Houston at UCLA Game Notes

    Sept. 12, 2012

    » Game Notes

    FAST FACTS ON THE SERIES
    » Series Record Overall Series tied 3-3
    » Series Record at Houston Houston leads 2-1
    » Series Record at UCLA UCLA leads 2-1
    » First Meeting Houston 17, UCLA 13 (Sept. 12, 1977; at Houston)
    » Last Meeting Houston 38, UCLA 34 (Sept. 3, 2011; at Houston)

    THE GAME
    » Houston looks to bounce back from an 0-2 start Saturday night in Pasadena, Calif., as it takes on an undefeated No. 22/23 UCLA. Houston opened the season with a 30-13 loss to Texas State before falling in a shootout to Louisiana Tech, 56-49, while UCLA defeated Rice, 49-24, in its opener before topping Nebraska at home, 36-30.
    » The game is the third meeting in as many years for the two teams. The teams have split the last two years with the home squad winning in each meeting, UCLA in 2010 and Houston in 2011.
    » The game has the makings of an offensive shootout as Houston ranks fourth nationally in passing offense (395.5 yards per game) after two weeks while UCLA is second in rushing offense (343.5 yards per game) and third in total offense (649.5 yards per game).
    » Houston enters the weekend with a road winning streak of six games which is currently the fourth-longest streak in the nation behind Virginia Tech (14), Oregon (11) and Stanford (8).
    » Houston is coming off a 56-49 loss to Louisiana Tech that saw seven different NCAA offensive records fall. David Piland accounted for the only individual record, most attempts in a game without an interception, with 77 attempts and no picks.


    The weekly one-hour call-in radio show will take place each Wednesday from 7-8 p.m. CT and will be broadcasted on KBMF-AM SportsTalk 790. Join Houston head coach Tony Levine and host Jeremy Branham each Wednesday at Rajun Cajun restaurant on Richmond for the show.


    Cougar Insider, the official television show of the Houston Athletic Department, will be aired on Fox Sports Houston each Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., as well as other Fox Sports affiliates throughout the season. The 30-minute show, hosted by Bart Ennis and featuring the Houston football program and the Houston athletic department began airing on Wednesday, Sept. 5.

    THE OPPONENT
    » In its first season under head coach Jim Mora, UCLA has jumped out to a quick start and reappeared in the AP poll for the first time in 65 weeks. The Bruins used a high-powered offense in victories over Rice (49-24) and Nebraska (36-30).
    » UCLA owns the nation's top rusher in Johnathan Franklin. The senior has rushed for over 200 yards in each game this season with 214 yards versus Rice and 217 against Nebraska. Behind Franklin, UCLA is second nationally in rushing with 343.5 yards per game and third nationally in total offense with 649.5 yards per game. Defensively, UCLA is 71st in total defense (398.5/game), 100th in rush defense (217.0) and 31st in pass defense (181.5).

    TIES WITH THE OPPONENT
    » Houston special teams coordinator and inside receivers coach Jamie Christian has spent the majority of his career on the West Coast and has several ties to the UCLA coaching staff.
    » UCLA running backs coach Steve Broussard served as wide receivers coach in 2010 and 2011 alongside Christian (special teams coordinator/inside receivers) at Arizona State.
    » UCLA special teams coordinator/linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich was a starting linebacker with the San Francisco 49ers during Christian's two seasons with the team when he served as a defensive quality control coach.
    » UCLA wide receivers coach Eric Yarber has coached with Christian on three separate occasions at Arizona State (2007-09), San Francisco 49ers (2003-04) and Oregon State (2000-01).
    » UCLA's graduate assistant for special teams Taylor Mazzone spent two seasons as an offensive assistant at Arizona State with Christian.
    » Not only did current UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone serve as offensive coordinator at Arizona State with Christian in 2010 and 2011, but he also acted as offensive coordinator at Auburn in 2000 and 2001 when Houston head coach Tony Levine was a graduate assistant, as well as coaching the quarterbacks during three of Levine's seasons as a player at Minnesota (1992-94).

