Nov. 17, 2007
HOUSTON - A 62-yard touchdown pass to tight end Mark Hafner with 4:22 left in the fourth quarter sealed a 35-28 Homecoming win for the University of Houston football team Saturday on John O. Quinn Field at Robertson Stadium.
The Cougars (7-4, 6-2 Conference USA) withstood a late Marshall rally and had a bit of luck as Marshall (2-9, 2-5 C-USA) had an onside kick attempt go out of bounds with just over two minutes left.
Marshall crept within seven points, 35-28, with 2:31 left after Kelvin Turner closed out a seven-play, 69-yard drive with a one-yard run to the end zone. The Herd's ensuing onside kick attempt went out of bounds and UH kneeled on it twice to close out the win.
Hafner had a career night, catching six balls for 128 yards and a touchdown. On the clinching touchdown, Case Keenum found Hafner open down the middle and the junior tight end did the rest, scampering over, around and through the Thundering Herd defense to find the endzone.
Anthony Alridge added his 10th career 100-yard rushing game, finishing with 103 yards on 25 carries and a touchdown. Keenum finished 24-for-32 with 298 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He also added 44 yards rushing and a one-yard touchdown run to open the fourth quarter.
The Cougars pushed their 10-7 halftime lead to 20-7 late in the third quarter when T.J. Lawrence added his second field goal of the day, splitting the uprights from 24 yards out. Lawrence also hit a 32-yarder to open up the scoring in the first half.
Alridge hauled in a 26-yard pass from Keenum for a touchdown with 4:31 left in the quarter.
Chubb Small's 13-yard touchdown with 20 seconds left in the third quarter pulled the lead down to six, 20-14, the Cougars answered with an 11-play 64-yard drive that ended with Keenum's one-yard touchdown run. Keenum also scored on the ensuing 2-point conversion, giving UH a 14-point cushion, 28-14, with 10:50 left in the game.
Marshall's Darius Marshall had a one-yard touchdown with 5:10 left in the game, making the score 28-21 and setting up Houston's two-play, 65-yard drive that ended with Hafner's catch and run.
Marshall finished with 66 yards rushing on 12 carries. Small carried the ball eight times for 43 yards. Emmanuel Spann had three catches for 75 yards and a touchdown.
Herd quarterback Bernard Morris completed 20 passes for 260 yards and a TD, but he was sacked three times by the Cougar defense.
Marshall's C.J. Spillman led all players with 16 tackles.
The Cougars close out the 2007 regular season next Saturday against Texas Southern in the second annual Cougar Football Classic at 2:30 p.m. on John O'Qunn Field at Robertson Stadium.
Fans can hear the game live on 790 AM The Sports Animal with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action, David Klingler providing color analysis and Chuck Brown reporting from the sideline. The pregame show is slated to begin one hour before kickoff. Fans also can follow live stats and video by clicking on the GameTracker and All-Access links at UHCougars.com.