougars head coach Dana Holgorsen looks on prior to the game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Houston dismisses head coach Dana Holgorsen

Houston parted ways with Dana Holgorsen after five seasons as its head coach, multiple media outlets reported on Sunday.

The reported move comes one day after the Cougars dropped a 27-13 decision to UCF in Orlando, Fla. Houston finished with a 4-8 record overall and 2-7 conference mark in their Big 12 debut season.

The Houston Chronicle reported UTSA’s Jeff Traylor, Tulane coach Willie Fritz, former TCU coach Gary Patterson, and former Texas Tech and Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury are among the candidates to replace Holgorsen.

Holgorsen has posted a 12-13 record since the Cougars appeared in the American Athletic Conference championship game in 2021. Overall, he owns a 31-28 mark during his time with Houston and a 61-41 record during his eight previous seasons with West Virginia.

Holgorsen will be owed close to $14.5 million by the school on a contract that was extended after the AAC championship game. He is owed $4.4 million in 2024, $4.5 million in 2025, $2.76 million in 2026 and $2.82 million in 2027, per the Chronicle.

–Field Level Media

Nov 18, 2023; Lubbock, Texas, USA;  Central Florida Knights running back RJ Harvey (7) rushes against Texas Tech Red Raiders defensive end Jacob Rodriguez (10) in the first half at Jones AT&T Stadium and Cody Campbell Field. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

UCF takes on Houston, bids to become bowl eligible

UCF will look to capitalize on its second opportunity to become bowl eligible when it hosts Houston on Saturday afternoon in Big 12 Conference action in Orlando, Fla.

The first chance did not go well for the Knights (5-6, 2-6), who squandered a 14-point lead and dropped a 24-23 decision to Texas Tech last Saturday. The win allowed the Red Raiders to become bowl eligible.

Now, UCF will need to defeat another first-time Big 12 member in Houston in order to become bowl eligible for the eighth straight season. The Knights and Cougars spent the previous 10 campaigns in the American Athletic Conference.

UCF will honor its seniors before Saturday’s high-stakes matchup, which is a fact not lost on fifth-year quarterback John Rhys Plumlee.

“I try to cherish the moment, cherish the opportunity I have,” Plumlee said, per the Orlando Sentinel. “This will be another opportunity for me to do just that. (To) be thankful for the opportunity presented and then get a win for the Knights.”

RJ Harvey rushed for two touchdowns against Texas Tech, boosting his total to eight in the last three games and 14 for the season.

While UCF is bidding to become bowl eligible, Houston (4-7, 2-6) squandered a chance at that goal by losing four of its last five games. The Cougars fell 43-30 to Oklahoma State last week.

Undaunted, Houston coach Dana Holgorsen said Saturday’s game should have plenty of meaning for his team.

“This is a Big 12 Conference matchup,” Holgorsen said. “Us and (UCF) are going through the same thing. It’s all transition. It’s hard every week. If that helps being a spoiler, so to speak, then sure, we’re always going to use whatever we can use from a motivation perspective to try and give you any kind of advantage.”

Against the Cowboys, Donovan Smith threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to Jonah Wilson, rushed for a 31-yard score, and reeled in a 28-yard TD pass from Joseph Manjack IV.

–Field Level Media

Nov 18, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys safety Trey Rucker (9) tackles Houston Cougars quarterback Donovan Smith (1) during the first half at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

No. 23 Oklahoma State rallies past Houston, 43-30

No. 23 Oklahoma State scored 27 unanswered points spanning the halves to rally for a 43-30 victory over host Houston on Saturday.

The Cowboys (8-3, 6-2 Big 12) posted 501 yards of offense in the comeback effort.

Oklahoma State trailed 23-9 with 4:16 remaining in the first half but scored 10 points in a span of 90 seconds to gain momentum heading into halftime.

Cowboys quarterback Alan Bowman hit Leon Johnson III with a 21-yard scoring strike and, after forcing Houston into a three-and-out, Alex Hale kicked a 21-yard field goal with no time left to trail 23-19 at halftime.

A pair of 6-yard touchdown runs by Ollie Gordon II in the third quarter gave the Cowboys State a 33-23 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Gordon rushed for 164 yards and had three TD runs.

Hale connected for a 44-yarder to give the Cowboys a 36-23 lead with 9:45 remaining.

Dylan Smith broke Houston’s scoring drought with a 31-yard touchdown run with 7:30 remaining.

Gordon scored again, this time from 3 yards out, to push OSU’s advantage to 43-30 with 2:19 left.

The Cougars turned it over on downs with 1:29 remaining.

