Nov. 12, 2013
|THE GAME AT A GLANCE|
|Date||Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013|
|Time||6 p.m. CST|
|Venue||Papa John's Cardinal Stadium|
|Radio||KTRH 740 AM|
» Houston's all-time record in its first 67 years of existence is 395-343-15 and this season marks Houston's first in The American and its first opportunity to automatically qualify for a BCS Bowl by winning its league crown. The American is Houston's sixth conference since the program started in 1946. The Cougars are 37-22-1 when the first years as a conference newcomer are combined.
» Houston opened the season 5-0 for just the fifth time in program history and the first time since 2011. Houston is bowl eligible for the seventh time in the last nine years.
» Entering the UCF game, Houston held the distinction of being the only FBS team to score in every quarter played. The streak ended at 32 quarters, however, as UCF, shut out UH in the first half. The Cougars responded with touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters and have touchdowns in 29 of 36 quarters this season (80.6 percent).
» Houston's depth chart sports 23 underclassmen, including five true freshmen, vs. 23 upperclassmen, including just seven seniors.
» The Cougars lead the nation with a +21 turnover margin and 32 turnovers gained. They are 19th nationally with 11 turnovers lost.
» The Houston defense leads the nation with 17 straight games of forcing multiple turnovers.
» UH has outscored its opponents 158-59 in the second half of games this season.
» QB John O'Korn leads all true freshmen nationally with 23 passing touchdowns and an efficiency rating of 152.4.
» Houston returns on campus to the Houston Football Stadium in 2014 as its new stadium is being constructed on the footprint of its former home, Robertson Stadium. Houston will #PaintHoustonRed as it plays its 2013 games at two sites in the nation's fourth-largest city. The Cougars will play five games in Reliant Stadium, home of the NFL's Houston Texans, and two games at BBVA Compass Stadium, home of MLS' Houston Dynamo.
Charlie Strong | Central Arkansas, 1983 | 33-15 (4th year at Louisville)
|FAST FACTS ON THE SERIES|
» Series Record at Houston Houston leads, 4-3
» Series Record at Louisville Louisville leads, 4-3
» Last Meeting Louisville 65, Houston 27 (Nov. 20, 2004 at Houston)
|PLAYERS TO WATCH|
|KENNETH FARROW, RB, SO.
After missing two games with an ankle injury earlier in the year, sophomore running back Kenneth Farrow has made a strong return to the Houston lineup. Farrow has racked up 182 of 399 rushing yards (45.6 percent) this season over the last three games as he has turned into a very efficient runner, averaging 9.1 yards per carry with two touchdowns over the time span. He has also added 11 receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown in Houston's last three games.
|TREVON STEWART, FS, SO.
Trevon Stewart is the ringleader of the turnover-driven Houston defense as he leads the nation with a combined eight interceptions and fumble recoveries, with four of each. The free safety enters the weekend with a streak of three straight games with an interception and was named The American's Defensive Player of the Week after he picked off a pass, forced a fumble, recovered a fumble to go along with 10 tackles at Rutgers. Stewart, who led all freshmen nationally last season with 125 tackles, is third on the team with 71 tackles this season.
The weekly one-hour call-in radio show will take place each Tuesday from 8-9 p.m. CT and will air live on KPRC 950 AM (Weeks 1-5, 10, 12) and KBMF-AM SportsTalk 790 (Weeks 6-9, 11, 13). Join Houston head coach Tony Levine and host Jeremy Branham each Tuesday at Ragin Cajun restaurant at 4302 Richmond Ave. for the show.
|First Down Def.||23.7||13.1|
|Int. Thrown/Def Int.||6/18||3/13|
|3rd Down Off./Def.||41%/38%||60%/27%|
|Red Zone Off./Def.||83%/74%||90%/62%|
|Kickoff Return Avg.||25.6||23.4|
|Punt Return Avg.||3.8||7.2|
» Louisville is 21st nationally with an average of 481.2 yards per game while its defense is 2nd nationally in allowing 243.7 yards per game.
» Junior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (6-3, 196) has 2,845 yards through the air with 24 touchdowns and three interceptions. Junior running back Dominique Brown (6-2, 216) averages 57.0 yards a game for Louisville with 513 yards on 84 carries with four touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Damian Copeland (6-1, 182) leads the team in receiving with 39 receptions for 569 yards and four touchdowns.
» Senior linebacker Preston Brown (6-2, 260) leads Louisville with 65 tackles including 11 tackles for loss and four sacks. Junior cornerback Terrell Floyd leads the Cardinals with four interceptions.
» Houston and Louisville have split 14 previous meetings with the Cardinals claiming five of the last six games. The two teams last played on Nov. 20, 2004, a 65-27 Louisville win. Houston is 3-4 all-time when playing at Louisville.
|TIES WITH UCF|
» Houston offensive coordinator Doug Meacham and Louisville defensive coordinator Vance Bedford spent the 2007 season together on staff at Oklahoma State where Meacham was the passing game coordinator and Bedford the defensive coordinator.
