Game Notes - Houston at ECU

    Oct. 31, 2012

    » Game Notes

    THE GAME
    » Houston (4-4) travels outside the state of Texas for just the second time this season when it takes on East Carolina (5-4) Saturday at 11 a.m. in Greenville, N.C.
    » The two teams had opposite results last week as Houston defeated UTEP, 45-35, in Conference USA action and East Carolina fell to Navy, 56-28, in its final non-conference game of the season.
    » The two teams met last season as Houston was victorious at home, 56-3, as it held the Pirates to just 21 rushing yards.
    » Houston enters the game with a five-game streak of scoring at least 35 points. Only two other UH teams have scored at least 35 points in five straight games - 2011 (12 straight to open the season) and 1989 (six straight to end the year).
    » The game factors heavily into the Conference USA race with four league games remaining for Houston and just three for ECU. Houston holds a 3-1 record and sits in third in C-USA West behind Tulsa (5-0) and SMU (3-1 with head-to-head tiebreaker over UH) while ECU is 4-1 and second in C-USA East behind UCF (4-0 with head-to-head tiebreaker over ECU).

    THE OPPONENT
    » In its third season under head coach Ruffin McNeill, ECU enters Saturday's matchup with a 5-4 record. The Pirates are coming off a 56-28 loss to Navy in their final non-conference game of the season. ECU is 4-1 in Conference USA games with wins over Southern Miss (24-14), UTEP (28-18), Memphis (41-7) and UAB (42-35) and a loss to UCF (40-20). ECU is 3-1 at home this year with the lone loss coming to Navy.
    » On the season ECU ranks 76th nationally in scoring offense (26.0 points per game), 84th in total offense (377.6 yards per game), 46th in passing offense (257.1 yards per game), 101st in rushing offense (120.4 yards per game), 72nd in scoring defense (28.7 points per game), 72nd in total defense (411.6 yards per game), 68th in rushing defense (166.3 yards per game) and 76th in passing defense (245.2 yards per game).
    » ECU trailed Navy, 21-14, at halftime before allowing the Midshipmen to score 21 unanswered points in the third quarter. Vintavious Cooper rushed for 121 yards as the ECU defense gave up 512 rushing yards to the Navy triple-option attack.

    THE SERIES
    » ECU owns a 6-5 series lead over Houston although the Cougars own a 3-2 edge in Greenville, N.C.
    » Houston has won four of the last six meetings (2003, 2004, 2008, 2011) by an average of margin of 23.8 points while ECU captured wins in 2007 by two points (37-35) and in 2009 by six points (38-32).
    » Last season saw Houston claim a 56-3 win in Houston as the UH defense held ECU to just 21 total yards rushing while racking up nine sacks and four interceptions. Charles Sims led the rushing attack with 84 yards and two touchdowns while Phillip Steward picked off two passes on defense.
    » Houston returns 11 players that started in the 2011 match up (four on offense, seven on defense).


    The weekly one-hour call-in radio show will take place this Thursday (Nov. 1) 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.

    TIES WITH ECU
    » ECU inside receivers coach Donnie Kirkpatrick worked alongside Houston defensive line coach Ricky Logo for two seasons (2000-01) at Chattanooga, as Kirkpatrick was head coach and Logo was defensive line coach in 2000 and defensive coordinator in 2001.
    » ECU outside receivers coach Dave Nichol spent the 2006 season as an offensive assistant to Baylor offensive coordinator Lee Hays, who now mentors the Cougars' offensive line unit.
    » Jeff Connors, ECU Assistant Athletics Director for Strength and Conditioning, served as strength and conditioning coordinator at North Carolina in 2001 when Houston defensive coordinator Jamie Bryant was working as a defensive graduate assistant.
    » ECU quarterback Shane Carden is the lone Texas on the Pirate roster, hailing from Houston where he attended Episcopal HS.

    LAST TIME OUT
    » Houston raced out to a 45-7 lead just over one minute into the second half before allowing UTEP to score the final 28 points of the game in a 45-35 victory. Five of Houston's six offensive scoring drives lasted two minutes or less with two of the drives coming in under 16 seconds.
    » Houston forced six UTEP turnovers (four interceptions, two fumbles) marking the first time that a Houston defense has forced an opposition to turn the ball over six times since doing so in a 35-18 win over Rice on Nov. 26, 2005.
    » Charles Sims led the way for Houston's offense with three rushing touchdowns and 119 yards on the ground before leaving the game early in the third quarter with a slight leg injury.

