Game Notes - Bayou Bucket

    Sept. 26, 2012

    » Game Notes

    FAST FACTS ON THE SERIES
    » Series Record Overall Houston leads 27-11
    » Series Record at Houston Houston leads 13-5
    » Series Record at Rice Houston leads 14-6
    » Last Meeting Houston 73, Rice 34 (Oct. 27, 2011; at Houston)

    THE GAME
    » Houston opens its final season of Conference USA play and looks to bounce back from an 0-3 start Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. in the Bayou Bucket Bowl vs. Rice at Reliant Stadium, home of the NFL's Houston Texans.
    » Saturday's meeting is the first Bayou Bucket Bowl is just the second to be played at a neutral site in the series history as the two teams met at Reliant Stadium in 2004.
    » The game marks Houston's final Conference USA opener as it moves to the Big East in 2013. Since 2005, Houston leads the conference with a league record of 41-15 (.732 winning percentage), just ahead of Tulsa at 41-16 (.719).
    » Both teams are looking for their first conference victory of the season as Houston opened with three consecutive non-conference losses and Rice dropped its C-USA opener to Marshall, 54-51, double overtime.
    » Houston looks to avoid its sixth 0-4 start in program history and the first since 2001.
    » Houston's first three opponents have a combined record of 8-2 (.800 winning percentage) as Rice will be the first opponent it faces with a losing record.
    » The Houston and Rice coaching staffs will be wearing Coach to Cure MD patches to raise awareness and funding for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research. Fans are encouraged to donate online at www.CoachtoCureMD.org or donate $5 by texting CURE to 90999.
    START CHART
    OFFENSE
    Player 2012 Streak Career
    Ashworth (OL) 3 24 32
    Sims (RB) 2 - 20
    Cloud (OL) 3 17 17
    Harper (OL) 3 17 17
    Forsch (OL) 2 - 16
    Piland (QB) 3 3 11
    R. Williams (WR) 3 3 4
    Spencer (WR) 3 3 3
    Roberts (WR) 2 - 2
    Oragwu (OL) 2 - 2
    DEFENSE
    Player 2012 Streak Career
    Steward (LB) 3 38 38
    Riser (DL) 2 - 20
    King (DL) 1 1 11
    Mathews (LB) 3 17 17
    McMillian (CB) 3 7 16
    Hayden (CB) 3 10 15
    Braswell (DL) 1 - 12
    Brooks (S) 1 - 11
    Bennett (S) 1 1 6


    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 sixth season under head coach David Bailiff, Rice enters the neutral-site matchup with a 1-3 record including an 0-1 Conference USA record. It shares two common opponents with Houston in UCLA and Louisiana Tech. UCLA defeated Rice on Aug. 30 (49-24) and Houston on Sept. 15 (37-6). Louisiana Tech defeated Houston (56-49) on Sept. 8 before defeating Rice (56-37) the following week.

    TIES WITH THE OPPONENT
    » Houston quarterbacks coach Travis Bush and Rice head coach David Bailiff will reunite again on Saturday after spending six years together at two different schools. Bush served as a graduate assistant for the offensive line when Baliff was defensive coordinator at TCU from 2001-03. Bush followed Bailiff to Texas State to coach wide receivers in 2004 when Bailiff was named head coach.
    » Bailiff also served with Houston head coach Tony Levine during his first stint at Texas State when he served as defensive coordinator from 1997-98 and head coach in 1999 while Levine was the assistant wide receivers and tight ends coach in his first collegiate job.
    » Rice defensive line and linebackers coach Chris Thurmond served as cornerbacks coach at Houston from 2006-07. The only person on Houston's staff that was present during Thurmond's tenure is defensive graduate assistant Matt Nicholson, who was in his first two collegiate seasons at linebacker for the Cougars.
    » Rice safeties coach Larry Hoefer served as safeties and defensive line coach at Baylor in 2006 and 2007 with current Houston offensive line coach and then-Baylor offensive coordinator, Lee Hays.
    » Rice offensive line coach Ronnie Vinklarek coached the offensive line at Houston from 1988-93, mentoring the unit that protected Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware.

    THE SERIES
    » Houston owns a 27-11 lead in the Bayou Bucket Bowl series and has won seven of the last 10 meetings.
    » A win Saturday would mark the eighth time in series history that Houston has won at least two games in a row in the series. The longest winning streak began in 1987 and lasted to 1992 as the Cougars won six straight in the series. Houston also owns winning streaks of five games (1981-85) and four games (1976-79). Rice has won consecutive games in the series just twice with two game winning streaks in 1993-94 and 2000-01.
    » Last season saw Houston claim a 73-34 win at home. The Cougars pulled away from Rice after trailing the first quarter, 17-14. Houston put 24 points to the Owls' three in the second quarter for a 38-20 lead. Houston would outscore Rice, 35-14, in the second half as Case Keenum threw for a career-high nine touchdown passes in the game.
    » Houston returns 12 players that started in the 2011 match up (five on offense, seven on defense).