» Houston defensive line coach Ricky Logo and Louisville running backs coach Kenny Carter were on staff together at Vanderbilt in 2007. Logo was the Commodores' defensive line coach and Carter as the running backs coach.
» Louisville defensive line coach Clint Hurtt played three seasons at Miami when Houston linebackers coach Vernon Hargreaves was serving in the same capacity for the Canes.
|LAST TIME OUT|
» UH added its 11th scoring drive in under a minute with its first TD as John O'Korn's 24-yard TD run sealed a four-play, 37-yard drive in 58 seconds.
» The Houston defense extended its nation's leading streak of games with multiple turnovers to 17 with three turnovers forced against the Knights. Trevon Stewart picked off his fourth interception of the season while Cameron Malveaux and Steven Taylor both recovered UCF fumbles.
» Houston's defense held UCF to its lowest point total of the season at 19 points.
» QB John O'Korn finished with a career-high 56 rushing yards and 13 rushing attempts, while also notching a rushing touchdown and passing touchdown.
» Sophomore receiver Deontay Greenberry became the 17th player in school history to record 1,000 receiving yards in a single season with 94 yards against UCF.
|MOVING TO THE AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE|
» One of four new programs in The American Athletic Conference, Houston will host Cincinnati, Memphis, SMU and USF while traveling to UCF, Louisville, Rutgers and Temple. Non-conference action will see UH face off against Southern, Rice, UTSA and BYU. Houston has never played three of the teams - BYU, Rutgers and UTSA.
» Entering its 23rd season as a football-playing entity, The American Athletic Conference holds its BCS automatic qualifier status for the 2013 season.
» Houston held its official ground breaking for the Houston Football Stadium on the previous footprint of Robertson Stadium on Feb. 8, 2013. The 40,000-seat stadium is set to open August of 2014.
» With its on-campus home being constructed, the Cougars will #PaintHoustonRed as they play four of their 2013 games at Reliant Stadium, home of the NFL's Houston Texans, and two at BBVA Compass Stadium, home of the MLS' Houston Dynamo.
» Houston is 4-5 all time at Reliant Stadium with its first win in the stadium coming last season when it defeated crosstown rival Rice, 35-14. The Cougars are 1-0 all time at BBVA Compass Stadium with their 25-15 win over Memphis on Oct. 12.
|THE AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE STANDINGS|
|TEAM||W||L||Pct.||W||L||Pct.||LAST WEEK||THIS WEEK|
|UCF||4||0||1.000||7||1||.875||W, Houston, 19-14||at Temple|
|Louisville||4||1||.800||8||1||.889||W, at Connecticut, 31-10||Houston|
|Houston||4||1||.800||7||2||.778||L, at UCF, 19-14||at Louisville|
|Cincinnati||4||1||.800||7||2||.750||W, SMU, 28-25||at Rutgers|
|Rutgers||2||2||.500||5||3||.625||W, Temple, 23-20||-|
|Memphis||0||4||.000||2||6||.250||W, Tennesse-Martin, 21-6||at USF|
|Conneticut||0||4||.000||0||8||.000||L, Louisville, 31-10||at SMU|
|2013 NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS|
|TEAM||W||L||Pct.||W||L||Pct.||LAST WEEK||THIS WEEK|
|Southern (SWAC)||6||2||.750||6||4||.600||W, at Alabama State, 31-28||Clark Atlanta|
|Rice (C-USA)||4||1||.800||6||3||.667||-||Louisiana Tech|
|UTSA (C-USA)||4||2||.667||5||5||.500||W, Tulane, 10-7||-|
|BYU (Independent)||-||-||-||6||3||.667||L, at Wisconsin, 27-17||Idaho State|
|YOUTH IS SERVED|
» All together, the Houston offensive and defensive two-deep shows five true freshmen, three redshirt freshmen, 15 sophomores, 16 juniors and the seven seniors.
» Eight true freshmen have seen action this season: WR Demarcus Ayers, DE Tyus Bowser, K Ty Cummings, TE/DE Chauntez Jackson, WR John Leday, FB Tyler McCloskey, QB John O'Korn and QB Greg Ward Jr. with Bowser (1) and O'Korn (7) each receiving starts.
» Nine true freshmen played in 2012 for Houston including 30 starts.
» Three of Houston's top nine receivers in 2012 were true freshmen while three of the top four rushers were sophomores or freshmen.
» Trevon Stewart led all freshmen nationally with 126 tackles in 2012 en route to being named an FWAA Freshman All-American.
» Stewart and receivers Deontay Greenberry and Larry McDuffey were named to the Conference USA All-Freshman team last season. Greenberry led the league's freshmen with 47 receptions for 569 yards while McDuffey led all first-year players in the league with four receiving touchdowns.
|DEGREES IN HAND|
» Bates earned his degree in health while Oragwu completed course work for a sociology degree.
