Mike Meltser’s Takes After Labor Day Weekend

by MIKE MELTSER, SportsRadio 610

[Editor’s Note: Mike Meltser spent his three-day weekend hunched down on his couch watching college football’s kickoff weekend of fantastic games. During those three days, he wrote down all his big thoughts about the most impactful things he saw from the weekend, that didn’t include his incredible view from his apartment.]

– A few things really stood out to me in Houston’s upset win over Oklahoma, 33-23. First was the way the Cougars defense contained the Sooners rushing attack, which finished with only 70 yards on 26 carries. OU had some big plays early, but those evaporated after this crushing hit on Samaje Perine. It’s cliche to say that play set a tone, but in this case, it did.

– The second thing that stood out was the individual dominance of the UH receivers against the OU defensive backs. Steven Dunbar racked up 7 receptions for 125 yards, and 2 other Cougar receivers had 60 or more receiving yards. Honestly, UH could have done even more damage through the air, with missed connections on a number of deep balls.

– I thought that Brandon Wilson’s 109.5 yard (ok, fine, technically only 100) return of Austin Seibert’s missed field goal was symbolic of the coaching edge that Houston had on Saturday. Oklahoma took a timeout before the play, and still seemed both unaware of Wilson’s presence under the goalpost, and unprepared to try to tackle him.

– UH now turns into big Oklahoma supporters for the rest of the season, for strength-of-schedule purposes. I’m trying to figure out if we’re collectively overreacting to the way OU looked at NRG Stadium on Saturday. They play Ohio State in 2 weeks, then have a bye, and face back-to-back games against TCU and Texas. We’ll have a much better sense for the Sooners when they host the Buckeyes on September 17th.

– I still believe that Oklahoma can be okay IF they can keep Perine and Joe Mixon healthy and carrying the football more than 12 times a game.

– The Texas-Notre Dame game was the game of the weekend, for my money. Just a tremendous atmosphere in Austin, and a fantastic win for the Longhorns.

– Charlie Strong was good at Louisville, and a big part of that was recruiting and developing Teddy Bridgewater. For the first time since 2013, Charlie has a real QB in Shane Buechele. I was impressed by how well he threw the deep ball, and how he stood in the pocket against blitzes on a number of 3rd down conversions.

– I also loved Texas’s physicality in the run game. The Tyrone Swoopes packages were critical and effective, but D’Onta Foreman also was quietly productive, with 131 yards and 1 TD on 24 carries. It felt like they had worn down ND’s defense by overtime.

– I don’t know how anyone could watch ND-Texas and not come away extremely impressed by DaShone Kizer. Limiting my analysis to just this weekend, I thought he looked better than both Deshaun Watson and Josh Rosen.

– The Texas A&M defense was very good for most of Saturday, holding Rosen to a 19.4 QBR. Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall were consistently causing all sorts of problems for the UCLA OL, and that’s something that should be sustainable for the rest of the season. I know the Aggies gave up a big lead, but after some of the defensive performances we’ve seen the last few years, I am buying into them as a substantially improved unit.

– I’m still not sold on the A&M offense, especially Trevor Knight. He wasn’t bad, but finished only 22-of-42, and the offense really sputtered towards the end of the 2nd half. Knight faces an Auburn defense that held Clemson to only 19 points on September 17th. We’ll learn more about him on that Saturday.

– Nothing about the Texans final 53 (for now) roster surprised me all that much, with the exception of UDFA Joel Heath making the team. I know there’s been some optimism about his upside, and this team can obviously use more help at 3-4 DE.

– After a lot of angst on talk radio, the Texans still have control of all 5 of their running backs that were most talked-about. Kenny Hilliard was the odd man out, after Akeem Hunt was released and then signed onto the practice squad.

– I like Hunt’s abilities, but the fact that he has no place (at the moment) on any team’s 53-man roster has to say something. He has tremendous quickness and receiving ability, so I wonder how much the combination of interior running and pass protection hurts him.

– For a glimpse into why the Texans like Tyler Ervin over Hunt, take a listen to our Friday visit with Greg Cosell of NFL Films. He feels Ervin is a dangerous inside runner, despite his size.

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