    THE SERIES
    » Houston and UCLA have split their previous six meetings. Each team has won two and lost one at home in the six meetings.
    » This season's meeting marks the third consecutive season that the two teams have met with Houston winning 38-34 at home in 2011 and UCLA claiming a 31-13 home victory in 2010.
    » The last meeting saw Houston open its 2011 home season with 38-34 win as it held on after jumping out to a 31-14 halftime lead. The game was an offensive shootout as the two teams combined for 1,023 total yards and 72 points.
    » Houston returns 13 players that started in the 2011 match up (five on offense, eight on defense).

    LAST TIME OUT
    » Houston fell to 0-2 with a 56-49 loss to Louisiana Tech last Saturday. The game saw a number of NCAA, program and stadium records fall in the shootout that saw the teams combine for 1,291 total yards.
    » David Piland set an NCAA record for attempts in a game without an interception with 77 attempts as the sophomore completed 53 passes for 580 yards and four touchdowns. Daniel Spencer (157) and Dewayne Peace (141) both eclipsed 100 yards receiving. Houston set an NCAA record with 115 offensive plays that lead to 693 total yards.
    NCAA RECORDS SET IN LOUISIANA TECH GAME

    » Total offensive plays: 115 - regulation record and ties Northwestern's overtime record set on 1/1/10 vs. Auburn.
    » Combined offensive plays: 209 (Houston 115, Louisiana Tech 94) - previous record of 196 set by San Diego State (99) and North Texas (97) on Dec. 4, 1971.
    » Total passing attempts without an interception: 77 - previous record of 76 set by Eastern Michigan vs. Temple (Nov. 22, 2008) and by Houston vs. UTEP (Oct. 3, 2009)
    » Individual passing attempts without an interception: 77 - previous record of 76 set by Andy Schmitt (Eastern Michigan vs. Temple, Nov. 22, 2008) and by Case Keenum ( Houston vs. UTEP, Oct. 3, 2009)
    » Combined pass attempts without an interception: 129 (Houston 77, Louisiana Tech 52) - previous record of 114 set by Illinois (67) and Purdue (47) on Oct. 12, 1985.
    » Most passes completed by both teams - 87 (Houston 53, Louisiana Tech 34) - previous record of 81 set by TCU (44) and Houston (37) set on Nov. 3, 1990.
    » Most first downs by both teams - 78 (Houston 40, Louisiana Tech 38) - previous record of 72 was set by New Mexico (37) and San Diego State (35) on Sept. 27, 1986.

    TOP 10 CROWDS AT ROBERTSON
    1.32,413vs. Southern Miss12/3/11
    2.32,207vs. SMU11/19/11
     32,207vs. Texas State9/1/12
    4.32,119vs. UTEP9/10/10
     32,119vs. Texas State9/4/10
    6.32,114vs. Texas Tech9/26/09
     32,112vs. Rice10/27/11
    8.32,107vs. Marshall10/22/11
    9.32,067vs. Mississippi State10/9/10
    10.32,009vs. Tulane9/25/10

    FINAL YEAR AT ROBERTSON
    » The 2012 season marks the final year of Robertson Stadium as the 70-year old facility will be torn down following the conclusion of the season. Houston will return to a new on-campus stadium in 2014.
    » Nine of the top 10 Roberston Stadium crowds have come in the last three seasons (2010, 2011, 2012) with four coming in 2011.
    » Houston set an attendance record of 32,413 in last year's Conference USA Championship against Southern Miss on Dec. 3.
    » With 32,207 fans at this year's home opener, Houston tied its regular-season attendance mark set last season against SMU.
    » The Texas State attendance also broke the previous record for a home opener at Robertson Stadium, eclipsing the 32,119 mark from the 2010 home opener also against Texas State.

    HEAD COACH Tony Levine
    » Houston opened a new era on Dec. 22, 2011, when Tony Levine was named the 13th coach in program history. Levine quickly made his mark on the Houston program by defeating #24/23 Penn State, 30-14, in the TicketCity Bowl.
    » Levine is the first UH head coach to open his career with a win vs. a nationally-ranked opponent since Harold Lahar in 1957.
    » The TicketCity Bowl victory marked the eighth time in Houston history that a head coach has won his opening game at the school.

