Game Notes - Houston vs. UTEP


    » Game Notes

    THE GAME
    » Houston (3-4) looks to bounce back from its first Conference USA loss of the season as it hosts UTEP (2-6) Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in Robertson Stadium.
    » Both teams snapped streaks in their last game as Houston's three-game winning streak came to an end with a 72-42 Thursday night loss at SMU while UTEP ended a four-game losing streak with a 24-20 home win over Tulane last Saturday.
    » The two teams met last season as Houston was victorious, 49-42, in El Paso, in its fifth of a program record 13 wins on the season.
    » Houston has won the last two meetings between the two teams by an average margin of 18.5 points and has won the last five of six meetings.
    » Saturday's game is Breast Cancer Awareness as the Houston Athletics Department honors those stricken with the disease.
    » The game also comes one day after the kickoff of Houston's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee's "Let's SAAC Hunger" Food Drive that runs through Nov. 1. Fans who bring at least five items will receive a voucher for free popcorn at the game Saturday.

    THE OPPONENT
    » In its ninth season under head coach Mike Price, UTEP enters Saturday's matchup with a 2-6 record. The Miners snapped a four-game losing streak with a 24-20 win over Tulane last weekend. UTEP's only other win came on Sept. 15 when it defeated New Mexico State, 41-28. The Miners have dropped contests to Oklahoma (24-7), Ole Miss (28-10), Wisconsin (37-26), East Carolina (28-18), SMU (17-0) and Tulsa (33-11). The Miners are 0-4 on the road this season.
    » On the season UTEP ranks 115th nationally in scoring offense (17.1 points per game), 96th in total offense (353.5 yards per game), 67th in passing offense (228.0 yards per game), 94th in rushing offense (125.5 yards per game), 65th in scoring defense (26.9 points per game, 94th in total defense (444.5 yards per game), 97th in rushing defense (196.6 yards per game) and 80th in passing defense (247.9 yards per game).
    » UTEP rushed for 217 yards in its 24-20 win over Tulane Saturday. Quarterback Nick Lamaison threw for 157 yards and two touchdowns before leaving the game in the second quarter with a hamstring injury. Backup Carson Meger finished with 71 passing yards in relief.

    THE SERIES
    » Houston owns a 5-4 series lead over UTEP including a 3-0 mark in Houston.
    » Houston has won the last two meetings between the two teams by an average margin of 18.5 points and has won the last five of six meetings.
    » Last season saw Houston claim a 49-42 win in El Paso as Houston had to rally from an early 14-0 deficit for its fifth win of the season. Charles Sims (111) and Michael Hayes (100) each rushed for 100 yards as Case Keenum threw for 471 yards and two touchdowns.
    » Houston returns 12 players that started in the 2011 match up (four on offense, eight on defense).


    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.

    LAST TIME OUT
    » Despite falling to SMU, Houston managed to outgain the Mustangs, 560 yards to 384 yards.
    » For the third straight game, Houston scored on its opening drive with a one-yard rushing touchdown from Charles Sims. The touchdown was one of four Sims would account for Thursday (two rushing, two receiving) as the junior scored multiple touchdowns in a game for the third time this season and the ninth time of his career.
    » Sims recorded his third career game with at least 100 yards receiving as he led Houston with 114 yards through the air on seven receptions, his 14th career game with at least five receptions.
    » The game saw three different quarterbacks play for Houston. Starter David Piland was knocked out of the game in the second quarter with a head injury and left the game with 15-of-25 for 180 yards and two interceptions. Redshirt-freshman Bram Kohlhausen opened up the second half 2-of-7 for 13 yards with two interceptions before Crawford Jones finished the game 17-of-33 for 252 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

    School C-USA Record Overall Record
    Tulsa 45-16 68-32
    Houston 43-16 63-36
    East Carolina 41-20 54-44
    UCF 39-20 55-42
    Southern Miss 36-24 57-41
    UTEP 23-37 39-54
    CONFERENCE USA TIME
    » After beginning the season with three straight defeats, Houston reeled off three straight wins including two consecutive Conference USA victories.
    » 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 second-best league record at 43-16.

    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 14 starts.
    » Four of the top 10 receivers are true freshmen while three of the top five rushers are sophomore or freshmen.