Bowman finished with 348 yards passing and two touchdowns against an interception, a pick-six. Brennan Presley had 15 catches for 189 yards for the Cowboys.

The Cougars took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on Isaiah Hamilton’s 57-yard interception return. After a Hale 46-yard FG, Houston quarterback Donovan Smith hit Jonah Wilson with a 60-yard TD bomb for the 14-3 lead after one period.

Bowman connected with Jaden Bray on a 23-yard scoring strike but the PAT was blocked.

Houston went up 21-9 on Smith’s 28-yard TD pass to Joseph Manjack IV. A safety gave Houston a 23-9 lead with 4:16 remaining until halftime.

Smith finished 17-of-29 passing for 235 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions for Houston.

–Field Level Media

Nov 11, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats running back Ryan Montgomery (22) rushes for a touchdown against the Houston Cougars in the first half at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati handles Houston, halts 7-game slide

Corey Kiner rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns to fuel visiting Cincinnati to a 24-14 victory over Houston on Saturday.

Cincinnati’s Emory Jones completed 13 of 16 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown. Ryan Montgomery reeled in a 7-yard scoring strike for the Bearcats (3-7, 1-6 Big 12), who snapped a seven-game losing skid and recorded their first Big 12 Conference victory.

Houston’s Joseph Manjack IV reeled in a pair of touchdown passes in his return from a two-game absence due to concussion protocol. Donovan Smith completed 16 of 28 passes for just 102 yards with three interceptions for the Cougars (4-6, 2-5), who were thwarted in their bid to win consecutive games for the first time this season.

Jones found Montgomery over the middle to cap an 11-play, 75-yard opening drive and give Cincinnati a 7-0 lead. Montgomery’s receiving touchdown was his first of the season.

Smith answered with a 12-play, 83-yard drive, capped by Smith finding Manjack in the corner of the end zone with 14:04 left in the second quarter.

Kiner bulled his way in from 1 yard out to give the Bearcats a 14-7 lead with 8:04 remaining in the second quarter.

Cincinnati appeared primed to take control of the game after Deshawn Pace intercepted Smith in the second quarter, however he was stripped of the ball by Manjack to return the possession back to Houston.

The Bearcats, however, set the tone on the first play from scrimmage, as Dorian Jones reeled in a deflected pass for an interception. Carter Jones drilled a 31-yard field goal to extend Cincinnati’s lead to 17-7 at 8:25 of the third quarter.

Kiner rumbled up the middle from 5 yards out with 8:47 remaining in the fourth quarter for his fifth touchdown of the season and third in his last two weeks.

Smith connected with Manjack from 2 yards out with 3:22 left to cap the scoring.

–Field Level Media

Nov 4, 2023; Waco, Texas, USA;  Houston Cougars tight end Mike O'Laughlin (17) makes a catch against Baylor Bears cornerback Caden Jenkins (19) and linebacker Garmon Randolph (55) during the first half at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Donovan Smith powers Houston over Baylor in OT

Donovan Smith scored a game-winning two-point conversion run in overtime to lead visiting Houston past Baylor 25-24 on Saturday in Waco, Texas.

Baylor’s Dawson Pendergrass rushed for a 1-yard touchdown on the first possession of overtime and Blake Shapen passed for two scores, but it wasn’t enough for the Bears (3-6, 2-4 Big 12).

A penalty against Houston on Baylor’s OT possession forced the Cougars to start from the Bears’ 40-yard line in OT.

Smith was 20-of-25 passing for 217 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions while rushing for 58 yards. Nelson Ceaser had 2 1/2 sacks and Treylin Payne added 1 1/2 for Houston.

Houston (4-5, 2-4) held on after a wild second half.

Baylor rallied to tie the score with 29 seconds left in regulation, as Shapen connected with Hawkins Polley for a 1-yard touchdown to cap an 11-play, 74-yard drive. A missed 44-yard field goal attempt by the Cougars set up the tying drive for the Bears.

Shapen was 29-of-37 for 263 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

The Cougars capitalized on a fourth-down defensive stop to open the scoring. After Payne sacked Shapen on fourth-and-6 from the Cougars’ 43, forcing a Bears turnover on downs, Houston wasted little time scoring first.

Smith completed three consecutive passes, the last for a 26-yard touchdown to Samuel Brown with 8:03 remaining in the second quarter.

Baylor appeared to score a tying 21-yard touchdown in the final minute of the first half, as Shapen threaded a tight pass to Josh Cameron. However, a booth review revealed that Cameron didn’t have full possession of the ball when he went to the ground.