» On the business side of things, Bamfo and Cloud received degrees in consumer sciences and marketing while Forsch earned a business degree.
» Three additional Cougars complete their degree requirements this December: Aaron Johnson, Austin Lunsford and David Piland.
» Houston has won the last two conferences in its first year in the new league and has a combined conference record of 37-23-1 in the six combined seasons as a league newcomer.
|ABOUT THE 2013 COUGARS|
» The 12 opponents on the 2013 schedule combined for a record of 85-65 (.567), eight finished .500 or better, six won at least eight games including three with at least 10 wins and seven played in bowl games.
» The program welcomed an incoming class of 29 that is comprised of 19 high school student-athletes, eight junior college transfers and two four-year transfers. Five of the 29 newcomers enrolled in the program in January for spring workouts - DE Trevor Harris, WR D'Juan Hines, LB Elandon Roberts, LB Caleb Tucker and DB Turon Walker.
» Houston's roster sports 47 players who were not with the program in 2012 and 15 2012 redshirts.
|School||C-USA Record||Overall Record|
|END OF CONFERENCE USA ERA|
» Houston never finished worse than third in the West Division of Conference USA after finishing in the top three in 2012.
» C-USA title game participants in 2011, 2009 and 2006, Houston and Tulsa (2012, 2008, 2007, 2005) established a grip on the C-USA West crown. Only SMU (2010) advanced from the west to the C-USA title game in the game's eight-year existence.
» Houston ended its C-USA stint with the second-best league record since 2005 when the conference split into two divisions. Over the last eight years since the divisional split, Houston accumulated a league record of 45-19 and an overall record of 65-39.
|ON THE OFFENSIVE|
» Houston has scored in 34 of 36 quarters (94.4 percent) with TDs in 29 quarters and double digits in 13.
» Just 30 of Houston's 129 offensive drives this season have resulted in a three-and-out (23.3 percent).
|Rank||Team||Total Yards (06-present)||Season Average (06-12)|
|QUICK STRIKE POTENTIAL|
» Houston has returned to its ways this season as 24 of its 50 scoring drives this season have lasted under two minutes including 11 in under one minute. Its quickest lasted just eight seconds as the Cougars covered 15 yards on one play, a Justin Hicks' 15-yard touchdown run at UTSA and Houston had two 12-second scoring drives at Rutgers.
» Eighteen drives have lasted five plays or less.
|1. Oklahoma State||75||94||92||261|
|5. Northern Illinois||77||79||73||229|
» After recording 12 plays of 20 yards or longer in the first two games of the season, the Cougars exploded for 24 plays of 20 yards in wins over Rice and UTSA, including seven touchdowns. UH now has 84 explosive plays on the season including 17 touchdowns.
» Demarcus Ayers leads the team with 20 explosive plays including two touchdowns. Ayers has 17 kick returns and three receptions over 20 yards. Deontay Greenberry is second with 17 receptions of 20 yards or more. Daniel Spencer has 13 explosive plays, 12 receiving and one rushing.
» Greenberry leads Houston with four touchdowns of 20 yards or longer while Spencer is second with three TDs 20+.
» Houston's 14 offensive plays of 40 yards or longer and its 57 plays of 20 yards or longer lead The American.
» For a full breakdown of Houston's explosive plays this season, jump to page 21 of the notes.
|OFFENSIVE COACHING CHANGES|
» Entering his second season at Houston, Travis Bush was elevated to co-offensive coordinator and assistant head coach and shifted back to leading the program's running backs after taking over as play caller and quarterbacks coach during the 2012.
» Glen Elarbee joined the program on Jan. 14 as its offensive line coach after spending 2012 at Middle Tennessee State where his unit ranked second nationally with just seven sacks allowed on 344 pass attempts. The first-year Houston coach spent two seasons coaching alongside Meacham at Oklahoma State.
» Brandon Middleton and Jamie Christian both return in 2012 with Middleton coaching outside receivers and Christian taking on the inside receivers including the return of the tight end position.
|PASSING VS. RUSHING|
» After rushing 50 times and attempting 38 passes vs. Southern, Houston was completely balanced against Temple with 48 rushing attempts and passing attempts. In the next three games, the spread between passing vs. rushing did not eclipse seven attempts. Houston had its biggest spread against BYU as it had 47 passes to 29 carries.
» The last time Houston had more rushing attempts than passing attempts in a season was 2007 when Houston had 599 rushing attempts for 2,911 yards and 437 passing attempts for 3,614 yards.
» The most rushing yards Houston has averaged when passing for over 300 yards a game is 161.2 when the 2008 team also passed for 401.6 yards per game.
