Football Set to Open Season vs. Southern on Saturday
Aug. 29, 2008
The 2008 season marks the beginning of the Kevin Sumlin era at Houston. Sumlin begins his first season as the UH head coach after an award-winning career as an assistant coach at Oklahoma and Texas A&M.
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 over the Internet by clicking the "Gametracker" link at UHCougars.com.
Nearly 50 letterwinners and 16 starters return for the Cougars, who competed in their third straight bowl game to wrap up the 2007 season.
Leading the way on offense is sophomore quarterback Case Keenum, who earned the starting nod for his handling of new coordinator Dana Holgorsen's offensive plans midway through training camp. A year ago, Keenum was honored as the Conference USA Freshman of the Year after throwing for more than 2,200 yards and 14 touchdowns while adding 412 yards and nine scores on the ground.
Senior wide receiver Mark Hafner hauled in 40 catches for 445 yards and three touchdowns.
On the defensive side, senior end Phillip Hunt was named to the 2007 All-Conference USA First Team after racking up team highs of 10.5 sacks, 18.5 tackles for a loss and 10 pass breakups.
Senior safety Kenneth Fontenette finished second on the team with 69 tackles and led all Cougar defenders with four interceptions.
If recent history in season openers is any indication, the Cougars should do well against the Jaguars. UH has alternated wins and losses during its last five season openers with a loss at Oregon to open the 2007 campaign.
This will be the first time that the Cougars have faced Southern on the gridiron. However, it will be the second straight season that UH has squared off against a team from the Southwestern Athletic Conference. A year ago, the Cougars enjoyed a 59-6 win over Texas Southern in the regular-season finale.
Southern comes into the game after posting an 8-3 record and finishing second in the SWAC West Division. Junior quarterback Bryant Lee leads the offense after topping the league in passing yards per game, total offense and pass efficiency. He finished with 2,326 yards and 23 touchdowns with 174 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the ground.
Safety Glenn Bell paces the Southern defense after leading the team with 80 tackles, nine tackles for a loss and two sacks.