    ON THE OFFENSIVE
    » No team in college football has racked up more offensive yards over the last six seasons than Houston.

    Rank Team Total Yards Season Avg.
    1. Houston 42,560 7,093
    2. Oklahoma 38,239 6,373
    3. Oregon 37,721 6,287
    4. Nevada 37,647 6,275
    5. Boise State 36,860 6,143

    BOUNCING BACK
    » In 67 years of football, Houston has now started the season 0-2 18 times. The Cougars are 9-8 in their third game in the previous 17 instances.

    TOP 10 HOUSTON SENIOR CLASSES
    (By Victories)
    1.362008-11
    362006-09
    361976-79
    4.341978-81
    341971-74
    341970-73
    7.331977-80
    8.32Five teams tied
    ...
    18.282009-12
    TOP 10 HOUSTON SENIOR CLASSES
    (By Winning Percentage)
    1..7661976-79 (36-11)
    2..7561966-69 (30-9-2)
    3..7501970-73 (34-11-1)
    .7501968-71 (32-10-2)
    5..7451971-74 (34-11-2)
    6..7381967-70 (30-10-2)
    7..7221987-90 (32-12-1)
    .7221969-72 (32-12-1)
    9..7191978-81 (34-13-1)
    10..7111988-91 (32-13)
    SENIOR CLASS EYEING VICTORY RECORD
    » The 2012 senior class enters the weekend just nine victories away from capturing the record for the most wins by a single class in a four-year period at the University of Houston. With 28 wins, Houston's senior class of 27 currently sits 18th on the class wins chart, just four away from tying for eighth.
    » Last year's 2011 senior class was one of three classes in Houston history to win a program-record 36 games, joining the 2009 senior class and the 1979 senior class in accomplishing the feat.
    » The 1979 senior class also owns the program's top winning percentage, .766, with a four-year record of 36-11. The 2012 senior class currently owns a winning percentage of .667 with a record of 28-14.

    DEGREES IN HAND
    » Three of the Houston seniors will play the 2012 season having already earned an undergraduate degree. Matt Hogan, Isaiah Sweeney and Ronnie Williams all own Houston degrees.
    » Hogan received his bachelor's degree in management in the spring of 2012 and is pursuing a master's degree this fall.
    » Sweeney graduated with a bachelor's degree in retail and consumer science in December of 2011 and is now working on his master's degree in human resource development.
    » Williams graduated with a bachelor's degree in kinesiology in the summer of 2011 and is now working on his master's degree in human resource development.

    CHANGES IN OFFENSIVE STAFF
    » Following the season-opening loss to Texas State, Houston head coach Tony Levine announced that offensive coordinator Mike Nesbitt had resigned and Travis Bush would take over play-calling duties while also handling coaching the quarterback position for the program. With the switch, Director of Player Personnel Ken McClintock assumed Bush's role of coaching running backs.
    » Bush has four years of experience as an offensive coordinator on the collegiate level, most recently spending a year as the OC at UT-San Antonio after spending three seasons as co-offensive coordinator at Texas State. In his final season at Texas State, the Bobcats finished the season No. 8 in passing offense while his quarterback Bradley George was named the Southland Conference Offensive Player of the Year.
    » Offensive line coach Lee Hays adds six years experience as an offensive coordinator with stints at Tarleton (2011), Baylor (2006-07) and West Texas A&M (2003-05). Hays also has experience at Houston, having spent the 2010 season as the program's assistant offensive line coach. His final West Texas A&M squad led the FCS level in passing offense before his offenses at Baylor broke several program records.