» With Houston offensive coordinator Doug Meacham on its staff, Oklahoma State trailed just Houston in passing yards over the 2010-12 seasons and were second nationally in scoring and total offense during that time.
|OPENING UP A CAN OF O'KORN|
» In his first road start, O'Korn responded admirably as he led UH to a 59-28 win at UTSA with 312 yards on 24-of-36 passing with four touchdowns. O'Korn also added a career-high 31 yards on the ground in the win.
» O'Korn played in the first two games of the season - entering on the games' fourth series by design. Against Southern he finished with 107 yards and three touchdowns on 11-of-15 passing while recording 233 yards on 23-of-31 passing at Temple.
» O'Korn leads all true freshmen nationally with 23 passing touchdowns, a number that ranks second in The American Athletic Conference behind the 24 from Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, and in passing efficiency at 152.4, which ranks fourth in the league.
» The first-year player has thrown for at least three touchdowns in six games, the fourth-best total in FBS and over 300 yards in three games.
« O'Korn completed 80 percent of his passes (24-of-30) at Rutgers with a career-high 364 yards and five TDs.
« He followed his 80 percent performance with a completion rate of 81.5 percent (22-of-27) vs. USF.
« O'Korn showed off his wheels against UCF as he had a career-high 56 rushing yards including a career-long 24-yard run for his first career rushing touchdown.
« He is slowly closing in on Houston's freshman passing records as he in the top three already for passing yards with 2,352 and touchdown passes with 23. His 185 completions rank fourth and he needs just three completions to pass Case Keenum's 2007 total of 187 for third on the spot. He needs just 780 yards, three touchdowns and 36 completions to take over all three Houston freshman passing records. (see list on page 8).
« O'Korn knows a thing or two about winning as he led St. Thomas Aquinas to the Florida Class 7A State Title en route to earning Florida 7A Offensive Player of the Year honors. He finished the year with 2,552 passing yards and 22 touchdowns against just four interceptions while rushing 95 times for 576 yards and 15 touchdowns.
» A second true freshman, Greg Ward Jr., has provided a relief for O'Korn in six games, throwing for 226 yards and one touchdown on 13-of-17 passing while rushing for 183 yards and two touchdowns on 30 attempts.
» One of the top quarterbacks in the state of Texas, Ward threw for 4,202 yards and 39 touchdowns against five interceptions as a senior at John Tyler High School. A dual threat, Ward also added 861 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground.
» The win over Rice marked just the second time in Houston history that two true freshmen QBs played in the same game. The first came in 2010 when Piland and Terrance Broadway (now at Louisiana) each played against Mississippi State and Memphis.
|Rank (FBS True Freshman)||Eff.||Rank (FBS True Freshman)||TDs|
|1. John O'Korn, Houston||152.4||1. John O'Korn, Houston||23|
|2. Davis Webb, Texas Tech||133.5||2. Jared Goff, Cal||17|
|3. Christian Hackenburg, Penn State||127.0||3. Davis Webb, Texas Tech||16|
|4. Jared Goff, Cal||126.4||4. Christian Hackenburg, Penn State||13|
|5. Paxton Lynch, Memphis||114.4||5. P.J. Walker, Temple||11|
|NO SIGN OF SOPHOMORE SLUMPS|
» Through nine games, Jackson has already surpassed his 2012 rushing total of 252 yards by 291 yards. The sophomore from Angleton, Texas, has 543 yards and five touchdowns on 110 carries after totaling 252 yards and three TDs on 59 carries in 2012.
» Jackson rushed for over 100 yards in Houston's first two games, part of a three-game streak of 100-yard rushing games dating back to last season's finale.
» If the first nine games are any indication, both Farrow and Jackson should easily surpass their 2012 rushing totals with Jackson having already accomplished the feat and Farrow needing 67 more rushing yards.
» Farrow, who is still looking to eclipse the 100-yard mark in a game, had one of his most effective games at Rutgers as he averaged 12.3 yards a carry with 74 yards and one touchdown on six attempts.
» Farrow recorded his first career game with a rushing and a receiving touchdown with his two-TD game vs. USF.
» Over the last three games, Farrow has been effective when his number is called, averaging 9.1 yards a carry as he has 182 yards on 20 attempts over the last three games.
» Sophomore walk-on RB Justin Hicks tallied his first career touchdown against Southern as he plunged in from one-yard out and has 95 yards on 21 carries this season including a second TD, a 15-yard run at UTSA.
|A SLICE OF GREENBERRY PIE|
|Greenberry NCAA Ranks|
|Receptions per game||7.8||10th|
|Rec. Yards per game||115.8||7th|
» Greenberry leads The American Athletic Conference with nine receiving touchdowns, a number that ranks ninth nationally, and is 10th in the league with an average of 6.0 points per game.
» The Fresno, Calif., native also leads The American in all-purpose yards at 116.4 yards per game, adding six rushing yards to his 948 receiving yards.
» Greenberry has pulled in at least six receptions in seven of Houston's nine games with double-digit receptions against Temple (14) and BYU (11).