    START CHART
    OFFENSE
    Player 2012 Streak Career
    Ashworth (OL) 7 28 36
    Sims (RB) 6 4 24
    Cloud (OL) 7 21 21
    Harper (OL) 7 21 21
    Forsch (OL) 4 - 18
    Piland (QB) 7 7 15
    R. Williams (WR) 6 3 7
    Spencer (WR) 7 7 7
    Greenberry (WR) 6 5 6
    Oragwu (OL) 6 4 6
    Peace (WR) 5 5 6
    Redman (OL) 3 1 3
    Roberts (WR) 2 - 2
    McDuffey (WR) 1 - 1
    D. Sims (OL) 1 - 1
    Jackson (RB) 1 - 1
    DEFENSE
    Player 2012 Streak Career
    Steward (LB) 7 42 42
    Riser (DL) 4 2 22
    Mathews (LB) 7 21 21
    McMillian (CB) 7 11 20
    Hayden (CB) 7 14 19
    King (DL) 6 6 16
    Miller (DL) 2 - 15
    Braswell (DL) 1 - 12
    Brooks (S) 1 - 11
    Valencia (S) 4 4 8
    Scypion (DL) 5 - 6

    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
    TOUGH TO BEAT AT THE ROB
    » Houston has taken advantage of playing its home games inside Robertson Stadium with a record of 34-8 (.810) dating back to the 2006 season.
    » In the 34 home wins since 2006, Houston holds a margin of victory of 25.5 points with 866 total points scored in the 34 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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    ON THE OFFENSIVE
    » Since 2006, no team in college football has racked up more offensive yards than Houston who has 46,324 yards in that time.
    Rank Team Yards (2006-) Average (06-11) 2012 Average NCAA Rank
    1. Houston 46,324 7,093 537.7 7th
    2. Nevada 41,976 6,275 541.1 6th
    3. Oregon 41,425 6,287 529.1 8th
    4. Oklahoma 41,168 6,373 488.2 17th
    5. Boise State 39,479 6,143 374.1 85th

    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
    ...
    11. 31 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 six 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 31 wins, Houston's senior class of 27 currently sits 11th on the class wins chart, just one 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 31-15.

    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. Houston added its third 600-yards of total offense game against North Texas .
    » In the six games since taking over the Houston offensive play-calling duties, Houston has totaled 3,438 yards of total offense for an average of 573.0 yards per game, which would rank fourth nationally.


    » 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%)
    LT (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%)
    North Texas (W)	44	623 yards	321 yards	302 yards	4-10 (40%)
    UAB (W)		39	566 yards	380 yards	186 yards	11-20 (55%)
    SMU (L)		42	560 yards	445 yards	115 yards	12-21 (57.1%)
    Avg. under Bush	35.8	573.0 yards	389.3 yards	183.7 yards	55-108 (50.9%)
    

    » Quarterback David Piland also benefitted from the leadership of Travis Bush:
    Opponent	Comp.	Att.	Comp. %	Yards	TDs	INTs
    Texas State (L)	17	44	38.6%	211	1	1
    LT (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
    North Texas (W)	31	41	75.6%	321	2	0
    UAB (W)		32	44	72.7%	362	1	0
    SMU (L)		15	25	60.0%	180	0	2

    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 98 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 36 career starts and a streak of 28 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 has allowed nine sacks on the year which ranks second in Conference USA. The group also ranks second in the conference in having given up 35 tackles for loss in the seven games.

    QUICK STRIKE POTENTIAL
    » Of Houston's 40 scoring drives this season, 15 have come in under two minutes. Three of those 15 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.
    » Five scoring drives consisted of five plays or less.
    » Nine of Houston's touchdowns this year have covered at least 30 yards. Seven different Houston players have crossed the goal line on the nine 30-plus yard TDs.

    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 his career when throwing 300 yards as Houston was 0-5 entering the game when Piland eclipsed the 300-yard mark.
    » Piland has topped the 300-yard mark in three of the last four games after throwing for 362 yards against UAB. Piland has eight career games of at least 300 yards and has won the last three after losing the first five of his career.
    » After throwing five interceptions and no touchdowns against UCLA, Piland responded with five touchdowns and one interception in the next three games. The sophomore now has 10 career games with multiple touchdowns.
    » Against SMU, Piland was knocked out of the game in the second quarter on a hit after he released the ball resulting in a personal foul penalty against the Mustangs. Prior to the injury, Piland was 15-of-25 with 180 yards and two interceptions.