    LAST TIME OUT
    » Houston fell to 0-3 with a 37-6 loss at UCLA on Sept. 15 before enjoying a much-needed bye week. The loss snapped a six-game road winning streak for Houston, which was fourth nationally entering the contest.
    » Houston avoided being shutout for the first time since 2000 when David Piland broke off an 86-yard touchdown run with 4:54 remaining in the game.

    CONFERENCE USA TIME
    School C-USA Record Overall Record
    Houston 41-15 60-35
    Tulsa 41-16 64-32
    East Carolina 38-19 51-43
    Southern Miss 36-21 57-38
    UCF 36-20 52-41
    Marshall 27-30 37-50
    SMU 25-31 37-53
    Rice 25-32 32-56
    » After opening the season with three straight non-conference games, Houston opens its final Conference USA slate with a neutral site game against Rice.
    » C-USA title game participants in 2011, 2009 and 2006, Houston joins Tulsa (2008, 2007, 2005) in establishing a grip on the C-USA West crown. Only SMU (2010) has advanced from the west to the C-USA title game in its seven-year existence.
    » Since 2005, Houston owns the conference's top league record at 41-15.

    NCAA Records set in Louisiana Tech game:
    » Prior to its UCLA outing, Houston fell 56-49 to Louisiana Tech in a shootout that saw seven NCAA records fall.
    » 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.

    FINAL YEAR AT ROBERTSON
    TOP 10 CROWDS AT ROBERTSON
    1. 32,413 vs. Southern Miss 12/3/11
    2. 32,207 vs. SMU 11/19/11
      32,207 vs. Texas State 9/1/12
    4. 32,119 vs. UTEP 9/10/10
      32,119 vs. Texas State 9/4/10
    6. 32,114 vs. Texas Tech 9/26/09
      32,112 vs. Rice 10/27/11
    8. 32,107 vs. Marshall 10/22/11
    9. 32,067 vs. Mississippi State 10/9/10
    10. 32,009 vs. Tulane 9/25/10
    » 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 Robertson 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.

    BOUNCING BACK
    » In 67 years of football, Houston has now started the season 0-3 nine times. The Cougars are 3-5 in their fourth game in the previous eight instances. Houston last started 0-4 in 2001 as it finished the season 0-11.

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

    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.

    SENIOR CLASS EYEING VICTORY RECORD

    TOP 10 HOUSTON SENIOR CLASSES
    (By Victories)
    1. 36 2008-11
    36 2006-09
    36 1976-79
    4. 34 1978-81
    34 1971-74
    34 1970-73
    7. 33 1977-80
    8. 32 Five teams tied
    ...
    18. 28 2009-12
    TOP 10 HOUSTON SENIOR CLASSES
    (By Winning Percentage)
    1. .766 1976-79 (36-11)
    2. .756 1966-69 (30-9-2)
    3. .750 1970-73 (34-11-1)
    .750 1968-71 (32-10-2)
    5. .745 1971-74 (34-11-2)
    6. .738 1967-70 (30-10-2)
    7. .722 1987-90 (32-12-1)
    .722 1969-72 (32-12-1)
    9. .719 1978-81 (34-13-1)
    10. .711 1988-91 (32-13)
    » 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.

    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 offense bounced back in a big way despite losing to Louisiana Tech. The group jumped 57 spots nationally in total offense ranking and 56 spots in passing offense. Against the 13th-ranked passing defense of UCLA, the Cougars took a slight step backwards.


    » A quick look at the per game offensive output shows why:

    Opponent	Points	Total Off.	Passing Yards	Rushing		3rd Down Conv.
    TSU		13	326 yards	211 yards	115 yards	1-13 (7.6%)
    LT		49	693 yards	580 yards	113 yards	12-22  (54.5%)
    UCLA		6	388 yards	249 yards	139 yards	6-20 (30%)
    

    » Quarterback David Piland also bounced back in a big way from game one to game two before regressing in game three:
    Opponent	Comp.	Att.	Comp. %	Yards	TDs	INTs
    TSU		17	44	38.6%	211	1	1
    LT		53	77	68.8%	580	4	0
    UCLA		28	60	46.7%	249	0	5
    

    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 32 career starts and a streak of 24 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 missed two key cogs against UCLA as center Kevin Forsch and right tackle Ralph Oragwu were forced to sit out with injuries. Bryce Redman stepped in at center while DeAnthony Sims manned RT. Both are expected back against Rice.