» After starting 11 games on the outside in 2012, Greenberry has moved to the inside and as the numbers show, the move has paid off. He set a career high with 14 receptions for 165 yards at Temple as the game opened a three-game streak of 100-yard receiving games, in fact Greenberry had three straight games of at least 146 receiving yards. He is second in The American with five games of at least 100 yards receiving this season.
» The sophomore continued his impressive season at Rutgers with eight receptions for a career-high 168 yards and three touchdowns. Greenberry pulled in two fades for touchdowns while also taking off for an 83-yard reception from John O'Korn.
» With eight receptions for 94 yards at UCF, Greenberry became the 17th player in UH history to record 1,000 receiving yards in a season and the first since Patrick Edwards and Justin Johnson accomplished the feat in 2011.
» He needs just 157 yards to break the top 10 for receiving yards in a season at Houston and 317 yards to break the top 10 for yards in a career at Houston.
|TAKE IT AWAY, DON'T GIVE IT AWAY|
|28||Middle Tennesse State|
» Through nine games, the Houston defense leads the nation as it has forced 32 turnovers, 14 fumbles and 18 interceptions. Houston is fourth nationally with the 14 fumble recoveries and first nationally with the 18 interceptions.
» On the other side of the ball, Houston has committed just 11 turnovers: five fumbles and six interceptions. The 11 turnovers lost rank 19th nationally and is second in The American behind Louisville (8).
» Nine different players have interceptions for the Houston defense with Trevon Stewart leading the way with four interceptions, a number that leads The American and ranks 10th nationally.
» Nine Cougars have fumble recoveries, led by Trevon Stewart with four recoveries, a number that leads the nation, while nine have forced fumbles including five players with two forced fumbles.
» If you haven't picked up on it yet, free safety Trevon Stewart is a turnover machine. The sophomore leads the nation with a combined eight interceptions and fumble recoveries, four each.
» Houston has forced multiple turnovers in all nine games this season - Southern (4), Temple (3), Rice (2), UTSA (5), Memphis (4), BYU (3), Rutgers (6), USF (2) and UCF (3) - and has forced multiple turnovers in a nation's leading 17 straight games.
» The 32 turnovers have resulted in 107 points including 18 scored directly by defenders (William Jackson, Brandon Wilson, Derrick Mathews) while the defense also has two points off a safety from a Mathews sack in the endzone.
» The Cougar defensive line has collected three interceptions as end Tyus Bowser and tackles Tomme Mark and B.J. Singleton all have one interception each.
» Players routinely credit the ability to create turnovers on the emphasis paid on turnovers in practice, especially in Turnover Tuesdays.
|A WHOLE CAST OF CHARACTERS|
» Houston had 100-yard receivers in its first four games this season as Daniel Spencer (102 vs. Southern) and Deontay Greenberry (165 at Temple, 146 vs. Rice, 149 at UTSA) each accomplished the feat.
» Both Greenberry (14-165) and Xavier Maxwell (8-75) set then career highs for receptions and receiving yards at Temple.
» Daniel Spencer (186) and Xavier Maxwell (136) became the first Houston duo to record 100 yards through the air in 16 games with their performances against BYU. Both had a TD in the game as well.
» The feat was matched at Rutgers as Greenberry (168) and Spencer (117) eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark.
|Opponent||# with a reception||# with receiving TDs||100-yard receivers|
|Southern||8||3||1 - Spencer|
|Temple||6||0||1 - Greenberry|
|Rice||7||3||1 - Greenberry|
|UTSA||7||3||1 - Greenberry|
|BYU||6||3||2 - Maxwell, Spencer|
|Rutgers||8||3||2 - Greenberry, Spencer|
|USF||10||3||1 - Greenberry|
|THE LINE ON THE LINE|
» The unit took a hit in the season opener as OT Ralph Oragwu suffered a knee injury and has missed the last eight games. The senior was starting his first career game at left tackle after starting 10 games at right tackle in 2012. Rowdy Harper, who owns 35 career starts including 12 at left tackle in 2012.
» The offensive line group consists of seven players with a combined 132 games of starting experience - Harper (35), RG/C Kevin Forsch (28), LG Ty Cloud (26), C Bryce Redman (17), Oragwu (11), G/T DeAnthony Sims (11) and T Zach Johnson (9).
» The group of starters sports an average height of 6-3 with an average weight of 311 pounds.
» The line currently ranks fourth in The American Athletic Conference with 17 sacks given up.
» The front line is led by new assistant coach Glen Elarbee who coached a Middle Tennessee State offensive line in 2012 that finished second nationally with just seven sacks given up.
|CHANGES TO THE DEFENSIVE STAFF|
|Most Improved Scoring Defense|
» Also new to the UH staff is linebackers coach Vernon Hargreaves. The 28-year coaching veteran has been part of a staff that has played in a bowl in 12 of his last 15 seasons including back-to-back BCS National Championship appearances at Miami.
