Oct. 6, 2007
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama raced out to a 23-0 lead after the first quarter and held off a furious Cougar second-half comeback in taking a 30-24 win over the University of Houston football team Saturday afternoon at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Trailing 23-7 late in the third quarter, the Cougars rallied to score 17 of the final 24 points to pull to within 30-24 and moved into the Alabama red zone at the end of the game.
Coming off the bench midway through the third period, redshirt freshman quarterback Case Keenum moved the Cougars to the Alabama 15-yard line with seconds remaining in the game. However, his pass into the corner of the end zone was intercepted, ending the Cougar threat and the game.
Keenum threw for 132 yards and a touchdown on 11-of-17 passing to lead the Cougar offense. Senior running back Anthony Alridge rushed for 100 yards on 17 carries and added seven catches for 94 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown midway through the final period.
Senior wide receiver Donnie Avery added four catches for 104 yards with a 68-yard touchdown for the Cougars' lone points of the second half. It was the second straight game that the Houston native reached triple-digit receiving yards.
The Crimson Tide took the opening kickoff and embarked on a 13-play, 80-yard drive that was capped when quarterback John Parker Wilson scored on a 1-yard touchdown plunge.
After the Cougars took over on the ensuing kickoff, the Crimson Tide pushed its lead to 9-0 when UH quarterback Blake Joseph was called for intentional grounding in the end zone at the 9:26 mark.
Wilson later hit Nikita Stover on a 23-yard touchdown pass and connected with Mike McCoy on another 23-yard touchdown strike on the last play of the first quarter for a 23-0 Alabama lead.
That would be all the points the Crimson Tide would need. The Cougars put their first mark on the scoreboard late in the second quarter when Joseph hit Donnie Avery on a 68-yard touchdown.
The score remained that way until late in the third quarter when UH kicker T.J. Lawrence's 34-yard field goal pulled the Cougars to within 24-10.
Momentum appeared to be turning in the Cougars' favor after the UH defense held the Crimson Tide to only three plays and a punt on the ensuing possession. But a UH turnover on the punt gave Alabama field possession on the Cougars' half of the field and six plays later, Glen Coffee's 4-yard touchdown run handed the Crimson Tide a 30-10 lead with 1:14 remaining in the third quarter.
The Cougars continued to claw their way back into the game, though. After the ensuing kickoff, the Cougars marched 75 yards on an 11-play drive that was capped when Keenum plunged into the end zone from two yards out on fourth-and-goal with 12:30 remaining in the game.
After forcing a Crimson Tide punt, Keenum led the Cougars on another long drive that was capped when Alridge hauled in a crossing pass and raced 30 yards to the end zone to pull UH to within 30-24 with 7:06 remaining. However, that would cap the scoring for both teams on the day.
Sophomore cornerback Brandon Brinkley intercepted a John Parker Wilson pass with three minutes remaining in the game to set up the Cougars' final drive.