- Despite a career performance from Houston quarterback David Piland, the Cougars couldn't overcome a slow start in a 56-49 loss to Louisiana Tech on Saturday night at Robertson Stadium.
Piland threw for a career-high and Robertson Stadium-record 580 yards and four touchdowns and completed 53 passes on a school-record 77 attempts. The sophomore set an NCAA record for pass attempts without an interception, formerly held by Houston great Case Keenum.
Louisiana Tech's Colby Cameron tallied 353 yards and three touchdowns through the air, while Tevin King (112 yards) and Kenneth Dixon (90 yards) paced a ground attack that racked up 245 total yards.
Trailing 21-6 in the second quarter, Piland and the offense started clicking as Ronnie Williams took a shovel pass down the sideline for a 32-yard touchdown.
After the defense held the Bulldogs on a fourth-down attempt, Piland orchestrated a 69-yard drive that led to a Charles Sims' two-yard touchdown run to bring the Cougars within a point with 53 seconds remaining in the first half.
Louisiana Tech struck first in the second half as King rumbled for 59 yards to put the Bulldogs up 28-20 after starting the drive at their own one-yard line.
Four minutes later, the Bulldogs took advantage of a missed fourth-down conversion by Houston as Dixon capped a 10-play drive with a two-yard touchdown to put Tech up 35-20 midway through the third quarter.
The Cougars quickly answered as Piland found Daniel Spencer in the middle of the field for a 74-yard touchdown strike on the first play from scrimmage to bring Houston back to within eight points, but Louisiana Tech answered with two more touchdowns to seize control of the game.
Piland hit freshman wide receiver Deontay Greenberry in the back of the end zone for a 12-yard score to move Houston to within a touchdown with 35 seconds left. However, the Cougars were called for touching the ball before it traveled 10 yards on the ensuing onsides kick to end the comeback.
Spencer posted a game-high 157 yards receiving with one touchdown on seven catches, while Dewayne Peace (141 yards) and Sims (53) each had 11 receptions, and Williams added 68 yards and a score.
Sims also posted 65 yards on the ground on a career-high 21 rushes with two touchdowns.
The Cougars return to action for their first road tilt of the season against UCLA at 9:30 p.m. (CDT) Saturday at the Rose Bowl.