» In his second season at Houston, Ricky Logo oversees the entire defensive line while Zac Spavital, the longest tenured assistant coach, handles the secondary for a sixth season.
|THE THIRD WARD D|
» This season also marks the first since 1989 that UH has not allowed more than 26 points to any of its first three opponents.
» The back-to-back 13 point totals to open in the season is also the lowest combined point total from Houston opposition since the `89 team held UNLV (0) and Arizona State (7) to a combined seven points to open the season.
» Entering its game vs. BYU, Houston was one of eight teams nationally to not allow a 100-yard rusher in the first eight weeks of the season before BYU QB Taysom Hill ran for 128 yards.
» On average, the Houston defense forces 4.8 three-and-outs per game, a number that is second in The American to Louisville (5.4) and is 19th nationally. On 43 of Houston opponents' 128 drives or 33.6 percent, the Houston defense has gotten off the field in three plays or less.
» Against Memphis, the Houston defense held the Tigers without a touchdown, marking the first time this season the Cougars have held an opponent without a touchdown and the first time since holding East Carolina to just a field goal in a 56-3 win on Oct. 8, 2011.
» The Houston defense ranks fifth in The American and 38th nationally in allowing 37 plays of 20 yards or longer. UH has allowed just five rushes of 20 yards or more, a number that trails just Memphis (2) in the conference.
» The defense is 12th nationally and fourth in the American in allowing 11 plays of 30 yards or longer.
» Houston ranks fifth nationally among most improved scoring defenses. In giving up 22 points per game, Houston is allowing 14 points less per game than last year.
|DEFENSIVE HALFTIME ADJUSTMENTS|
|Opponents Totals||Points||Total Yards||Pass Yards||Rush Yards||Turnovers|
|First Half||126 (63.6%)||2,135 (55.6%)||1,357 (54.3%)||778 (58%)||16 (50%)|
|Second Half||66 (33.3%)||1,705 (44.4%)||1,141 (45.7%)||564 (42%)||16 (50%)|
*does not include six points from a blocked FG returned for a TD
» Twice this season, the Houston defense has shut out its opponent in the second half. After spotting Temple 13 points in the first half, the Third Ward Defense held the Owls to no points and just 105 total yards in the second half. The Third Ward D did it at Rutgers as the Scarlet Knights were held scoreless after scoring their second touchdown of the game with 7:03 remaining in the second quarter. Houston forced three interceptions and a punt before stopping Rutgers to run out the clock in the second half. Rutgers' two scores came on drives of five plays, 45 yards and 12 plays, 75 yards. Take away the two first half scoring drives and the Houston defense limited Rutgers to 68 yards off 19 plays in the first half.
» The UH defense has given up just eight second half touchdowns, third quarter TDs to Southern and UTSA, fourth quarter TDs to Rice and USF and two fourth quarter TDs to BYU. UCF is the only team to score in both the third and fourth quarters against Houston, scoring a touchdown in each.
» On its first drive of the second half, Memphis drove 61 yards in 10 plays to hit a 42-yard field goal and take a 12-10 lead over Houston. After that, the Cougars tightened up to limit Memphis to 41 yards and 18 plays on its next five drives. On the Tigers' final drive, they drove 48 yards on 16 plays before Houston forced a turnover on downs on its own 49-yard line.
|CAREER DOUBLE DIGIT TACKLE EFFORTS|
|1. Derrick Mathews||13|
|2. Trevon Stewart||10|
|3. Efrem Oliphant||7|
|4. Kent Brooks||4|
|5. Zach McMillian||3|
|8. Colton Valencia||1|
|SEASON DOUBLE DIGIT TACKLE EFFORTS|
|1. Efrem Oliphant||4|
|3. Derrick Mathews||3|
|5. Adrian McDonald||2|
|6. Zach McMillian||1|
» Mathews leads the team with 13 career double-digit tackle games. Mathews had 12 stops vs. BYU to record his 13th career double-digit tackle game.
» Efrem Oliphant has come on as of late with 67 of his 85 tackles on the year coming in the last six games. After recording 13 tackles vs. USF, Oliphant took over the team lead in the category and is now 25th nationally with 9.4 tackles per game.
» In his first year on the collegiate level, Trevon Stewart led all freshmen nationally with 126 tackles and was second to Marshall's Dominick LeGrande (132) as the nation's top defensive back in tackles.
» Mathews and Stewart finished tied for second on the team with 126 tackles each, just two behind the 128 of 2012 senior Phillip Steward.
» The group has also made a name for itself in the takeaway department, recording 20 of the team's 32 turnovers.
» Behind linebacker Derrick Mathews' 35 starts, senior cornerback Zach McMillian has the most starts of all defensive players with 34 career starts. The No. 2 corner on the 2012 team until D.J. Hayden went down with a season-ending injury, McMillian stepped up into the lead role and finished the season with interceptions in four of the last five games including all three games that Hayden missed. McMillian has two interceptions this season but will miss the first half of the Louisville game after being hit with a targeting penalty in the second half of the UCF game.
