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

Sep 16, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Cougars quarterback Donovan Smith (1) hurdles TCU Horned Frogs safety Bud Clark (21) in the second half at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Houston seeks bounce-back effort vs. Sam Houston

Houston continues its season-opening run of games against in-state rivals when it plays host to Sam Houston on Saturday.

The Cougars (1-2) are coming off a 36-13 home loss to TCU in the program’s first Big 12 game.

Houston edged UTSA 17-14 at home in the season opener and lost at crosstown rival Rice 43-41 in two overtimes before falling against the Horned Frogs.

Houston quarterback Donovan Smith completed 17 of 35 passes for 225 yards and two interceptions vs. TCU, and the Cougars mustered only 41 rushing yards on 27 carries.

The offensive struggles could lead to personnel changes.

“Our job is to assess the situation, and clearly who is getting the playing time is at the top of that list,” Houston coach Dana Holgorsen said Monday. “I’m going to challenge our backups to improve. If we had backups right now that were performing at a very high level, it would make those decisions much easier.”

The Cougars allowed 564 yards of total offense overall but held TCU to 16 points in the second half.

Sam Houston, in its first season in Conference USA as it begins the transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision, has lost its first two games. The Bearkats fell 14-0 at BYU in the season opener and 13-3 last week against Air Force in Houston.

The Bearkats rank No. 12 in the nation in total defense (257.5 yards allowed per game) and No. 22 in scoring defense (13.5 points a game).

However, after running 101 plays on offense against BYU and Air Force, Sam Houston has garnered a total of 265 yards.

Against the Falcons, Sam Houston passed for 44 yards and ran for 36 yards. Quarterback Keegan Shoemaker was sacked four times by Air Force, and he completed 8 of 14 passes.

“This team has prepared at a high level. In practice, meetings and walk-throughs have been lights out,” Sam Houston coach K.C. Keeler said. “Now we have to go have success in the win-loss column. I know we lost to two good opponents, but that is what we scheduled, and we are disappointed we didn’t get any wins.”

–Field Level Media

Detroit Lions pass rusher James Houston tackles Seattle Seahawks tight end Noah Fant after a catch during the first half at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023.

Lions DE James Houston (ankle) out several weeks

Detroit Lions pass rusher James Houston is headed to injured reserve with a right ankle injury.

Houston left Ford Field wearing a boot on his right foot and surgery could be a consideration for what is reportedly a fractured ankle.

Head coach Dan Campbell said Houston would be out “for a while” in his postgame update Sunday. NFL Network reported Monday that Houston’s ankle is fractured, with a recovery window of 6-8 weeks.

Houston, 24, didn’t become a regular until late November last season and posted 8.0 sacks in seven games. In Week 1 of the 2023 season, he had a 30 percent pass-rush win rate at Kansas City.

The 2022 sixth-round draft pick left Sunday’s loss to Seattle after posting one tackle.

–Field Level Media

Sep 16, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver Warren Thompson (84) celebrates his touchdown with teammates against the Houston Cougars in the first half at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

TCU goes on road to knock off Houston, 36-13

Chandler Morris went 24-of-37 passing for 314 yards and two touchdowns to lead TCU to a 36-13 win at Houston on Saturday in a Big 12 contest.

Morris also rushed for 53 yards on 12 carries, and Emani Bailey ran for 126 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries for TCU (2-1, 1-0 Big 12).

The Horned Frogs had 35 first downs to 12 for Houston (1-2, 0-1) and outgained the Cougars, 564-280.

Leading 20-13 at halftime, TCU went up 26-13 with 12:29 left in the third quarter following a 31-yard touchdown pass from Morris to Savion Williams. The extra point was missed.

Griffin Kell then made a 37-yard field goal with 3:47 left in the third quarter to give the Horned Frogs a 29-13 lead.

TCU then all but wrapped up the game with 2:55 remaining on an 18-yard touchdown run by Trey Sanders.

TCU opened the scoring on the first drive of the game, going 75 yards in six plays and taking a 7-0 lead 1:31 into the game on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Morris to Warren Thompson.

Houston answered, cutting TCU’s lead to 7-3 with 10:06 remaining in the first quarter on a 44-yard field goal by Jack Martin.

Kell then hit a pair of field goals, a 40-yarder with 7:08 remaining in the second quarter and a 53-yarder with 5:37 to go until halftime, to give TCU a 13-3 lead.

Houston struck back on the ensuing kickoff, as Matthew Golden returned the ball 98 yards for a touchdown to make it 13-10 TCU.

The Horned Frogs countered, taking a 20-10 lead with 2:58 to go until halftime on a 16-yard touchdown run by Bailey, capping off a 6-play, 75-yard drive.