    BOUNCING BACK OFFENSIVELY
    » In Travis Bush's first game as Houston's play caller, the Houston offense bounced back in a big way despite losing to Louisiana Tech last week. The group jumped 57 spots in total offense to No. 24 nationally and 56 spots in passing offense from No. 60 to No. 4 after just one week.
    » A quick look at the per game offensive output shows why:
    Opponent	Points	Total Off.	Passing Yards	Rushing	3rd Down Conv.
    Texas State	13	326 yards	211 yards	115 yards	1-13 (7.6%)
    Louisiana Tech	49	693 yards	580 yards	113 yards	12-22  (54.5%)
    

    » Quarterback David Piland also bounced back in a big way from game one to game two:
    Opponent	Comp.	Att.	Comp. %	Yards	TDs	INTs
    Texas State	17	44	38.6%	211	1	1
    Louisiana Tech	53	77	68.8%	580	4	0
    

    START CHART
    OFFENSE
    Player 2012 Streak Career
    Ashworth (OL) 2 23 31
    Sims (RB) 2 8 20
    Cloud (OL) 2 16 16
    Harper (OL) 2 16 16
    Forsch (OL) 2 16 16
    Piland (QB) 2 8 10
    R. Williams (WR) 2 2 3
    Spencer (WR) 2 2 2
    Roberts (WR) 2 2 2
    Oragwu (OL) 2 2 2
    DEFENSE
    Player 2012 Streak Career
    Steward (LB) 2 37 37
    Riser (DL) 2 2 20
    King (DL) - - 10
    Mathews (LB) 2 16 16
    McMillian (CB) 2 6 15
    Hayden (CB) 2 9 14
    Braswell (DL) 1 - 12
    Brooks (S) 1 - 11
    Bennett (S) 1 1 6
    THE BRICK SQUAD
    » Self nicknamed "The Brick Squad", the Houston offensive line returned four of five starters from the 2011 squad. Senior Jacolby Ashworth, junior Ty Cloud, junior Kevin Forsch and sophomore Rowdy Harper started all 14 games for Houston last season. Combined the group owns 81 career starts. The group lost just starting center Chris Thompson from 2011.
    » The 2011 line ranked fifth nationally allowing just 3.86 tackles for loss per game while giving up just 19 sacks. Texas State managed two sacks in the opening week.
    » Across the line, the group weighs an average of 312 pounds and stands at an average height of 6-4. Harper leads the group of five at 6-6 while Cloud leads on the scale at 335 pounds.
    » Ashworth leads all Houston offensive players with 31 career starts and a streak of 23 consecutive starts. The Lombardi Award watch list candidate has the versatility to play both tackle and guard, he was the team's left tackle in 2011 before switching to right guard this season.
    » Harper, a freshman All-American in 2011, started all 14 games last season at right tackle before swinging to left tackle this season.
    » The Brick Squad will be missing two key cogs against UCLA as center Kevin Forsch and right tackle Ralph Oragwu are being forced to sit out with injuries. Bryce Redman will step in at center while DeAnthony Sims mans RT.

    PACKING HIS OWN SHOES
    » Houston head coach Tony Levine has often said that Case Keenum took his shoes with him when he left the Houston program and that David Piland doesn't have to fill those shoes. A quick look in the Houston locker room confirmed Levine's statement.
    » The sophomore is actually in his third year with the Houston program. Piland started eight games as a true freshman in 2010 after Keenum and Cotton Turner went down with injuries. Piland threw for 2,641 yards with 24 touchdowns and 14 interceptions while leading Conference USA with 316.5 passing yards per game.
    » Piland opened his career with 301 yards against Mississippi State before eclipsing the 300-yard mark three more times with games in 2010 against UCF (334), Southern Miss (467) and Texas Tech (441).
    » After Keenum was granted a sixth year of eligibility in 2011, Piland redshirted his second season on campus to save a year of eligibility.
    » Against Louisiana Tech, PIland set the NCAA record for most attempts in a game without an interception as the sophomore finished the game 53-of-77 for 580 yards and four touchdowns. For his efforts, Piland was named the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week.
    » Piland's 580 yards set a Robertson Stadium record as he set career highs in all four categories and also had a career-long rush of 33 yards.
    » His 584 yards of total offense is the second-best single-game total in Conference USA history as were his completions, yards and touchdowns. His 77 attempts broke Case Keenum's conference record in the category. Piland's 53 completions are the fifth-best single-game mark in NCAA history as his 77 attempts rank sixth.