The Bears settled for a 38-yard field goal attempt, but Isaiah Hankins missed wide right. Jamaree Caldwell blocked Hankins’ attempt from 49 yards out with 7:55 left in the first quarter.

Jack Martin kicked a 31-yard field goal on the opening drive of the third quarter to extend Houston’s lead to 10-0.

Baylor drew to within three points behind some trickery. A double-reverse pass resulted in a 38-yard touchdown connection from Shapen to Drake Dabney with 2:20 left in the third quarter. Hankins hit a 27-yard field goal to tie the score at 10 with 8:18 left.

Dabney had four catches for 76 yards.

–Field Level Media

Oct 12, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Cougars wide receiver Matthew Golden (2) runs the ball back for a touchdown on a kick off during the first quarter against the West Virginia Mountaineers  at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Hail Mary TD pass on final play lifts Houston over West Virginia

Donovan Smith hit Stephon Johnson Jr. with a 49-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass on the game’s final play to lift Houston to a 41-39 win over visiting West Virginia on Thursday in a wild Big 12 Conference game.

The scoring play came after the Mountaineers’ Garrett Greene found Hudson Clement on a 50-yard touchdown pass on fourth down with 12 seconds to play.

Smith had just seven seconds to work with after a kickoff return to the UH 43. After an 8-yard completion, Smith threw to the end zone as time expired, where Houston’s Joseph Manjack IV leaped and tipped the ball to Johnson, who fell across the goal line for the winning points.

The Cougars (3-3, 1-2 Big 12) won their first game as a member of the Big 12 Conference after two league losses to begin their inaugural season in the conference. Smith finished with 253 yards and four touchdowns passing.

Greene ended up passing for 391 yards and two touchdowns and added 47 yards and two scores on the ground as West Virginia (4-2, 2-1) had a four-game winning streak snapped.

The Mountaineers struck first on a 27-yard field goal by Michael Haynes at the 4:16 mark of the first quarter. Houston needed just 13 seconds to respond, the time elapsed in a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Matthew Golden.

West Virginia went back to the front with a 5-yard scoring run by CJ Donaldson with 13 seconds to play in the opening quarter. Houston’s offense finally broke through on Smith’s 2-yard TD run that gave the Cougars a 14-10 lead with 28 seconds to go until halftime.

Greene hit Traylon Ray with a 35-yard scoring pass on the Mountaineers’ opening possession of the third quarter to push West Virginia to a 17-14 advantage. Houston answered with a 15-yard TD pass from Smith to Manjack with 5:15 to play in the third.

West Virginia made it 24-21 with a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Greene with 14:16 remaining in the game.

A Smith 5-yard scoring throw to Samuel Brown with 12:02 left pushed the Cougars into the lead, 28-24, and a 21-yard Smith-to-Johnson TD pass with 7:28 to play added to the advantage.

But West Virginia responded, cutting the lead to three points, 35-32, on an 8-yard touchdown run by Greene and a two-point conversion pass from Greene to Ray with 3:42 to play, setting the stage for the furious finish.

–Field Level Media

Jun 15, 2022; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans offensive lineman Tytus Howard (71) participates in drills during minicamp at Houston Methodist Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Texans RT Tytus Howard returns, G Kendrick Green to IR

The Houston Texans designated right tackle Tytus Howard for return from injured reserve Wednesday but placed starting left guard Kendrick Green on IR with a knee injury.

Howard missed the first four games on IR with a broken hand.

Pro Bowl left tackle Laremy Tunsil also returned to practice Wednesday after missing the past three games with pain and swelling in his knee.

The Texans may shift Howard to guard in place of the injured Green while keeping George Fant at RT, according to KPRC2 Houston.

The Texans have 21 days to activate Howard to the 53-man roster. He broke his hand during training camp, an injury that required surgery to insert two metal pins.

Green tore his meniscus and is expected to undergo season-ending surgery. He injured his right knee in Sunday’s 30-6 win over the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers, which helped Houston improve to 2-2.

Fellow OL Josh Jones practiced Wednesday with a club on his hand after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament, per KPRC2. He missed last week’s game and is expected to miss this Sunday’s game at Atlanta.

The Texans acquired Green from the Steelers on Aug. 29 for a 2025 sixth-round pick after Houston’s starting left guard, 2022 first-round pick Kenyon Green, suffered a season-ending shoulder injury during the preseason.

Howard has started all 54 games he has played since the Texans selected him with the 23rd overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Alabama State.

Howard, 27, signed a three-year, $56 million extension in July that reportedly included $36.5 million guaranteed.

In other moves Wednesday, the Texans also opened the practice window for punter Cameron Johnston and released interim P Ty Zentner.