    NCAA ACTIVE CAREER RECEPTIONS (RBs)
    1. 152 Charles Sims, Jr. Houston
    2. 108 Perry Jones, Sr. Virginia
    3. 95 Joseph Randle, Jr. Oklahoma State
    4. 79 James Washington, Sr. NC State
    5. 64 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 152 career receptions, 44 more than his closest competitor. The versatile back has multiple receptions in 26 of his last 27 games. The junior needs just six receptions to break into Houston's top-10 career receptions chart. Sims had 70 receptions in 2009 and 51 in 2011.
    » Sims has 14 career games with at least five receptions with a career high 11 on Sept. 8 against Louisiana Tech.
    » Carrying the ball, Sims has 16 career games with at least 10 carries and six career 100-yard rushing games. Houston is 6-0 when Sims eclipses the century mark.
    » The junior ran for a career-best 210 yards against North Texas for his second career 200-yard game after finishing with 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 while Sims averaged 10.0 yards per carry against the Mean Green with 21 attempts.
    » 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.
    » In Houston's three-game winning streak, Sims totaled 501 rushing yards after finishing with 133 yards on a career-high 26 carries against UAB, his third straight game over 100 yards.
    » Sims now has 26 rushing touchdowns in his career, good for fifth on the Houston career rushing TDs chart. Sims also has eight career receiving TDs.
    » With his two rushing touchdowns against SMU, Sims now has three games this season with multiple rushing touchdowns and nine in his career.
    » The SMU game also saw Sims record his third career 100-yard receiving effort as he finished the game with 114 yards and two touchdowns through the air on seven receptions.
    » With two receiving and two rushing touchdowns against SMU, Sims totaled 24 points, the sixth-most points by a Houston player in a single game.

    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 18 different Houston players have recorded a reception including seven players with at least 11 receptions and four with at least 22. At least seven different players have had a reception in each game including 11 players with a reception vs. UAB.


    » Four players have accounted for five 100-yard receiving efforts as Dewayne Peace (141 vs. Louisiana Tech, 103 at UCLA), Daniel Spencer (157 vs. Louisiana Tech), Larry McDuffey (100 vs. Rice) and Shane Ros (114 vs. UAB) 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).

    BEHIND THE LINE
    » The 2012 Houston defense currently ranks 11th nationally in tackles for loss with an average of 7.7 per game and are led by linebackers Derrick Mathews and Phillip Steward who are seventh nationally with 1.8 tackles for loss per game.
    » The two have a combined 10.5 sacks with Steward leading the team with 6.5 sacks. The 10.5 sacks represent more than 26 different NCAA teams.
    » Eleven different Houston players have had their hand in on a sack while 16 have a tackle for loss.

    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. His 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.
    » Steward picked off his first pass of the season on a leaping effort against UAB and now has nine on his career.
    » One of two defensive captains alongside D.J. Hayden, Steward leads all Houston players with 41 career starts, starting every game since the sixth matchup of the 2009 season.
    » Steward already has 12.5 tackles for loss this season after a career-high three stops behind the line against UAB. Steward had already surpassed his previous season best of nine tackles for loss (2010) in just five games.
    » The senior linebacker had a team-high 13 stops against UAB, his fifth game this season with double-digit tackles, and is currently eighth nationally, and first in Conference USA, with an average of 10.9 tackles a game. Steward also ranks seventh nationally with 1.9 tackles for loss per game and 21st nationally with 0.9 sacks per game.
    » 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.

    2012 Double Digit Tackle Efforts
    1. Phillip Steward 4
    2. Derrick Mathews 3
    3. Everett Daniels 2
      Trevon Stewart 2
      Chris Cermin 2
    6. Colton Valencia 1
      Zach McMillian 1
      D.J. Hayden 1
    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 eight Cougars have racked up 18 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.
    » For Steward, his 13-tackle effort against UAB marked his 12th career game with at least 10 tackles.
    » 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.
    » With 11 tackles against North Texas, Mathews now owns five career games with at least 10 tackles.
    » 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.
    » 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.
    » Four players had at least 10 tackles against North Texas led by Steward and Daniels with 12 stops each. Mathews and Colton Valencia finished just behind with 11 stops apiece.
    » Everett Daniels hit double digits for the third time this season as he finished with 10 stops against SMU.

    D.J.'S DILEMMA
    » Every cornerback wants interceptions but Houston's D.J. Hayden has a bit of a dilemma in that teams have not been throwing his way this season. Of the 280 pass attempts from Houston's opponents this year, just 35 attempts (12.5%) have gone Hayden's way. Of those 35 attempts, just 10 have been completed. The 10 represent just 6.1 percent of the total 164 completions from Houston opponents this season.
    » Hayden leads Houston with six pass breakups and is one of five Cougars with an interception, picking off passes at UCLA and SMU, the latter of which he returned for a 75-yard touchdown.
    » Facing off against Quinton Patton of Louisiana Tech, Hayden held the Biletnikoff Candidate, who had 21 receptions for 233 yards and four TDs vs. Texas A&M, to his lowest output of the season.

