HOUSTON - Houston Football junior Kyle Bullard accounted for all 12 points with four field goals as the Cougars fell in heartbreaking fashion, 17-12, in its American Athletic Conference opener to UCF Thursday evening at TDECU Stadium.
With the loss, Houston fell to 2-3 on the season and 0-1 in league play, while UCF improved to 2-2 and 1-0 in American action.
Bullard's four-field goal performance was his second of the season with as many three pointers, while he also notched a program-record with 18 straight field goals made for Houston.
A 19-yard rush and a chance to score a game-winning touchdown by Greg Ward Jr. with under 30 seconds left in the game resulted in a fumble through the back of the end zone and a touchback, allowing UCF to secure the win.
UCF's offense was held scoreless in the first and fourth quarters, but would use a 10-point third quarter to make it a two-score game late.
Defensively, the Cougars were once again led by senior linebacker Efrem Oliphant, who notched 10 tackles for his 14th career double-digit tackle game and fifth this season.
Senior defensive end Joey Mbu recorded a career-high eight tackles, including one for a loss, while senior defensive end Gavin Stansbury and junior defensive back Adrian McDonald each tallied seven stops in the effort.
The Houston Defense kept its turnover streak alive with its 28th consecutive game forcing a turnover when Stansbury forced a UCF fumble and Oliphant picked up the recovery, which eventually led to the game's first points with 9:50 remaining in the first quarter.
Houston jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead on the 39-yard field goal by Bullard early in the first.
The Cougars held UCF scoreless in the first quarter, but the Knights responded with a touchdown with 9:27 left in the second quarter on a 6-yard pass from Justin Holman to Jackie Williams to give them the 7-3 advantage.
Houston was able to execute another successful field goal, a 42-yarder by Bullard, with under two minutes left in the opening half to make it a 7-6 game at the break.
A 52-yard pass for a score from Holman to Breshad Perriman, along with a field goal early in the third quarter gave UCF a17-6 advantage at the end of three quarters.
With a career-long 51-yard field goal, Bullard recorded the first 50+ yard field goal in TDECU Stadium history when he trimmed Houston's deficit to 17-9 midway through the fourth quarter.
Bullard then accounted for his fourth score of the game on a 49-yarder with 4:46 left that made it a 17-12 game. The program-record of 18 consecutive field goals made for Bullard surpassed Matt Hogan's 16-straight fields set back during the 2009-10 seasons.
Sophomore Greg Ward, Jr. passed for 116 yards on a 10-of-17 effort, notching all career-bests, surpassing his previous highs of 75 yards on 5-of-9 passing vs. Cincinnati on Nov. 23, 2013.
Sophomore Demarcus Ayers also notched a career-best with 90 receiving yards on seven catches, surpassing his previous high of 32 yards, which came at Rutgers on Oct. 26, 2013.
As a team, Houston finished with 331 yards, while it held UCF to 228.
Houston Football will embark on just its second road trip of the season in an American Athletic Conference showdown in Memphis next Saturday, October 11. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. CT on CBS Sports Network and KPRC 950 AM.
2014 FOOTBALL MINI PLANS
For those Houston fans who are unable to make it to TDECU Stadium all season, three-game mini plans are available for purchase for $99.
The three-game mini plans give Houston Football the ability to secure tickets for the Oct. 2 game vs. UCF, the 2014 Fiesta Bowl champion, and any other two games this season. The remaining four games for UH fans to pick from consist of 2013 bowl game participants UNLV and Tulane along with Temple and Tulsa. Fans can purchase mini plans here or by calling 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647).
SINGLE GAME TICKET INFORMATION
Single-game ticket sales for the inaugural season in TDECU Stadium start at $36 per person for reserved seats and $25 for general admission at any of Houston's seven home games, including 2014 Fiesta Bowl champion UCF, and can be purchased by calling the Houston Athletics Ticket Office at 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or by clicking here.
YOUNG ALUMNI TICKET INFORMATION
University of Houston alumni from the last five years (2010-14) can purchase season tickets for just $125 (upper levels) and $175 (lower level) in specially designated Young Alumni sections with a multiplier of four times donations to Cougar Pride giving levels for the first five years after graduation. Each ticket consists of a $25 Cougar Pride donation with the four times Young Alumni multiplier, resulting in a $100 donation credit and a Cougar Pride parking pass in the TDECU Stadium Garage. Young Alumni can purchase tickets here or by calling 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647).
GROUP TICKET INFORMATION
Single-game group ticket sales for the inaugural season in TDECU Stadium are now on sale via the Houston Athletics Ticket Office. Groups of at least 10 or more can purchase tickets starting at just $21 per person to any of Houston's seven home games, including 2014 Fiesta Bowl champion UCF, by calling the Houston Athletics Ticket Office at 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or by clicking here.