    School C-USA Record Overall Record
    Tulsa 45-16 68-32
    Houston 43-16 64-36
    East Carolina 41-20 54-45
    UCF 40-20 56-42
    Southern Miss 36-25 57-42
    Marshall 28-31 38-52
    CONFERENCE USA TIME
    » After beginning the season with three straight defeats, Houston reeled off three straight wins including two consecutive Conference USA victories. The Cougars added their third conference win last week with a 45-35 defeat of UTEP
    » 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 44-16 and overall record at 64-36.

    FIVE STRAIGHT AT 35
    » With 45 points against UTEP, Houston eclipsed the 35-point mark for the fifth straight game, a feat that has only been accomplished two other times in program history - by the 2011 team (12 straight games to open the season) and the 1989 team (six straight games to end the season).
    » In the five games it has scored over 35, Houston is averaging 41 points per game as compared to the average total of the other two 35-plus streaks - 2011 squad (52.7 per game) and 1989 (56.7 per game).

    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 18 starts.
    » Four of the top 10 receivers are true freshmen while three of the top five rushers are sophomore or freshmen.
    » Trevon Stewart leads all true freshmen nationally with 73 tackles.

    TOUGH TO BEAT AT THE ROB
    » Houston has taken advantage of playing its home games inside Robertson Stadium with a record of 35-8 (.814) dating back to the 2006 season.
    » In the 35 home wins since 2006, Houston holds a margin of victory of 26.0 points with 911 total points scored in the 35 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.

    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.

    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 Six teams tied
    ...
    32 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)
    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
    » The 2012 senior class enters the weekend just five 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 32 wins, Houston's senior class of 27 currently sits eighth on the class wins chart, just one away from tying for seventh.
    » 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 .681 with a record of 32-15.

    ON THE OFFENSIVE
    » Since 2006, no team in college football has racked up more offensive yards than Houston who has 46,663 yards in that time.

    Rank Team Yards (2006-) Average (06-11) 2012 Average NCAA Rank
    1. Houston 46,663 7,093 512.9 10th
    2. Nevada 42,356 6,275 523.2 9th
    3. Oregon 42,042 6,287 540.1 7th
    4. Oklahoma 41,547 6,373 473.9 20th
    5. Boise State 39,916 6,143 382.0 77th

    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.
    » In the seven 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%)
    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%)
    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%)
    UTEP (W) 45 339 yards 174 yards 165 yards 4-12 (33.3%)
    Avg. under Bush 37.1 540.2 yards 358.6 yards 181.7 yards 59-120 (49.1%)

    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 before being joined by Ralph Oragwu and Bryce Redman this season. Combined the group owns 110 career starts.
    » 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 37 career starts and a streak of 29 consecutive starts. Ashworth 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 just nine sacks on the year which ranks second in Conference USA. The group also ranks second in the conference in having given up 37 tackles for loss in the eight games.
    » In Houston's four wins, the line has given up just one sack (UAB).

    QUICK STRIKE POTENTIAL
    » Of Houston's 46 offensive scoring drives this season, 20 have come in under two minutes. Five of those 20 have come in under a minute with the season's quickest drive lasting just nine seconds against UTEP as Charles Sims took his first rushing attempt 43 yards to the end zone.
    » Nine scoring drives consisted of five plays or less.
    » Eleven of Houston's touchdowns this year have covered at least 30 yards. Seven different Houston players have crossed the goal line on the 11 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 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 11 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. 154 Charles Sims, Jr. Houston
    2. 108 Perry Jones, Sr. Virginia
    3. 100 Joseph Randle, Jr. Oklahoma State
    4. 80 James Washington, Sr. NC State
    5. 65 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 154 career receptions, 46 more than his closest competitor. The versatile back has multiple receptions in 27 of his last 28 games. The junior needs just four 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 17 career games with at least 10 carries and seven career 100-yard rushing games. Houston is 7-0 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 before returning against Rice with 158 yards and a career-best three rushing touchdowns on a career-high 24 rushing attempts.
    » 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 29 rushing touchdowns in his career, good for third on the Houston career rushing TDs chart. Sims also has eight career receiving TDs.
    » 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.
    » Despite leaving the game early in the third quarter vs. UTEP, Sims earned his seventh career 100-yard game with 119 yards and a career-high three touchdowns on just 12 carries.
    » With his three rushing touchdowns against UTEP, Sims now has four games this season with multiple rushing touchdowns and 10 in his career.
    » With 11 rushing touchdowns this season, Sims is just four away from tying the Houston single-season record.