The score was 20-13 TCU at halftime after Martin made a 44-yard field goal with 56 seconds left in the first half.

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Rice Owls wide receiver Luke McCaffrey (10) makes a reception and runs for a touchdown as Houston Cougars defensive back Alex Hogan (19) defends during the third quarter at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Rice, Houston ready for anticipated rivalry game

Two seasons ago, Rice and Houston resumed a crosstown rivalry that dated to Sept. 11, 1971, a matchup that featured the Owls and Cougars battling as Southwest Conference foes and in nonconference tilts as the programs changed affiliations amid a shifting landscape.

The Owls (0-1) will host the Cougars (1-0) on Saturday at Rice Stadium with the programs again debuting with new leagues. Rice is in its inaugural season with the American Athletic Conference, which the Cougars departed to join the ever-evolving Big 12. That both have maintained their connection through the volatility is a testament to their joint commitment.

“I’ve said this: This game needs to be played,” said Houston coach Dana Holgorsen, whose Cougars fended off UTSA 17-14 last Saturday. “Us and Rice needs to be played. I support that.

“I’m sympathetic to those games. Those games are fun to be a part of. … I’d be disappointed if this game against Rice doesn’t happen.”

In advance of the Owls’ opener at 11th-ranked Texas, Rice coach Mike Bloomgren pledged that his team would not shrink in the moment and would be prepared for the stiff challenge ahead.

And, for one half, the Owls did indeed meet that challenge. Prior to the intermission, the Longhorns recorded only one touchdown, settled for a red zone field goal, and booted field goals of 46 and 49 yards while carving out a 16-3 halftime advantage. Rice displayed spirit before surrendering three third-quarter touchdowns en route to a 37-10 loss.

The Owls’ defensive pluck was undermined by their lack of offensive punch. Rice totaled 176 yards and eight first downs, committed three turnovers and converted only four of 13 third downs. For a team expecting to rely upon its skill position talent, the result was disheartening.

“I think our players and our coaching staff know that we need to grow from this,” Bloomgren said. “That’s something you always want to do; you want to have huge growth between week one and week two. It should be your biggest growth of the season. Of every great team I’ve ever been on that’s been the case. And that’s exactly what we’re striving to do this week.”

In order for that improvement to yield a tangible result, the Owls will have to do something they haven’t accomplished since Oct. 16, 2010. That marked their last victory over Houston, a 34-31 home win. Changing conference affiliations hasn’t stemmed the tide of this lopsided series, which went to the Cougars last season, 34-27.

“I know this is one that means a lot to them,” Holgorsen said of Rice, noting that the Cougars’ seven-game winning streak in the series is unprecedented. “So we will expect a challenging game. They were one play away last year, as we all remember.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 2, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Cougars quarterback Donovan Smith (1) runs with the ball during the first quarter against the UTSA Roadrunners at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Houston wins low-scoring battle with UTSA

Donovan Smith threw for two scores, the Houston defense stymied UTSA’s high-powered offense, and the Cougars won their first game as a Big 12 member by toppling the in-state Roadrunners 17-14 Saturday in Houston.

In the season opener for both teams, Smith, a junior, completed 22 of 34 for 233 yards without a turnover. He outdueled UTSA’s seventh-year southpaw quarterback Frank Harris.

Samuel Brown caught six passes for 106 yards. Joseph Manjack IV snared six for 67 yards and a touchdown.

Sporting light blue jerseys similar to the ones made famous by the hometown Houston Oilers, the Cougars intercepted Harris three times in the third quarter while leading 10-7.

In their first game as a member of the American Athletic Conference, the Roadrunners (0-1) saw Harris go 18 of 36 for 209 yards with a touchdown pass and rush for 45 yards.

Kevorian Barnes rushed for 103 yards on 16 carries and one score. Joshua Cephus recorded a career-high 123 yards on nine receptions with a touchdown.

Both teams averaged over 36 points per game in 2022, but with such explosive expectations in the matchup, the contest was dictated mostly by defense and special teams.

Houston set itself up on its third series after Malik Fleming’s 48-yard punt return to the UTSA 22 midway through the first quarter.

Three plays later, Smith struck Manjack over the middle from 8 yards for a 7-0 lead at 6:54.

But UTSA’s offense cranked up on its third possession, traveling 80 yards in eight plays before Barnes bulled in on a 4-yard run at 3:26 for a 7-all tie.

After missing from 51 yards earlier, Houston’s Jack Martin redeemed himself with a 31-yard field goal to end the half after the drive was aided by a late hit on the previous play.