    CHARLES IN CHARGE
    » After splitting carries with Michael Hayes and Bryce Beall in 2011, junior running back Charles Sims is shouldering the load in 2012. Named to the Conference USA's first team last season, Sims led Houston with 821 yards on 110 carries for an average rush of 7.5 yards.
    » Sims leads all running backs nationally with 133 career receptions, 45 more than his closest competitor. The versatile back has multiple receptions in 22 of his last 23 games. The junior needs just 25 receptions to break into Houston's top-10 career receptions chart. Sims had 70 receptions in 2009 and 51 in 2011.
    » Sims has 12 career games with at least five receptions coming out of the backfield with a career high 11 last week against Louisiana Tech.
    » Carrying the ball, Sims has 12 career games with at least 10 carries and three career 100-yard rushing games including 207 yards against Tulane last season on just 10 carries. Sims' effort against the Green Wave set a Houston program record with an average of 20.7 yards per carry,
    » Sims had a career-high 32 offensive touches (21 rushing, 11 receiving) vs. Louisiana Tech. Both his 21 rushing attempts and 11 receptions marked career highs.
    » In 2011, Sims ranked No. 4 nationally in yards per carry (7.5) and his 51 receptions ranked No. 2 nationally among running backs.

    A WHOLE CAST OF CHARACTERS
    » With five of the top six receivers from the 2011 Houston squad graduating, an array of receivers have been given the opportunity to replace the 354 receptions, 4,839 yards and 44 receiving touchdowns that the five accounted for in 2011.
    » Running back Charles Sims actually led all returning players with 51 receptions for 575 yards and four touchdowns last season. Ronnie Williams led all returning wide receivers with 16 catches for 138 yards and one touchdown.
    » The 11 returning players who recorded a catch in 2011 combined for a total of 125 receptions for 1,462 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.
    » Levine's first signing class included five players at the wide receiver position: Junior college transfer Xavier Maxwell and freshmen Deontay Greenberry, Larry McDuffey, Devin Parks and Andrew Rodriguez.
    » Eight different players recorded a reception in Houston's opening game against Texas State. Daniel Spencer led all players with a career-high six receptions for 49 yards. McDuffey led Houston in receiving yards with two receptions for 73 yards including a 64-yard catch-and-run for Houston's lone touchdown of the night.
    » Spencer (157) and Dewayne Peace (141) became the latest 100-yard receivers in Houston history with their efforts against Louisiana Tech.
    » Six different players had at least five receptions vs. Louisiana Tech: Peace (11), Sims (11), Spencer (7), Williams (7), Rodriguez (5) and Greenberry (5).
    » Five different players had at least 50 receiving yards vs. Louisiana Tech: Spencer (157), Peace (141), Rodriguez (82), Williams (68) and Sims (53).
    » All five of Rodriguez' receptions against Louisiana Tech converted first downs including a career-long 27-yard reception on a fourth-down conversion in the fourth quarter on a scoring drive that would lead to Houston's fifth touchdown of the night.

    BEST HANDS IN THE LAND
    » He may play on the defensive side of the ball but linebacker Phillip Steward claims to have the best hands on the team. If last year's defensive performance is any indication, the senior may be telling the truth as Steward finished the year with six interceptions, leading all linebackers nationally.
    » Steward's six interceptions were 11th nationally regardless of position as he helped the Houston defense to a total of 21 interceptions, a number that led the Conference USA and was third nationally.
    » Of the nine players accounting for the 21 interceptions in 2011, seven who combined for 17 picks return in 2012.
    » One of two defensive captains alongside D.J. Hayden, Steward leads all Houston players with 37 career starts, starting every game since the sixth matchup of the 2009 season.
    » The 2012 Houston team is still looking for its first interception of the season.