    Patton's Numbers		Receptions	Yards		Avg. per Catch	Touchdowns
    vs. Hayden			4		36		9.0		0
    Average per game vs. rest	9.2 (55 total)	128.3 (770)	14.0		1.7 (10 total)

    GREAT USE OF THE BYE WEEK
    » After starting the season 0-3, Houston's bye week the week of Sept. 22 could not have come at a better time. Not only were the Cougars winless but they suffered a number of injuries that needed time to heal. Since the bye week, Houston captured three consecutive wins by a combined score of 118-52 before falling to SMU.
    » After giving up 123 points in its first three games (an average of 41 points per game), the Houston defense tightened up in the next three games after the bye week, allowing just 52 points (an average of 17.3 points per game). Statistically, the defense actually improved in all categories except for scoring defense against SMU.
    » Scoring defense is one of several stat categories that Houston has improved on since the bye week...

    Stat Season Average (NCAA rank) Average prior to bye Average since bye Where UH would rank nationally using only after bye
    Total Offense 534.0 (11th) 469.0 600.7 No. 2 (National Leader - Oklahoma State - 601.4)
    Scoring Offense 31.0 (53rd) 22.7 39.3 No. 22 (NL - Louisiana Tech - 53.8)
    Passing Offense 350.3 (6th) 346.7 354.0 No. 6 (NL - Baylor - 398.4)
    Rushing Offense 183.7 (44th) 122.3 246.7 No. 12 (NL - Army - 385.2)
    Total Defense 468.2 (104th) 536.3 400.0 No. 69 (NL - Alabama - 181.2)
    Scoring Defense 29.2 (82nd) 41.0 17.3 No. 23 (NL - Alabama - 7.5)
    Passing Defense 289.0 (111th) 289.7 288.3 No. 110 (NL - Alabama - 125.8)
    Rushing Defense 179.2 (82nd) 246.7 111.7 No. 24 (NL - Alabama - 55.3)
    Turnover Margin - 0.50 (88th) -4.0 +1.0 No. 20 (NL - Four Teams - +2.2)

    SPENDING TIME ON THE FIELD
    » While Houston ranks 101st in total defense after seven games, just three defenses nationally have spent more time on the field than Houston, as it ranks 117th in time of possession with an average of 26 minutes and 16 seconds.
    » The defense has done its part to attempt to get off the field as it ranks 55th nationally in third down defense and second among Conference USA teams, holding serve on 67 of 106 third down defensive attempts.

    Team Defense TOP Third Down
    Houston 104th (468.2) 115th (25:53) 31st (31-91, 34.1%)
    Indiana 103rd (463.8) 107th (27:07) 75th (39-96, 40.6%)
    Washington State 102nd (462.6) 108th (27:02) 106th (56-115, 48.7%)
    Idaho 101st(461.1) 63rd (29:46) 97th (41-91, 45.1%)
    Wyoming 100th (459.8) 87th (28:28) 117th (54-103, 52.4%)
    Texas 99th (449.7) 36th (31:21) 67th (31-81, 38.3%)

    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.
    » The defense forced at least one turnover for a fourth straight game with an interception and a fumble recovery versus UAB after two interceptions against North Texas. Phillip Steward picked off his ninth career pass against the Blazers while D.J. Hayden notched the third fumble recovery of his career.
    » With two interceptions against SMU, Houston has now picked off an opposing quarterback in three straight games.

    LEAVE IT TO LEONE
    » The nation's third-ranked punter with an average of 47.6 yards per punt, junior Richie Leone is handling Houston's punting duties for the third consecutive year.
    » This season Leone has 28 punts with 11 longer than 50 yards including a career-long 77-yard punt against Louisiana Tech, a 63-yard punt at SMU and a 62-yard kick versus Rice.
    » The junior has placed nine punts inside the 20-yard line this season, including six punts inside the 10-yard line, and opposing returners are averaging just 9.5 yards per return.
    » Leone has excelled at hanging the ball in the air as just 13 of his punts have been returned with opponents calling for 10 fair catches.
    » Leone also handles kickoff duties for Houston. Leone has 135 career kickoffs for 8,642 yards, an average of 64.0 yards per kick. Leone has 17 touchbacks on 41 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.
    » Currently second on the Houston career punting average chart with a career average of 42.7 yards per punt, behind the record of 43.5 set by Chase Turner (2007-09).