Treylin Payne thwarted the second half’s first drive with a diving interception of Harris at the Houston 17. Fleming added two more picks of Harris, with the second setting up Matthew Golden’s 6-yard touchdown catch at 3:54 to make it 17-7.

Cephus’ 20-yard TD grab with 5:42 remaining capped a 94-yard drive to make it 17-14, but the Cougars ran out the clock.

–Field Level Media

Jul 30, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans watches players warm up during training camp practice at the Houston Methodist Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Texans bring back DeMeco Ryans to lead turnaround

Houston Texans

2022 record: 3-13-1, fourth AFC South

Playoff picture: After winning the division four times in five years, the Texans have not made the playoffs — or won more than four games — since 2019.

Biggest Week 1 question: The product on the field has been bad and franchise icons like J.J. Watt are long gone. There’s reason for hope (see below), but how much more patience does the fan base of the league’s youngest team have?

What’s new: It’s a full reboot in Houston — a rookie head coach, a rookie quarterback, the whole shebang. DeMeco Ryans, a former Pro Bowl linebacker who played six seasons with the Texans, is the symbol the franchise needs after one-and-done seasons for both David Culley and Lovie Smith. He was also considered a heck of a defensive coach in San Francisco.

The Texans chose quarterback C.J. Stroud out of Ohio State second overall in the draft, then traded into the third spot to select Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson, the top defensive player available. Stroud improved as the preseason went on and beat Davis Mills for the starting job; Anderson should get Defensive Rookie of the Year looks.

They’re gone: Brandin Cooks was traded to Dallas after leading the Texans in receiving in each of the past three seasons. That leaves the Texans thin at wide receiver, with Nico Collins and Robert Woods the top two projected starters.

On the money: Left tackle Laremy Tunsil ($26.57 million) is the Texans’ only player with a cap number larger than $8 million. They’ll hope to rebuild while cornerstone players like Young and Anderson are on rookie contracts for the foreseeable future.

Get to know: John Metchie, who was born in Taiwan and lived in Ghana and Canada growing up, can be a difference-maker at receiver for the Texans. That’s why they drafted him out of Alabama in the second round in 2021. But Metchie missed his rookie year due to leukemia and will make his NFL debut this fall.

Vegas says: Houston’s over/under at BetMGM sits at 6.5 wins, signaling some expectation that the team will take a step forward under Ryans and Stroud.

Dec 16, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; UTSA Roadrunners quarterback Frank Harris (0) throws the ball against the Troy Trojans in the third quarter at Exploria Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

AAC departee, arrival clash as Houston opposes UTSA

The Houston Cougars will make history Saturday night when they begin play as a Big 12 member by hosting the UTSA Roadrunners in a nonconference game.

After turning in an 8-5 season in its final campaign in the American Athletic Conference, capped by a win in the Independence Bowl, Houston will see the stakes get higher as they join the Big 12 alongside UCF, Cincinnati and BYU.

The Big 12 added the four schools as Texas and Oklahoma prepare to leave and join the Southeastern Conference next season.

Houston starting quarterback Donovan Smith transferred from Texas Tech, where he made eight starts and appeared in 21 games for the Red Raiders.

He started and beat Houston last season, leading Texas Tech to a 33-30 victory in double overtime. Smith threw for 350 yards and two touchdowns while getting intercepted three times, and he ran for a touchdown.

A 6-foot-5, 241-pound junior from Las Vegas, Smith has held off a challenge from Lucas Coley since camp opened as the duo vied to replace dynamic starter Clayton Tune.

“Donovan has had an incredible June, an incredible July, and a really, really good 2 1/2 weeks of camp,” coach Dana Holgorsen said last month. “He’s the clear-cut starter. Our team’s felt it. … This is Donovan’s team.”

The Cougars will don Houston Oilers-themed uniforms in Saturday’s opener.

After an 11-3 campaign that finished with a Cure Bowl loss a year ago, UTSA will attempt to produce its third straight double-digit-win season.

Like Houston, the Roadrunners also are entering a new league, shifting from Conference USA to the AAC.

Entering his seventh year with the program, quarterback Frank Harris knows the offense inside and out, especially after starting the past three seasons.

The Cougars beat the Roadrunners in San Antonio to open 2022, getting a two-point run by Tune for the game-winning score in a 37-35, triple-overtime win.

Harris said his offense needs to run the ball better than last year against Houston, when it rushed for just 104 yards on 28 carries — with 63 coming from Harris.

“(Houston) is great up front,” Harris said. “We couldn’t run the ball at all last season, so coach (Jeff Traylor) is challenging us to hold our end of the triangle and run the football.”

–Field Level Media