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Texas Tech is set to face the Houston Cougars of the American Athletic Conference for the fourth time in six seasons when the Red Raiders welcome the Cougars to Lubbock on Saturday for Week 2 of the young college football season. 

The Red Raiders have won the last four meetings dating back to 2010, including a 38-21 win last season at NRG Stadium. But it's Houston who leads the all-time series 18-14-1 dating back to the days of the Missouri Valley and Southwest Conferences.

The Cougars were an impressive 12-2 last season with a perfect 8-0 record in conference play. They fell just short of an AAC championship after falling 35-20 to the Cincinnati Bearcats, who became the first non-Power 5 program to make the College Football Playoff in January.

Houston then took down the Auburn Tigers of the SEC in a 17-13 win in the Birmingham Bowl to finish off a successful season. 

The Cougars pulled off a thrilling 37-35 win over the UTSA Roadrunners in triple overtime Saturday, as Houston's defense stopped the Runners from converting the game-tying two-point conversion to send it to a fourth overtime.

Houston Cougars

2021 Record: 12-2 (8-0 in AAC)

Offensive Scheme: Air Raid

Defensive Set: 4-2-5

Head Coach: Dana Holgorsen

Holgorsen enters his fourth full season with Houston and is all too familiar with Big 12 competition after spending eight years as the head coach at West Virginia. He turned the Cougars around this past season after a 7-13 combined record during his first two years with the team. 

Despite finishing fifth in the AAC in offensive yards per game (413.9), the Cougars led the conference in total offensive yards (5,794) by seasons end. The team was also the clear conference-leader in total passing yards (3,802) despite being third in offensive passing yards per game (271.6). Houston was second in total points scored (502) and were third in points per game (35.9). The rushing offense was one of the team's few weaknesses on offense, as the Cougars had the third-fewest rushing yards per game (142.3).

Projected offensive starters:

QB Clayton Tune

RB Ta'Zhawn Henry

WR KeSean Carter

WR Matthew Golden

WR Nathanial Dell

TE Christian Trahan

LT Patrick Paul

LG Cam'Ron Johnson

C Jack Freeman

RG Tank Jenkins

RT Tyler Johnson

The Cougars had an arguably better defense than Cincinnati, leading the conference in sacks (42), fewest yards allowed per game (298), and were second in fewest points allowed per game (21) as well as finishing third in total defensive interceptions (14).

Houston's rushing defense was nothing if not dominant. The Cougars allowed the fewest total rushing yards (1,385) and were the runaway leader in the fewest rushing yards allowed per game (106.5).

Projected defensive starters:

DE Derek Parish

NT Chidozie Nwankwo

DT Sedrick Williams

DE Nelson Ceaser

WILL LB Malik Robinson

MIKE LB Donavan Mutin

CB Art Green

CB Alex Hogan

Nickel Jayce Rogers

FS Gervarrius Owens

SS Hasaan Hypolite

You can follow Zach Dimmitt on Twitter at @ZachDimmitt7

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