» Also affected by Hayden's injury was senior corner Thomas Bates who started the final three games of the season at the No. 2 corner. Bates led the team last season in passes broken up, with 10, including five in the three games he started. Known as a hard hitter, Bates leads the team with two forced fumbles and picked off two passes vs. BYU. He had a career-high four PBUs vs. USF.
» At free safety, Trevon Stewart returns after starting the final 10 games of 2012 at the position en route to earning FWAA Freshman All-America honors. The Patterson, La., native has already gotten his hand on the ball in 2013 as he has recorded four fumble recoveries and four interceptions. Stewart has also forced two fumbles.
» Adrian McDonald started two games in 2012 at nickel back before starting the season-finale at strong safety. A high school quarterback in his first year on defense, McDonald finished his lone start at strong safety with eight tackles, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. The Lawton, Okla., native also picked off two passes on the season. McDonald has started strong in 2013 as he is second in The American with three interceptions to go along with 67 tackles and a fumble recovery vs. Rice.
» William Jackson has also seen time at corner for Houston, and recorded Houston's first defensive TD, a 96-yard interception return against UTSA. Jackson also forced a fumble in the same game.
» In what has become a rotation at cornerback, Turon Walker has started to see increased time at the position as well and picked off two passes at Rutgers.
|LOOK AT THE LINEBACKERS|
» Mathews was named The American's Defensive Player of the Week with his performance against BYU. Mathews picked off his first pass of the season midway through the first quarter and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown and Houston's first lead of the day. The middle linebacker had four tackles for loss in the game including a career-high three sacks. Mathews had back-to-back sacks late in the third quarter, the latter of which resulted in a safety.
» Mathews leads all non-seniors nationally with 314 career tackles. He is 31 stops away from cracking the Houston top-10 career list for total tackles and seven assisted tackles away from the top-10 list for career assisted tackles.
» Mathews leads all linebackers in The American and is tied for the team lead with five sacks.
» The junior needs just three more tackles for loss to crack the top 10 for tackles for loss in a career at Houston. Mathews currently has 35 tackles for loss including eight this season.
» Mathews' replacement on the weakside is junior Efrem Oliphant, a veteran of 32 career games with 12 career starts, including three as a true freshman in 2010 when he was named to the Conference USA All-Freshman team. A junior, Oliphant has 10 tackles for loss, eclipsing the 3.5 TFLs he recorded in his first two seasons of action. Oliphant also has his first career sacks (2), has forced two fumbles this season and recovered another fumble.
» Against BYU, Oliphant recorded a game high 16 tackles, the most by a Houston defender in a game this year.
» Over the last five games, Oliphant has totaled 67 tackles, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble..
» On the strongside, redshirt-freshman Steven Taylor received his first start against Rice and did not disappoint as he finished the game with 11 tackles, a half sack and broke up a pass. A rangy backer with great speed, Taylor is second on the team with five pass breakups and is fifth on the team with 64 tackles.
» Taylor's career-high 15 stops vs. BYU were the second-most on the year for UH behind Oliphant's 16 in the same game.
» The only returning defensive lineman that was a regular in the 2012 starting lineup is junior defensive tackle Joey Mbu. With eight starts last season, Mbu had 27 tackles on the year while constantly holding up the point of attack.
» Mbu is paired with sophomore Tomme Mark, who had an interception in Houston's season opener, and the two are part of a rotation that includes junior Jeremiah Farley and redshirt-freshman B.J. Singleton. Mbu leads the defensive tackle group with 21 tackles. Farley leads the group with five tackles for loss two sacks.
» After starting at Houston as a defensive back before moving to linebacker, Eric Eiland has now made the move to defensive end as he continues to bulk up without losing his quickness. A former minor league baseball player, Eiland exploded in the season finale of his freshman year with four tackles, a sack, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
» Eiland missed games 2-4 with an injury suffered against Southern and junior college transfer Trevor Harris, a former wide receiver, replaced him in that span. With the return of Eiland vs. Memphis, Harris rightfully held on to his starting spot, with Eiland starting at the opposite end, and finishing the game with four tackles on just 13 plays.
» Harris, a junior college transfer, has performed admirably since moving into the starting role with 37 tackles, including five for a loss, three sacks and one forced fumble.
» True freshman Tyus Bowser exploded onto the scene in Houston's win over Rice as the defensive end had seven tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, an interception while dropped back in coverage and four quarterback hurries. Bowser, who will join the Houston basketball team at the end of the season, recorded 24 sacks as a high school senior at John Tyler High School in Tyler, Texas. Bowser now has five sacks on the year and is currently third for sacks by a freshman.