    MAKING THE SWITCH FROM 3-4 TO 4-3
    » With 16 defensive players accounting for 156 career starts entering the year, the Houston defense did not have a lack of experience as it switches from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense under defensive coordinator Jamie Bryant in 2012.
    » Last season the Houston defense ranked 12th nationally in pass efficiency defense. With opposing passers holding an efficiency rating of 111.75, the defense was third in Conference USA in the category.
    » The defense also ranked third in the conference in scoring defense in giving up just 22.4 points per game.
    » The 2012 squad currently ranks 15th nationally in tackles for loss with an average of nine per game and are led by weakside linebacker Derrick Mathews who is second nationally with 3.5 tackles for loss per game.

    TACKLING MACHINES
    » With its opponents winning the time of possession battle, Houston defenders have been given the opportunity to rack up some numbers and several have done so as six Cougars have racked up nine double-digit tackle efforts.
    » Derrick Mathews and Phillip Steward each collected a team-high 14 tackles against Texas State as four players hit at least 10 tackles in the game.
    » Mathews held serve in Houston's second game of the season against Louisiana Tech with a team-best 13 tackles. Five different players eclipsed the double-digit mark in their efforts.
    » For Steward, Saturday's effort marked his ninth career game with at least 10 tackles.
    » With back-to-back double-digit games to open the season, Mathews now owns four games with at least 10 tackles.
    » In his first career start and first action as a scholarship player, former walk-on Chris Cermin was second on the team with a career-high 13 tackles against Texas State. Entering the game, Cermin had just five career tackles. Cermin followed up the effort with 12 stops against Louisiana Tech.
    » All three starting linebackers against Texas State finished with double-digit tackles as middle linebacker Everett Daniels recorded a career-high 10 stops.
    » The cornerbacks got into the action against Louisiana Tech as Zach McMillian (11) and D.J. Hayden (10) each had at least 10 tackles. Both players' totals marked career highs.

    NCAA ACTIVE CAREER EXTRA POINTS
    1.189Matt Hogan, Sr.Houston
    2.153Dustin Hopkins, Sr.Florida State
    3.134Brandon McManus, Sr.Temple
    4.133Matt Nelson, Sr.Louisiana Tech
    NCAA ACTIVE CAREER SCORING
    1.372Montee Ball, Sr., RBWisconsin
    2.348Dustin Hopkins, Sr., K,Florida State
    3.318Matt Hogan, Sr., KHouston
    4.312Matt Weller, Sr., KOhio
    EXTRA POINTS FOR HOGAN
    » Houston senior kicker Matt Hogan enters his final year with the program as one of its most prolific scorers. The Keller, Texas, native has a chance to become just the second player in program history to lead the team in scoring for three straight years. The only player to accomplish the feat? Kicker Ken Hebert from 1965-67.
    » With 318 career points, Hogan currently sits second on the Houston career scoring chart behind the 405 points behind former kicker Roman Anderson (1988-91).
    » Hogan is also second on the Houston career chart for extra points with 189, behind Anderson's 213.
    » On the program's career field goal chart, Hogan's 43 three-pointers are currently second behind Anderson's record of 70.
    » Hogan leads all active kickers nationally with his 189 career extra points.
    » The senior is third nationally among all positions with 318 career points trailing Wisconsin running back Montee Ball (372) and Florida State kicker Dustin Hopkins (348).
    » Hogan finished 2011 10th nationally among all positions with 130 points off 91 extra points and 13 field goals. The total was just one point away from tying the Houston single-season kick scoring record set by Anderson in 1989. Manny Hazard holds the Houston single-season scoring record with 134 points from 22 touchdowns and one two-point conversion in 1989.
    » Hogan set the NCAA record for consecutive extra points made in a season in 2011 with 78 straight PATs. Hogan made every attempt in the season's first 11 games before recording his only miss of the season against Tulsa in the season's 12th game.
    » With his two field goals against Louisiana Tech, Hogan now has 15 career games with multiple field goals including the last three games of his career: Penn State (3), Texas State (2) and Louisiana Tech (2).

