HOUSTON — For a program that has become known for dynamic quarterback-wide receiver combinations, the next great one may have arrived for Texas Tech.
Nic Shimonek and Keke Coutee continued their hot start on Saturday, combining for 161 yards and a 77-yard touchdown in the Red Raiders’ 27-24 win over Houston that snapped the Cougars’ 16-game home winning streak.
“He’s one of the best playmakers, if not the best playmaker, in the country,” Shimonek said. “I’ve said on numerous occasions he’s one of those guys if I throw the ball behind the line of scrimmage he can take it to the house. That gives me confidence being able to throw it to him.
“He can make something happen with it and he catches basically everything I throw in his direction.”
In the opening three games for the Red Raiders (3-0), Shimonek and Coutee have hooked up for 446 yards and four scores on 28 catches, averaging 15.9 yards per grab.
“I think Keke and Nic have a great rapport,” Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “They connected when we needed them.”
The 100-yard performance was the fifth of Coutee’s career and second-straight this season.
Shimonek finished 29 of 45 for 321 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. The interception was his first of the season after going 107 pass attempts without being picked off.
Houston (2-1) owned the nation’s longest active home winning streak. The last home loss for the Cougars was Nov. 8, 2014, against Tulane, 31-24.
“This one stings,” Houston coach Major Applewhite said. “We have to get over it and move on and understand there are eight games left to play.”
The loss snaps a seven-game winning streak for the Cougars against teams from Power 5 conferences. The last loss came to Vanderbilt 41-24 in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 4, 2014.
“It was big, we know that nobody’s won here in 16 games,” Kingsbury said. “Big time, Top 10 programs come in here and it’s a tough place to play. It’s hot; they’ve got a great stadium. I coached here for four years. Not many people beat us here. So I understand the level of pride that team takes, especially when a Power 5 team comes in. You get their best shot and we got their best shot.”
This is the first win for the Red Raiders against the Cougars in Houston since a 38-26 Southwest Conference game in the Astrodome on Nov. 25, 1995.
Houston quarterback Kyle Allen struggled, finishing 24 of 39 for 217 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Kyle Postma replaced Allen midway through the fourth quarter. Postma was 8 of 13 for 100 yards and a score. Postma – the leading rusher for the Cougars – also had four carries for 52 yards, including a nine-yard touchdown run.
“(Postma) was going to give us the best opportunity at that point when the complextion of the game changed and started to get that way coverage wise,” Applewhite said. “I thought he did a great job. Came in, took care of the football and led us on some scoring drives.”
Allen has started all three games this season for Houston.
“Every job is open,” Applewhite said when asked about the quarterback position moving forward.
Neither Allen nor Postma were made available to the media following the game.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders have started 3-0 for the fifth time in the last seven seasons and are 11-2 against non-conference opponents under Kliff Kingsbury.
Houston: The Cougars offense struggled mightily against Texas Tech. Allen has turned the ball over six times in his first three games as the Cougars’ starting quarterback. Allen has thrown four interceptions and fumbled twice.
Texas Tech junior defensive back Vaughnte Dorsey was injured on kickoff coverage midway through the fourth quarter and was removed on a stretcher.
The injury, with 7:26 left in the fourth quarter, happened on the Houston sideline. The injury came after the Red Raiders had taken a 27-10 lead.
Kingsbury confirmed after the game, Dorsey had suffered a head injury and would be taken to a precautionary checkup.
“You go over there and check out what’s going on. He seemed to be OK,” Kingsbury said. “It’s awful to see that. You start praying.”
Dorsey did give thumbs up to the crowd as he was carted out of the stadium.
“From the feedback I got from the trainers, I think that was positive,” Kingsbury said about the thumbs up. “I don’t want to go into details but I felt positive about that.”
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders are home against No. 6 Oklahoma State on Saturday.
Houston: The Cougars head to Philadelphia to face Temple on Saturday.