    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 eight players with at least 13 receptions and four with at least 31. At least seven different players have had a reception in each game including 11 players with a catch vs. UAB.

    Opponent No. of players with a reception No. w/receiving TDs Lead Receptions Lead Rec. Yards
    Texas State 8 1 Spencer (6) McDuffey (73)
    Louisiana Tech 10 4 Peace & Sims (11) Spencer (157)
    UCLA 7 0 Peace (10) Peace (103)
    Rice 7 2 McDuffey (8) McDuffey (100)
    North Texas 8 2 Peace (9) Peace (83)
    UAB 11 1 Ros (7) Ros (114)
    SMU 8 2 Sims & Spencer (7) Sims (114)
    UTEP 8 2 Three players (3) McDuffey (61)


    » Five players have accounted for six 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), Shane Ros (114 vs. UAB) and Charles Sims (114 vs. SMU) 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 Houston defense ranks 11th nationally in tackles for loss with an average of 7.5 per game and are led by linebackers Phillip Steward and Derrick Mathews who are ninth and 13th, respectively, nationally with 1.8 and 1.7 tackles for loss per game.
    » The two have a combined 13 sacks with Steward leading the team with eight sacks. The 13 sacks represent more than 35 different NCAA teams.
    » Thirteen different Houston players have had their hand in on a sack while 16 have a tackle for loss.

    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 318 pass attempts from Houston's opponents this year, just 40 attempts (12.6%) have gone Hayden's way. Of those 40 attempts, just 11 have been completed. The 11 represent just 5.9 percent of the total 185 completions from Houston opponents this season.
    » Hayden leads Houston with seven pass breakups and four interceptions including two touchdown returns of 97 yards vs. UTEP and 75 yards vs. SMU.
    » 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. others	8.7 (61 total)	106.0 (848 total)	13.9		1.3 (10 total)
    
    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 43 career starts, starting every game since the sixth matchup of the 2009 season.
    » Steward already has 14 tackles for loss this season including a career-high three stops behind the line against UAB. Steward 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 12th in his career, and is currently 11th nationally, and second in Conference USA, with an average of 10.5 tackles a game. Steward also ranks ninth nationally with 1.8 tackles for loss per game and with one sack per game.
    » After forcing only one fumble in his first three seasons at Houston, Steward now has four forced fumbles this season, recovering one of his own against UCLA.

    2012 Double Digit Tackle Efforts
    1. Phillip Steward 5
    2. Derrick Mathews 4
    3. Everett Daniels 3
      Trevon Stewart 3
    5. 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 20 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. All three starting linebackers against Texas State finished with double-digit tackles as middle linebacker Everett Daniels recorded a career-high 10 stops.
    » 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 13 tackles against UTEP, Mathews now owns six 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 nearly eclipsed the number with 15 stops against UTEP.
    » Stewart leads all true freshman nationally with 73 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.
    » 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.

    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 512.9 (10th) 469.0 540.2 No. 7 (National Leader - Oklahoma State - 581.1)
    Scoring Offense 34.1 (37th) 22.7 41.0 No. 10 (NL - Oregon - 53.4)
    Rushing Offense 172.8 (51st) 122.3 204.0 No. 28 (NL - Army - 383.1)
    Total Defense 460.9 (102nd) 536.3 415.6 No. 34 (NL - Alabama - 203.1)
    Rushing Defense 173.4 (76th) 41.0246.7 129.4 No. 34 (NL - Alabama - 57.3)
    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 102nd in total defense after seven games, just one defense nationally (Baylor - 24:01) has spent more time on the field than Houston, as it ranks 119th in time of possession with an average of 25 minutes and 33 seconds.