The Texans also signed DE Derek Rivers to the active roster from the practice squad, restored S Brandon Hill to the practice squad and signed DT Taylor Stallworth to the practice squad.

–Field Level Media

Sep 30, 2023; Lubbock, Texas, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders tight end Mason Tharp (80) rushes against Houston Cougars defensive safety Antonio Brooks (20) in the first half at Jones AT&T Stadium and Cody Campbell Field. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Tech buckles down in second half to top Houston

Texas Tech leaned on its running game and second-half defense to cruise to a 49-28 victory over Houston in Lubbock, Texas, on Saturday.

The Red Raiders (2-3, 1-1 Big 12) roared back from a 21-14 deficit by scoring five of the last six touchdowns of the game, with their first three trips to the end zone during that stretch allowing them to take a 35-28 lead into halftime.

Once Texas Tech got the lead, it rode the double-barrel backfield combination of Tahj Brooks and Cam’Ron Valdez to wear the Cougars down in the second half.

Both running backs amassed 106 yards on the ground to headline a 239-yard team effort. Brooks eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the third consecutive game, while Valdez lit a fuse early in the third quarter with a 54-yard ramble and averaged 21.2 yards per carry.

Meanwhile, the Red Raiders’ defense was a completely different unit after halftime.

Houston (2-3, 0-2) moved the ball at will for the majority of the opening 30 minutes, scoring on four of its first five offensive possessions — each on drives of 75 yards. Cougars quarterback Donavan Smith, a transfer from Texas Tech, was on fire in the first half with 264 passing yards and four touchdown passes.

Smith’s hot hand helped Houston generate 365 yards of total offense in the first half, but the Red Raiders clamped down after that. The Cougars ran 34 plays after halftime but managed only 124 yards and went three-and-out twice in a row when the game was still in doubt.

Texas Tech stuck close in the first half thanks to two huge special-teams plays, as Drae McCray returned a kickoff 100 yards to make it 7-7 after Houston’s first touchdown and Loic Fouonji blocked a punt, collected the ball on a bounce and carried it 7 yards to the end zone for a go-ahead touchdown.

Moments earlier, Fouonji snared a 25-yard touchdown pass from Behren Morton to even the score at 21-21.

Morton started in place of Tyler Shough, who suffered a broken leg last week in a road loss at West Virginia. Morton was efficient throwing the ball, completing 14 of 22 passes for 161 yards and two TDs.

Smith finished with 335 yards through the air but was knocked out of his comfort zone in the second half, failing to throw for another score.

–Field Level Media

Sep 23, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Cougars wide receiver Matthew Golden (2) runs with the ball during the first quarter against the Sam Houston State Bearkats at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Houston jumps out early, rolls past Sam Houston

Donovan Smith passed for 294 yards and Parker Jenkins rushed for 105 yards on 20 carries in Houston’s 38-7 victory Saturday over visiting Sam Houston.

Smith completed 31 of 40 pass attempts with a touchdown and Jenkins scored on three touchdown runs.

Houston (2-2) amassed 538 yards of total offense compared to 178 by Sam Houston (0-3).

The Cougars took control in the first, jumping out to a 24-7 lead heading into halftime.

The Cougars did not punt in the first half. The Bearkats punted four times.

Houston put together three possessions that resulted in Jenkins touchdown runs in the first half after Sam Houston took a 7-3 lead two 6:02 left in the first quarter on a 2-yard scoring run by Trapper Pannell.

Pannell’s score was Sam Houston’s first touchdown of the season.

The Bearkats lost at BYU 14-0 and at home against Air Force 13-3 in the first two games.

Jenkins’ first touchdown run of 4 yards culminated a nine-play, 72-yard drive and his second one of 1 yard ended a nine-play, 78-yard possession.

His last touchdown, with 49 seconds left in the half, was a 2-yard run that completed an eight-play, 56-yard drive.

Houston’s first possession of the second half took 8:42 off the clock and included 15 plays for 86 yards.

Smith completed a 6-yard touchdown pass to Matthew Golden to culminate the possession that put Houston ahead 31-7.

Golden finished with nine receptions for 92 yards and three other receivers had at least 59 yards receiving.

Stacy Sneed had three catches for 65 yards, Samuel Brown four for 62 and Joseph Manjack IV six for 59.

Houston’s last touchdown was a 58-yard pass from backup quarterback Ui Ale to Sneed with 10:06 remaining.

Sam Houston quarterback Grant Gunnell, who has been with Arizona, Memphis and North Texas, completed 14 of 22 pass attempts for 100 yards with an interception.

–Field Level Media