    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 63 perfect snaps on the season this year (27 punts, 19 PATs, 17 FGA).

    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.
    » Houston's punt team currently features seven walk ons.

    NCAA ACTIVE CAREER EXTRA POINTS
    1. 208 Matt Hogan, Sr. Houston
    2. 180 Dustin Hopkins, Sr. Florida State
    3. 174 Matt Nelson, Sr. Louisiana Tech
    4. 156 Aaron Jones, Jr. Baylor
    5. 153 Casey Barth, JR. North Carolina
    NCAA ACTIVE CAREER SCORING
    1. 446 Montee Ball, Sr., RB Wisconsin
    2. 417 Dustin Hopkins, Sr., K, Florida State
    3. 366 Matt Weller, Sr., K Ohio
    4. 364 Matt Hogan, Sr., K Houston
    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 364 career points, Hogan currently sits second on the Houston career scoring chart behind the 423 points behind former kicker Roman Anderson (1988-91).
    » Hogan is also second on the Houston career chart for extra points with 208, behind Anderson's 213.
    » On the program's career field goal chart, Hogan's 52 three-pointers are currently second behind Anderson's record of 70.
    » Hogan leads all active kickers nationally with his 208 career extra points.
    » The senior is fourth nationally among all positions with 364 career points trailing Wisconsin running back Montee Ball (446), Florida State kicker Dustin Hopkins (417) and Ohio kicker Matt Weller (366).
    » 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.
    » Houston's 39-17 win over UAB saw Hogan set Conference USA and school records with six field goals in the game including a career-long 52-yard kick that ranks second in length in program history. The senior also added three extra points to finish the day with a program-record 21 total points. For his efforts, he was named the Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Week and a Lou Groza Award Star of the Week.
    » With his six field goals against UAB, Hogan now has 17 career games with multiple field goals including four of the last seven games of his career: Penn State (3), Texas State (2), Louisiana Tech (2) , North Texas (3) and UAB (6). Hogan has two straight and four career games with at least three field goals.
    » Hogan has three 50-yard field goals on the season, one each against Texas State, North Texas and UAB and now has four from 50 yards or further in his career. Prior to 2012, Hogan's lone 50-plus kick was a 51-yard game-winning field goal against Tulsa in 2009 in a game that saw him connect on all four field goal attempts. With his three conversions this year, Hogan is now 4-6 in his career from 50 yards or more.

    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 11 of 13 returns with D.J. Hayden taking one punt return back 11 yards and Damian Payne with one return for one yards.
    » Six players have at least one kick return this season with freshman Ryan Jackson leading the way with seven returns for 125 yards (17.9 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) have one each. Kenneth Farrow (67 yards) and Marcus Williams (66 yards) each have three kickoff returns each while Jeffrey Lewis (15 yards) also has one kickoff return.

    SWINGING THE FIELD
    Information on returns during the Tony Levine era at Houston ...
    • Kickoff Returns -- 90 returns of 25 yards or more with eight touchdowns.
    • Punt Returns -- 18 returns of 15 or more yards with three touchdowns.
    • Interception Returns -- 29 returns of 10 or more yards with nine touchdowns.
    • Fumble Returns -- three returns of 15 or more yards with one touchdown.

    Special Teams Tackles
      Player Kickoff Punt Total
    1. Shane Ros 10 3 13
    2. Brannon Beasley 10 2 12
    3. Kenneth Farrow 9 0 9
    4. Chris Cermin 5 0 5
    5. Phillip Steward 3 1 4
    WE'VE GOT YOU COVERED
    » Houston has slowly lowered its opponents return numbers on both kickoffs and punts, currently allowing 19.9 yards per kickoff return and 9.4 yards per punt return. Coverage units that are populated with a mix of scholarship players and walk-ons have led to the decline in opposing teams' return numbers. A total of 16 different players have made a special teams stop on kick coverage led by Shane Ros who has 13 special teams tackles this year including four against North Texas alone.
    » The special teams captains for Houston are selected weekly after grading of Houston's previous game is complete. UH's special teams captain for Thursday night's game will be kicker Matt Hogan.

    Special Teams Captains
    Texas State: Matt Hogan
    Louisiana Tech: Matt Hogan
    UCLA: Richie Leone
    North Texas: Brannon Beasley, Braxton Welford
    UAB: Matt Hogan, Shane Ros
    SMU: Matt Hogan

    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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