    THE OTHER FOOT
    » Helping to form one of the nation's top kicking duos, junior Richie Leone handles Houston's punting duties for the third consecutive year. The 2011 Ray Guy Award semifinalist, Leone had 12 punts over 50 yards and 15 punts downed inside the 20-yard line in 2011.
    » Leone enters the season ranked sixth on Houston's career punting average. In his first two years of action, Leone put together an average of 41.2 yards per punt with 86 punts for 3,547 yards.
    » This season Leone has 10 punts with four longer than 50 yards including a career-long 77-yarder against Louisiana Tech.
    » The junior has placed two punts inside the 10-yard line this season and opposing returners are averaging just 8.0 yards per return.
    » Leone also handles kickoff duties for Houston. Leone has 105 career kickoffs for 6,732 yards, an average of 64.1 yards per kick.
    » Facing off against the 2011 Ray Guy Award winner in Louisiana Tech's Ryan Allen, Leone bested the returning award winner with an average of 51.8 yards per punt to Allen's 42.1 yards per punt.

    NEW RETURNERS WANT SAME RESULT
    » Combine the special teams background of Houston head coach Tony Levine, who has 13 special teams touchdown in four years as the unit's coordinator at Houston, and special teams coordinator Jamie Christian, whose Arizona State's special teams squad picked up seven return scores over the last two seasons, and hopes are high for Houston's return game.
    » Former Houston standout Patrick Edwards accounted for the majority of Houston punt returns in 2011 while classmate Tyron Carrier took back 30 of Houston's 41 kickoff returns last season. Six players accounting for eight kickoff returns totaling 105 yards return this season.
    » Three different players accounted for special teams returns in the season opener against Texas State. Dewayne Peace took Houston's lone returnable punt back four yards. Ryan Jackson had two kickoff returns for 58 yards while Jeffrey Lewis took one kickoff return back 15 yards.
    » Jackson accounted for all three of Houston's kick returns against Louisiana Tech, totaling 31 yards with a long of 18. Peace had one punt return for nine yards in the game while D.J. Hayden had the other for a return of 11 yards.

    GET IT TO YOU IN A SNAP
    » Brandon Hartson returns for his fourth season as Houston's long snapper. The Fairfield, Texas, native did not have an errant snap the entire 2011 season which included 17 field goals, 51 punts and 92 PATs.
    » Hartson had nine snaps against Texas State all on target.
    » The senior followed it up with 11 perfect snaps against Louisiana Tech.

    SWINGING THE FIELD
    Information on returns during the Tony Levine era at Houston ...
    » Kickoff Returns -- 87 returns of 25 yards or more with eight touchdowns.
    » Punt Returns -- 17 returns of 15 or more yards with three touchdowns.
    » Interception Returns -- 27 returns of 10 or more yards with eight touchdowns.
    » Fumble Returns -- three returns of 15 or more yards with one touchdown.

    WALKING ON
    » On the day of their final collegiate season opener, Houston head coach Tony Levine announced four senior walk-ons have been placed on scholarship prior to taking on Texas State. Ameen Behbahani, Chris Cermin, Crawford Jones and Braxton Welford all earned the honor after spending their previous seasons as walk-ons for the Houston program.
    » The walk-on program is critical for any college football team and the Houston program has recognized walk-on talent enough to award 17 scholarships in the past five years.

    PRESEASON WATCH LISTS
    « OL Jacolby Ashworth: Lombardi Award
    Conference USA: DE Jamie Collins, Southern Miss; LB Jeremy Grove, ECU; DE Margus Hunt, SMU; LB Trent Mackey, Tulane; LB Taylor Reed, SMU; TE Luke Wilson, Rice.

    « DB D.J. Hayden: Jim Thorpe Award
    Conference USA: S Kemal Ishmael, UCF; S Dexter McCoil, Tulsa; CB Deron Wilson, Southern Miss.

    « P Richie Leone: Ray Guy Award
    Conference USA: P Ian Campbell, UTEP.

    « RB Charles Sims: Walter Camp Award
    Conference USA: RB Zach Line, SMU.

    « RB Charles Sims: Maxwell Award
    Conference USA: RB Zach Line, SMU.

     

     

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