» Junior defensive end Eric Braswell, who has 18 career starts, is involved in the defensive end rotation as is Cameron Malveaux, has bulked up to 252 pounds on his 6-6 frame. Malveaux recorded his first career fumble at UCF.
|LEAVE IT TO LEONE|
» With 42 punts through nine games, Leone carries an average of 43.2 yards per punt. Twenty-two of Leone's 42 punts (52.4 percent) have landed inside the opponent's 20-yard line including 11 inside the 10 and nine kicks over 50 yards.
» Leone currently ranks second in UH history with an average of 43.0 yards per punt on his career.
» Leone earned the Ray Guy Award Player of the Week for the second consecutive week on Oct. 28 as he recorded his best single-game punting average of the season with eight punts for an average of 47.9 yards vs. BYU. Three of Leone's punts traveled over 50 yards including a then season-best 61-yard punt. Four of Leone's eight punts landed inside the BYU 20-yard line including three inside the 10-yard line and one on the BYU three-yard line. Leone's final punt of the third quarter pinned BYU at its own nine-yard line. On the ensuing drive, back-to-back sacks from Derrick Mathews gave Houston its first safety of the year. Leone's high punts resulted in three returns from BYU for a loss of four yards while also forcing returners to call two fair catches.
» The senior was first named the Ray Guy Award Player of the Week after he had six punts with a total of 282 yards, averaging 47 yards per punt in Houston's 25-15 win over Memphis. Four of Leone's punts were marked inside the 20-yard line, including one inside the 10-yard line, with one touchback. Leone's net average was 44 yards per punt and his longest punt was 58 yards. Leone's high, hanging kicks helped to hold Memphis to just one punt return for a loss of two yards as Memphis punt returners were forced to call three fair catches.
» Leone was named The American Athletic Conference's Special Teams Player of the Week in week 1 after his first career game handling all three specialist positions. Leone averaged 47 yards on his four punts, three of which were placed inside Southern's 20-yard line, and registered his first career points as he finished the game with two field goals and six extra points. Leone also had eight kickoffs with an average of 64 yards per kick with three resulting in touchbacks.
» Leone hit 11 field goals in the season's first seven games before turning over placekicking duties to Kyle Bullard. The 11 accounted for 33 of his 65 points on the season.
» Leone followed his first performance as a kicker with a five field goal effort at Temple. He became just the third kicker in Houston history to hit at least five field goals in a game including a career-long 40-yard field goal.
» Rounding out his duties, Leone has 58 kickoffs with 29 touchbacks including one from his own 20 after a 15-yard penalty.
» Sophomore Dylan Seibert backs Leone at punter after transferring from Oklahoma at the start of fall camp. The Tulsa, Okla., native did not see any game action at OU but has quickly impressed in Houston. Seibert also owns holder duties.
» Freshman kicker Ty Cummings joined Houston in August. Cummings has five kickoffs this season with one touchback.
» Sophomore Nolan Frese owns deep snapping duty. Frese was ranked by Chris Sailer Kicking as the No. 1 long snapper in the state of Texas in 2010 and the No. 7 long snapper in the nation.
WE'VE GOT YOU COVERED
» Eighteen of Leone's 42 punts (42.9 percent) have been fair caught by opponents.
» Richie Leone (29) and Ty Cummings (1) have a combined 30 touchbacks on Houston's 64 kickoffs.
» Seventeen of Leone's last 24 kickoffs have resulted in touchbacks including all eight at Rutgers.
» At kick returner, Houston has two new faces manning the position as true freshman Demarcus Ayers and junior transfer Markeith Ambles handle the duty. Ryan Jackson has also recently joined the kick return mix for Houston.
» After coming close several times, Ayers finally broke a return for a touchdown against BYU, returning a first-quarter kick 95 yards for Houston's first score of the day.
» Ayers has 27 returns on the season and leads The American Athletic Conference with an average return of 27.2 yards per return, a number that ranks 18th nationally. He has had a return of at least 40 yards in four games this season includin the last two.
» Against Memphis, Ayers had five returns over 20 yards that Ayers recorded against the Tigers as he finished with 144 return yards on five returns for an average of 28.8 yards per return.
» Ayers has accumulated over 100 yards of kickoff return in three of Houston's last five games.
» The first-year collegiate player has set the Houston freshman record with his 734 yards and ranks sixth on the UH single-season chart regardless of class. He needs just 23 yards to crack the top five.
» Ambles also took his first kick return of the season back at UTSA, and quickly established himself as a threat with a 39-yard return. He has since added a 21-yard return against BYU to his stats. Payne has also added two kick returns for 41 yards.
|THE BOOK ON BULLARD|
» Bullard has seen action in four games this season and has connected on all 10 extra point attempts. He has yet to attempt a field goal for Houston.
» Bullard earned second team Texas All-State honors as a senior at Samuel V. Champion High School in Boerne, Texas.
» Also an All-State soccer player, Bullard hit a career-long field goal of 49 yards in high school.