Houston Hosts North Texas Saturday

    » Game Notes

    Date: Oct. 6, 2012
    Time: 6 p.m.

    CAPTAINS
    Offense: Jacolby Ashworth, Charles Sims
    Defense: D.J. Hayden, Phillip Steward
    Special Teams: Brandon Beasley, Braxton Welford

    TELEVISION (CSN)
    Dave Raymond, play-by-play
    N.D. Kalu, analyst
    Leila Rahimi, sideline

    RADIO (SPORTSTALK 790 AM)
    Tom Franklin, play-by-play
    Ted Pardee, analyst
    Chuck Brown, sideline

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    Official Site: UHCougars.com
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    FAST FACT ON THE SERIES
    »Series Record Overall North Texas leads 7-6
    »Series Record at Houston North Texas leads 3-2
    »Series Record at North Texas Houston leads 4-3
    »Last Meeting Houston 48, North Texas 23 (Sept. 10, 2011; at Denton, Texas)

    THE GAME
    » Fresh off its first win of the season, Houston takes on North Texas in its final non-conference game of the season Saturday at 6 p.m. Houston is coming off a 35-14 neutral site win over Rice while the Mean Green defeated Florida Atlantic on the road, 20-14, Saturday evening.
    » Houston is coming off its second game this season with at least 600 yards of total offense with 608 versus Rice while its defense played its best game of the season, holding the Owls to 343 total yards.
    » North Texas is coming off its first Sun Belt Conference win in a game that saw the Mean Green defense force three turnovers and kicker Zach Olen hit two field goals.
    » The two teams met in 2011 as Houston was victorious, 48-23, at Denton, Texas in its second of a program record 13 wins.
    » With its win Saturday, Houston avoided its first 0-4 start since 2001 as Tony Levine equaled former head coach Kevin Sumlin's start on Cullen Boulevard in 2008 with a 1-3 season opening record.
    » Houston's 1962 Tangerine Bowl team will hold its 50th reunion in conjunction with the game. Members of the team and staffers from the era will be in town for activities beginning Friday morning at 10 a.m.


    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 Patti Smith and featuring the Houston football program and the Houston athletic department, began airing on Wednesday, Sept. 5.

    THE OPPONENT
    » In its second season under head coach Dan McCarney, North Texas enters the weekend with a 2-3 record including a 1-1 Sun Belt Conference record. UNT opened the season with a 41-14 loss at LSU before rebounding with a 34-7 win in its home opener. The Mean Green lost back-to-back games, falling at Kansas State, 35-21, and at home to Troy, 14-7, before winning 20-14 at Florida Atlantic.
    » North Texas ranks 10th nationally in allowing just 0.6 sacks per game and is 41st nationally in total defense, giving up an average of 350.8 yards per game.

    TIES WITH THE OPPONENT
    » North Texas defensive coordinator John Skladany served in the same capacity at Houston during the 2008 and 2009 seasons. Skladany worked alongside current Houston coaches Tony Levine and Zac Spavital, while mentoring current Defensive Graduate Assistant Matt Nicholson, who was a starting linebacker for the Cougars.

    THE SERIES
    » North Texas owns a 7-6 lead in the 13-game series against Houston.
    » Houston has won the last three meetings with wins in 2011, 1998 and 1980.
    » Last season saw Houston claim a 48-23 win in Denton. The Cougars pulled away from North Texas with 21 points in the third quarter after leading just 20-17 at the half. Houston totaled 690 yards of offense while Case Keenum threw for 458 yards and five touchdowns. The UH defense held the Mean Green to just 290 yards as D.J. Hayden led the way with eight tackles and one interception.
    » Houston returns 12 players that started in the 2011 match up (four on offense, eight on defense).

    LAST TIME OUT
    » With Saturday night's win over Rice, Houston recorded back-to-back wins over its crosstown rival for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
    » The 35 points scored against the Owls gave Houston its eighth straight game against Rice with at least 31 points.
    » Houston moved to 12-5 in Conference USA openers with the win and 33-16-1 in all-time conference openers.
    » The win gave Tony Levine his first career regular-season win after leading UH to a defeat of Penn State in last season's TicketCity Bowl in Dallas.

    School C-USA Record Overall Record
    Houston 42-15 61-35
    Tulsa 42-16 65-32
    East Carolina 39-19 52-43
    Southern Miss 36-21 57-39
    UCF 36-20 52-42
    Marshall 27-30 37-51
    SMU 25-31 37-54
    Rice 25-33 32-57

    CONFERENCE USA TIME
    » After beginning the season with three straight non-conference games, Houston opened its final Conference USA slate with a 35-14 win over 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 42-15.