    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 them. 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.
    » 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
    NCAA ACTIVE CAREER RECEPTIONS (RBs)
    1. 133 Charles Sims, Jr. Houston
    2. 91 Perry Jones, Sr. Virginia
    3. 89 Joseph Randle, Jr. Oklahoma State
    4. 79 James Washington, Sr. NC State
    5. 61 Cameron Marshall, Sr. Arizona St.
    » 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.
    » In 2011, Sims ranked No. 4 nationally in yards per carry (7.5) and his 51 receptions ranked No. 2 nationally among running backs.
    » Sims leads all running backs nationally with 133 career receptions, 42 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 on Sept. 8 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.
    » Sims was forced to miss the Cougars' last game against UCLA as he dealt with a slight leg injury.

    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.
    » The injury bug hit the receiving core against UCLA as well. Rodriguez and McDuffey were already held out of the game due to lingering injuries before Houston lost both Mark Roberts and Ronnie Williams during the game against the Bruins.

    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 got its first interceptions of the season at UCLA as D.J. Hayden and Zach McMillian both picked off UCLA's Brett Hundley.

    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 fifth nationally in tackles for loss with an average of 9.3 per game and are led by weakside linebacker Derrick Mathews who leads the nation with 2.7 tackles for loss per game.

    TACKLING MACHINES
    » With its opponents winning the time of possession battle, Houston defenders have been given the opportunity to pile up some numbers and several have done so as seven Cougars have racked up 11 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.
    » Freshman Trevon Stewart added his name to the double-digit tackle list as he collected 16 tackles against UCLA in his first career start. He was joined by Steward who had 13 stops.
    » For Steward, his effort at UCLA marked his 10 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.

    TAKING IT AWAY
    » After forcing only one turnover in its first two games of the season, the Houston defense forced five turnovers in its trip to the Rose Bowl against UCLA.
    » Cornerbacks D.J. Hayden and Zach McMillian each picked off Brett Hundley passes while Phillip Steward, Colton Valencia and Thomas Bates all recovered Bruin fumbles.

    M.A.S.H. UNIT
    » Just three games into the season, members of the Houston two-deep have missed a combined 11 full games with others suffering injuries that have limited them in games.
    » Against UCLA, the Houston offense was already down three starters as Kevin Forsch, Ralph Oragwu and Charles Sims had to miss the game due to injuries. Also hampered with the fact that receivers Xavier Maxwell, Larry McDuffey and Andrew Rodriguez would miss the game, the Cougars were literally hurt when running back and kick returner Ryan Jackson and receivers Mark Roberts and Ronnie Williams all left the game with injuries.
    » The defensive side of the ball has seen a shuffle in the secondary as safeties Kent Brooks and Jeffrey Lewis missed the UCLA game with injuries. Freshman Trevon Stewart made the switch from cornerback to safety against the Bruins and finished with a career-high 16 tackles.

    EXTRA POINTS FOR HOGAN
    NCAA ACTIVE CAREER EXTRA POINTS
    1. 189 Matt Hogan, Sr. Houston
    2. 153 Dustin Hopkins, Sr. Florida State
    3. 134 Brandon McManus, Sr. Temple
    4. 133 Matt Nelson, Sr. Louisiana Tech
    NCAA ACTIVE CAREER SCORING
    1. 372 Montee Ball, Sr., RB Wisconsin
    2. 348 Dustin Hopkins, Sr., K, Florida State
    3. 318 Matt Hogan, Sr., K Houston
    4. 312 Matt Weller, Sr., K Ohio
    » 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 (386) and Florida State kicker Dustin Hopkins (365).
    » 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 three of the last four games of his career: Penn State (3), Texas State (2) and Louisiana Tech (2).

    RICHIE RICH
    » The nation's top-ranked punter with an average of 48.8 yards per punt, junior Richie Leone is handling Houston's punting duties for the third consecutive year.
    » Leone is 10th nationally with 6.3 punts per game after hitting a career-high nine kicks at UCLA.
    » This season Leone has 19 punts with nine longer than 50 yards including a career-long 77-yarder against Louisiana Tech.
    » The junior has placed five punts inside the 20-yard line this season, including three punts inside the 10-yard line, and opposing returners are averaging just 9.6 yards per return.
    » Leone has excelled at hanging the ball in the air as just 10 of his punts have been returned with opponents calling for seven fair catches.
    » Leone also handles kickoff duties for Houston. Leone has 107 career kickoffs for 6,862 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.
    » 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.

    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.
    » With Jackson injured against UCLA, freshman Trevon Stewart took over as the Cougars' kick returner, returning one kick for 16 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 has 30 perfect snaps on the season this year.

    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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