    Team Defense TOP Third Down
    Houston 102nd (460.9) 119th (25:33) 76th (52-126, 41.3%)
    Army 101st (459.5) 20th (32:01) 114th (50-99, 50.5%)
    Rice 100th (454.1) 15th (32:21) 66th (49-122, 40.2%)
    Tennessee 99th (453.4) 106th (27:30) 31st (40-115. 34.8%)
    Central Michigan 9th (452.0) 98th (29:27) 88th (73-132, 55.3%)
    Wyoming 97th (444.8) 78th (29:06) 119th (73-132, 55.3%)

    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 four interceptions against UTEP, Houston has now picked off an opposing quarterback in four straight games.
    » Over the last four games, the Houston defense has forced 12 turnovers (nine interceptions, three fumbles) for an average of three takeaways per game.
    » Houston has forced five turnovers twice this season - versus UCLA and UTEP.
    » In Houston's four wins this season, the Cougars have turned the ball over six times while forcing 11 turnovers. In its four losses, it has given the ball away 19 times while forcing eight turnovers.

    LEAVE IT TO LEONE
    » The nation's eighth-ranked punter with an average of 46.4 yards per punt, junior Richie Leone is handling Houston's punting duties for the third consecutive year.
    » This season Leone has 34 punts with 13 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 12 punts inside the 20-yard line this season, including eight 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 13 fair catches.
    » Leone also handles kickoff duties for Houston. Leone has 143 career kickoffs for 9,159 yards, an average of 64.0 yards per kick. Leone has 18 touchbacks on 49 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 75 perfect snaps on the season this year (32 punts, 25 PATs, 18 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.

    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.

    NCAA ACTIVE CAREER EXTRA POINTS
    1. 214 Matt Hogan, Sr. Houston
    2. 186 Dustin Hopkins, Sr. Florida State
    3. 178 Matt Nelson, Sr. Louisiana Tech
    4. 159 Aaron Jones, Jr. Baylor
    5. 156 Case Barth, Jr. North Carolina
    NCAA ACTIVE CAREER SCORING
    1. 446 Montee Ball, Sr., RB Wisconsin
    2. 429 Dustin Hopkins, Sr., K, Florida State
    3. 374 Matt Weller, Sr., K Ohio
    4. 373 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.
    » Hogan recently broke the Conference USA and Houston records for career extra points with 214 along with the Conference USA career record for kick scoring with 373 points. Hogan is now 24th all-time on the NCAA charts for career points by a kicker and third among active kickers behind Florida State's Dustin Hopkins and Ohio's Matt Weller.
    » With 373 career points, Hogan currently sits second on the Houston career scoring chart behind the 423 points behind former kicker Roman Anderson (1988-91).
    » On the program's career field goal chart, Hogan's 53 three-pointers are currently second behind Anderson's record of 70.
    » Hogan leads all active kickers nationally with his 214 career extra points.
    » The senior is fourth nationally among all positions with 373 career points trailing Wisconsin running back Montee Ball (446), Florida State kicker Dustin Hopkins (429) and Ohio kicker Matt Weller (374).
    » 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.

    SWINGING THE FIELD
    Information on returns during the Tony Levine era (assistant and head coach) 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 -- 31 returns of 10 or more yards with 10 touchdowns.
    • Fumble Returns -- three returns of 15 or more yards with one touchdown.

    Special Teams Tackles
      Player Kickoff Punt Total
    1. Shane Ros 12 3 15
    2. Brannon Beasley 10 2 12
    3. Kenneth Farrow 11 0 11
    4. Chris Cermin 5 1 6
    Braxton Welford 4 2 6
    6. Luke Stice 5 0 5
    Kent Brooks 5 0 5

    WE'VE GOT YOU COVERED
    » Houston has slowly lowered its opponents return numbers on both kickoffs and punts, currently allowing 21.5 yards per kickoff return and 9.5 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 15 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.

    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
    UTEP: Matt Hogan
    East Carolina: Richie Leone, Mark Roberts

    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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