    YOUTH IS SERVED
    » When the Houston starting offense takes the field it sports just one senior - right guard Jacolby Ashworth. In fact, Ashworth is one of just four seniors on the entire offensive two deep. The elder of the two sides of the ball, the defense sports five seniors.
    » The Houston two-deep sports seven true freshmen, four redshirt freshmen, eight sophomores, 14 juniors and 13 seniors.
    » Nine true freshmen have played this season for Houston including seven starts.

    TOUGH TO BEAT AT THE ROB
    » Houston has taken advantage of playing its home games inside Robertson Stadium with a record of 32-8 (.800) dating back to the 2006 season.
    » In the 32 home wins since 2006, Houston holds a margin of victory of 25 points with 800 total points scored in the 32 wins. 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.

    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
    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 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 4-5 in their fourth game when doing so after defeating Rice, 35-14.

    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. (06-11) 2012 Avg. NCAA Rank
    1. Houston 44,575 7,093 503.8 19th
    2. Oregon 40,474 6,287 550.6 7th
    3. Nevada 40,435 6,275 557.6 5th
    4. Oklahoma 39,714 6,373 491.7 25th
    5. Boise State 38,440 6,143 395.0 72nd

    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
    ...
    16. 29 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)
    SENIOR CLASS EYEING VICTORY RECORD
    » The 2012 senior class enters the weekend just eight 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 29 wins, Houston's senior class of 27 currently sits 16th on the class wins chart, just three 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 .674 with a record of 29-14.

    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 quarterbacks. 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, before bouncing back once again in its win over Rice.

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

    Opponent		Points	Total Off.	Passing Yards	Rushing		3rd Down Conv.
    Texas State (L)		13	326 yards	211 yards	115 yards	1-13 (7.6%)
    Louisiana Tech (L)	49	693 yards	580 yards	113 yards	12-22  (54.5%)
    UCLA (L)		6	388 yards	249 yards	139 yards	6-20 (30%)
    Rice (W)		35	608 yards	361 yards	247 yards	10-15 (66.7%)
    » Quarterback David Piland also bounced back in a big way from games one and three:
    Opponent		Comp.	Att.	Comp. %	Yards	TDs	INTs
    Texas State (L)		17	44	38.6%	211	1	1
    Louisiana Tech (L)	53	77	68.8%	580	4	0
    UCLA (L)		28	60	46.7%	249	0	5
    Rice (W)		26	43	60.5%	361	2	1
    

    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.
    » 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 33 career starts and a streak of 25 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 at right tackle before swinging left 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.
    » The group did not allow a sack against Rice after allowing a lone sack to UCLA and has given up just five on the year. The group leads Conference USA in having allowed just 15 tackles for loss in the first four games.

    PACKING HIS OWN SHOES
    » David Piland is in his third year with the Houston program. Piland started eight games as a true freshman in 2010 after Case 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.
    » After Keenum was granted a sixth year of eligibility in 2011, Piland redshirted his second season on campus to save a year of eligibility.
    » 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).
    » 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.
    » Piland threw for at least 300 yards for the sixth time of his career with 361 yards against Rice. The win was the first of Piland's career when throwing 300 yards as Houston was 0-5 entering the game when Piland eclipsed the 300-yard mark. The sophomore also had his ninth multi-touchdown game of his career in the win.

    NCAA ACTIVE CAREER RECEPTIONS (RBs)
    1. 137 Charles Sims, Jr. Houston
    2. 98 Perry Jones, Sr. Virginia
    3. 91 Joseph Randle, Jr. Oklahoma State
    4. 79 James Washington, Sr. NC State
    5. 62 Cameron Marshall, Sr. Arizona St.
    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.
    » 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 137 career receptions, 39 more than his closest competitor. The versatile back has multiple receptions in 23 of his last 24 games. The junior needs just 21 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 with a career high 11 on Sept. 8 against Louisiana Tech.
    » Carrying the ball, Sims has 13 career games with at least 10 carries and four 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' game against UCLA as he dealt with a slight leg injury.
    » The junior had a career-high 24 rushing attempts in his return against Rice and finished with 158 yards, his second-best career effort, and a career-best three rushing touchdowns.
    » Sims now has 23 rushing touchdowns in his career, good for sixth on the Houston career rushing TDs chart.

    A WHOLE CAST OF CHARACTERS
    » With five of the top six receivers from 2011 moved on, 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.
    » 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: JUCO transfer Xavier Maxwell and freshmen Deontay Greenberry, Larry McDuffey, Devin Parks and Andrew Rodriguez.
    » So far this season 13 different Houston players have recorded a reception. At least seven different players have had a reception in each game including 10 players with a reception vs. Louisiana Tech.
    » Three players have accounted for four 100-yard receiving efforts as Dewayne Peace (141 vs. Louisiana Tech, 103 at UCLA), Daniel Spencer (157 vs. Louisiana Tech) and Larry McDuffey (100 vs. Rice) have accomplished the feat.
    » Six different players had at least five receptions vs. Louisiana Tech: Peace (11), Sims (11), Spencer (7), Ronnie Williams (7), Rodriguez (5) and Greenberry (5). Five different players had at least 50 receiving yards in the game: 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.
    » Despite missing two games with an injury, McDuffey quickly climbed to third on Houston's team with 173 receiving yards this season. On top of his 100-yard outing Saturday, McDuffey also had 73 yards against Texas State.

