Football to Meet C-USA Rival UTEP in Regular-Season Home Finale

Nov. 21, 2008

UTEP MINERS (5-5, 4-2 C-USA West) at HOUSTON COUGARS (6-4 • 6-1 C-USA West)
Nov. 22, 2008 • John O'Quinn Field at Robertson Stadium (32,000) • Houston, Texas • 2:30 p.m. (CST)

Houston-ISP Sports Radio Network • 790 AM The Sports Animal-Houston • Tom Franklin, PxP; David Klingler, anaylst; Chuck Brown, sideline
INTERNET VIDEO: live broadcast at UHCougars.com
INTERNET AUDIO: live broadcast at UHCougars.com
LIVE STATS: live GameTracker stats at UHCougars.com
GAME NOTES:Houston Notes vs. UTEP (Nov. 22, 2008) in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader
UTEP Notes vs. Houston (Nov. 22, 2008) in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader
Conference USA Notes (Nov. 22, 2008) in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

Fresh off its second win over a ranked team this season, the University of Houston football team returns to action at 2:30 p.m., Saturday, when it plays host to Conference USA rival UTEP during the regular-season home finale on John O'Quinn Field at Robertson Stadium.

Fans are reminded that Saturday's game recently was changed from earlier published schedules and publications and now will kick off at 2:30 p.m., Saturday.

The Cougars sit in the driver's seat to play host to the Conference USA Championship Game on Dec. 6 at Robertson Stadium. With back-to-back wins over UTEP and at Rice on Nov. 29 to close out the regular season, the Cougars will win the West Division and host the league's Championship Game for the second time in the last three years.

Sophomore quarterback Case Keenum leads the Cougars with 3,794 yards and 35 touchdowns on 304-of-451 passing. After throwing for six touchdowns and running for another in the Cougars' #25/24 thumping of C-USA rival Tulsa last weekend, Keenum was honored as the Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week and the C-USA Offensive Player of the Week.

The Abilene, native has reeled off a school-record 11 consecutive 300-yard passing games dating back to last season and is poised to join David Klingler and Andre Ware as the only signal-callers with 4,000-yard seasons during their careers.

On the ground, freshman running back Bryce Beall leads the way with 857 yards and 10 touchdowns on 140 carries.

Senior tight end Mark Hafner leads the wideouts with 73 catches for 782 yards and 11 touchdowns, while redshirt freshman wide receiver Tyron Carrier is a close second with 60 catches for 735 yards and seven touchdowns.

Carrier was honored as the league's Special Teams Player of the Week after returning four kickoffs for 142 yards, including a 93-yard return for touchdown that stole the momentum from Tulsa only nine seconds before halftime.

Defensively, freshman linebacker Marcus McGraw leads all players with 75 tackles during his first collegiate season. Senior defensive end and All-America candidate Phillip Hunt is tops with 14.5 tackles for a loss of 89 yards, including 10 sacks.

Sophomore cornerback Loyce Means was honored as the C-USA Defensive Player of the Week after picking off three Tulsa passes last weekend, including a 69-yard return for a touchdown.

Fans can hear the game live on 790 AM The Sports Animal with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action, David Klingler providing color analysis and Chuck Brown reporting from the sideline. The pregame show is slated to begin one hour before kickoff.

Fans can follow live stats over the Internet by clicking the Gametracker link at UHCougars.com.

For the fourth-straight season, the Cougars will meet UTEP on the gridiron. UTEP has posted a 3-2 lead in the all-time series, which began in 1946 but has been played every season since 2005.

However, the Cougars can boast of the most recent success, entering this weekend's game as winners of the last two meetings against the Miners.

Saturday's game will be only the second all-time meeting at Robertson Stadium with the Cougars enjoying a 34-17 victory in the most recent contest.

The Miners (5-5, 4-2 C-USA) come into this weekend's game following a 36-10 win over C-USA rival SMU on Nov. 15. After dropping their first three games to open the season, UTEP has won five of its last seven games.

Sophomore quarterback Trevor Vittatoe paces the Miner offense with 2,599 yards and 27 touchdowns on 196-of-332 passing. Junior wide receiver Jeff Moturi leads the way with 42 catches, while sophomore wide receiver Kris Adams is tops with 731 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.

On the ground, sophomore running back Terrell Jackson is tops with 377 yards on 90 carries.

Defensively, Adam Vincent leads the Miners with 91 tackles, 40 more than his closest competitor on the team. Senior linebacker Nuuese Punimata paces the team with 5.5 sacks, including 2.5 tackles for a loss of 24 yards.

Saturday's game will mark the end of the second annual "Thanks for Giving" campaign with the Star of Hope Mission presented by Administaff. All donated food will be presented with the total weight announced during the "Coogs for Charity" presentation at halftime.

Donations still can be delivered until kickoff to the Star of Hope truck, which will be parked in the tailgate area just outside of Gate 7. An additional drop-off location will be located at the student entrance, which is now located at Gate 10 at the stadium.

The Athletics Department will match donations of five or more non-perishable food items with a discount voucher that will be good for discounted tickets or Cougar Authentic merchandise.

Supporting sponsors of the Campaign include Smart Financial Credit Union, Wells Fargo, New York Life, Irma's Southwest Grill, Fabenco, Tallowood Baptist Church, Houston First Baptist Church and Halliburton.

The Star of Hope Mission ministers to more than 900 people every day with food, clothing, shelter and structured recovery programs. The organization touches the lives of more than 7,000 homeless people each year, including more than 1,600 children.

• Nineteen seniors from the 2008 senior class will be recognized in pre-game ceremonies.
• Former All-America offensive guard Bill Bridges and Jerry Gardner will join the Cougars on the field as honorary captains.
• Players, coaches and support staff members from the 1968 Cougar Football team will be recognized. The 1968 UH team finished with a 6-2-2 overall record and ranked No. 18 in the final Associated Press poll. The squad earned a 22-point win over No. 17 Mississippi and tied with No. 4 Texas and No.7 Georgia on the road.
• Young fans will participate in a Punt, Pass and Kick competition presented by the Princeton Review at halftime.
• Following the Coogs for Charity presentation, "The Spirit of Houston" marching band will perform.
• Officials with the Texas Lottery will distribute 5,000 free scratch-off tickets to fans before the game.



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