Two constants of the Tom Herman era: 1) The Coogs are winning. A lot. 2) The Coogs are living a charmed life. Last night was a great example. Houston beat Tulsa, 38-31, but the Cougars escaped thanks to some fortuitous breaks.
Case in point, the Cougars took a fourteen point lead early into the fourth quarter. However the Golden Hurricanes came back to tie the game. Tulsa then forced a punt inside of 90 seconds. With the ball, all the momentum (if momentum really exists) was on the side of Tulsa. Then good coaching or luck or some combination took hold. The Cougars forced a strip sack that turned into a scoop and score. Bang, Houston is up 38-31.
But hey ,Tulsa still had 1:21 to make something happen. They did, moving down to the Cougars' one yard line. One first down, with under ten seconds to play, depending on your perspective, Houston got away with offsides and or 13 men on the field. Neither were called. On second down, the Cougars made a great play, at the goal line, to keep Tulsa from being an extra point away from overtime. Yet again Houston escaped.
Last year during Houston's magical Peach Bowl run, the Cougars were +25 in turnover margin in wins, -4 in losses. The Cougars also made a living of escaping near loss experiences. This season is shaping up much the same. Houston is +1 in turnover margin in wins, -3 in its loss to Navy and as Tulsa proved, the Cougars are once again escape artists.
Remember a few years ago when Les Miles' LSU teams were on a magical run of good fortune late in games despite what appeared to be terrible clock management and general dumb luck? That run got LSU to the National Title. LSU's luck has since run out. See the Auburn game.
Every defensive coach in American "teaches turnovers." They emphasize stripping the ball, tip drill, recovery, all that fun stuff, still every Saturday their are teams in America that are "great" at causing turnovers and the others that are turnover prone. Those teams can shift week to week, because turnovers are never a given. They are unpredictable game to game, year to year. Houston is on a great string of turnover luck. Yes, that's just what it is: luck and fortune. So the Cougars continue to ride out a great run of wins thanks to great players, great coaching, and yes, a fair amount of luck.