    QUICK STRIKE POTENTIAL
    » Of Houston's 17 scoring drives this season, 10 have come in under two minutes. Three of the 10 have come in under a minute with the season's quickest drive lasting just 17 seconds against Louisiana Tech as Daniel Spencer took a David Piland pass 74 yards to the end zone.
    » Four scoring drives consisted of five plays or less.
    » Six of Houston's touchdowns this year have covered at least 30 yards. Five different Houston players crossed the goal line on the six 30-plus yard TDs.

    STEWARD OF THE DEFENSE
    » 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.
    » One of two defensive captains alongside D.J. Hayden, Steward leads all Houston players with 39 career starts, starting every game since the sixth matchup of the 2009 season.
    » Steward already has 9.5 tackles for loss this season after a career-high three stops behind the line against Rice. The four-game total already tops Steward's previous season best of nine tackles for loss in 2010.
    » The senior linebacker had eight total stops against Rice, his first game this season without double-digit tackles, and is currently fifth nationally, and first in Conference USA, with an average of 11.8 tackles a game. Steward also ranks fifth nationally with 2.4 tackles for loss per game.
    » Steward's name is at the top of two Conference USA lists as he also leads the conference with four sacks.
    » After forcing only one fumble in his first three seasons at Houston, Steward now has three forced fumbles this season, recovering one of his own against UCLA.

    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 third nationally in tackles for loss with an average of 9.5 per game and are led by weakside linebacker Derrick Mathews who is third in the nation with 2.5 tackles for loss per game.

    TACKLING MACHINES
    » With its opponents winning the time of possession battle, Houston defenders have been given the opportunity to pile up some numbers and several have done so as seven Cougars have racked up 12 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 10th 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.
    » Stewart was the lone Houston defender in double digits in the win over Rice, making 11 stops for his second consecutive start with at least 10 tackles.

    SPENDING TIME ON THE FIELD
    » While Houston ranks 111th in total defense after four games, its defense has spent more time on the field than any other defense in the nation, as Houston ranks 120th in time of possession.
    » The defense has done its part to attempt to get off the field as it ranks 35th nationally in third down defense and third among Conference USA teams, holding serve on 41 of 61 third down defensive attempts.

    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.
    » Houston forced one turnover against Rice, ending the Owls' opening drive as Steward forced a fumble that Radermon Scypion would recover.

    M.A.S.H. UNIT
    » Just four games into the season, members of the Houston two-deep have missed a combined 13 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
    » 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 323 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 194, 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 194 career extra points.
    » The senior is fourth nationally among all positions with 323 career points trailing Wisconsin running back Montee Ball (404), Florida State kicker Dustin Hopkins (377) and Ohio's Matt Weller (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 three of the last four games of his career: Penn State (3), Texas State (2) and Louisiana Tech (2).

    NATION'S BEST PUNTER

    » The nation's top-ranked punter with an average of 48.3 yards per punt, junior Richie Leone is handling Houston's punting duties for the third consecutive year.
    » Leone is 18th nationally with 5.75 punts per game including a career-high nine kicks at UCLA.
    » This season Leone has 23 punts with 10 longer than 50 yards including a career-long 77-yard punt against Louisiana Tech and a 62-yard kick versus Rice.
    » The junior has placed seven punts inside the 20-yard line this season, including four punts inside the 10-yard line, and opposing returners are averaging just 8.5 yards per return.
    » Leone has excelled at hanging the ball in the air as just 11 of his punts have been returned with opponents calling for nine fair catches.
    » Leone also handles kickoff duties for Houston. Leone has 113 career kickoffs for 7,235 yards, an average of 64.0 yards per kick. Leone has four touchbacks on 19 kickoffs this season.
    » 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 last season.
    » 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.

    RETURNING RIGHT BACK TO YOU
    » 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.
    » Dewayne Peace has handled punt returning duties for eight of nine returns with D.J. Hayden taking one punt return back 11 yards.
    » Four players have at least one kick return this season with freshman Ryan Jackson leading the way with five returns for 89 yards (17.8 yards per return)
    » Jackson is one of three freshmen with a kick return this season as Larry McDuffey (29 yards) and Trevon Stewart (16 yards) each have one apiece. Jeffrey Lewis (15 yards) has the only other kickoff return for the Cougars this year.

    SWINGING THE FIELD
    Information on returns during the Tony Levine era at Houston ...
    • Kickoff Returns -- 88 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.

    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 41 perfect snaps on the season this year.

    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.
     

     

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