Nov. 27, 2009
RICE OWLS (2-9 2-5 C-USA West) at #25/20 HOUSTON COUGARS (9-2 5-2 C-USA West)
Nov. 28, 2009 John O'Quinn Field at Robertson Stadium (32,000) Houston, Texas 7 p.m.
RADIO: Houston-ISP Sports Radio Network 790 AM The Sports Animal-Houston Tom Franklin, PxP; Ted Pardee, analyst; Chuck Brown, sideline
TELEVISION: CSS (Comcast ch. 129) Matt Stewart, PxP; Chuck Oliver, analyst; Allison Williams
INTERNET AUDIO: live audio broadcast at UHCougars.com
LIVE STATS: GameTracker at UHCougars.com
HOUSTON - Fresh off a dominating win, the 20th-ranked University of Houston football team wraps up its 2009 regular season at 7 p.m., Saturday, when it plays host to Conference USA- and crosstown-rival Rice on John O'Quinn Field at Robertson Stadium.
With a win, the Cougars clinch at least a share of the C-USA West Division championship and will represent the division in the C-USA Championship Game at 11 a.m., Dec. 5.
The winner of the East Carolina-Southern Miss (noon, Saturday, Greenville, N.C.) will represent the East Division and determine the site for the 2009 C-USA Championship game. If East Carolina wins, the Pirates will play host based on their 7-1 C-USA record.
With a Houston win against Rice and a Southern Miss victory, Houston will host the game at Robertson Stadium based on its last-minute 50-43 victory against the Golden Eagles on Oct. 31.
The Cougars come into the game on the heels of a 55-14 win against Conference USA-rival Memphis last weekend at Robertson Stadium. In that game, junior quarterback Case Keenum threw for 405 yards with five touchdowns on 29-of-39 passing in just more than a half against the Tigers.
Keenum, who was named a finalist for the Davey O'Brien Quarterback Award, earlier this week, leads the Cougars and the nation with 4,599 yards and 36 touchdowns on 387-of-553 passing with only six interceptions.
With only 401 more passing yards in 2009, he will join former Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell as the only players in NCAA Division I history to record multiple 5,000-yard passing seasons during their careers.
Junior wide receiver James Cleveland leads the Cougars with 82 catches for 941 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Houston native leads nine wideouts who have caught at least 10 passing and recorded at least one touchdown this season.
Sophomore wide receiver Tyron Carrier has posted 72 catches for 850 yards and six touchdowns, while sophomore Patrick Edwards has recorded 70 receptions for 881 yards and four touchdowns. Sims also has added 33 catches for 419 yards and three touchdowns out of the backfield.
Defensively, sophomore linebacker Marcus McGraw paces the team with 115 tackles and has added four sacks, four pass breakups and three forced fumbles. Senior defensive end Tyrell Graham leads the Cougars with 10 tackles for a loss, including seven sacks for a loss of 51 yards, while cornerbacks Jamal Robinson and Brandon Brinkley are tied for the team lead with three interceptions apiece.
Sophomore running Bryce Beall leads the Houston rushing attack with 598 yards on 129 carries, but freshman back Charles Sims is a close second with 533 yards and tops all players with seven rushing scores and 5.5 yards per carry.
Rice (2-9 * 2-5 C-USA West) enters this weekend's contest on the heels of a 30-29 home win against Conference USA-rival UTEP last weekend in Houston. It was the Owls' second straight win after dropping each of their first nine games to open the season.
Quarterback Nick Fanuzzi leads the Rice offense with 1,466 yards and 11 touchdowns on 146-of-240 passing. Running back Charles Ross tops the team with 386 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 421 carries.
Toren Dixon paces the receivers with 57 catches for 631 yards and six touchdowns.
Defensively, Travis Bradshaw leads Rice with 110 tackles, while Scott Solomon is tops with 10.5 tackles for a loss, including 6.5 sacks. Jarrett Ben leads the team with two interceptions.
Fans can hear the game live on 790 AM The Sports Animal with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action, Ted Pardee providing color analysis and Chuck Brown reporting from the sideline. The pregame show is slated to begin at 6 p.m., Saturday.
In addition, fans can watch the game live on Comcast Sports Southwest (Comcast channel 129) with Matt Stewart calling the play-by-play action, Chuck Oliver serving as the analyst and Allison Williams on the sidelines.
LIVE STATS INFORMATION
Fans can follow live stats over the Internet by clicking the Gametracker link at UHCougars.com.
For the 11th straight season, the Cougars will face Rice on the gridiron. Houston owns a 25-10 lead in the all-time series, which was played every year from 1971 to 1995 and was resumed annually in 1999.
However, Rice can boast of the most recent success after taking a 56-42 win at Rice Stadium in the 2008 regular-season finale. That loss snapped the Cougars' three-game winning streak against the Owls.
The Cougars have posted a 10-5 all-time record at home against Rice, including a 3-1 mark at Robertson Stadium.
ATHLETICS TICKET OFFICE INFORMATION
After being closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday the Houston Athletics Ticket Office will reopen at 8 a.m., Friday and remain open until 5 p.m. The Athletics Ticket Office is located on the first floor of the Athletics/Alumni Center.
The Athletics Ticket Office will be open from 10 a.m., to 3:30 p.m., Saturday, at the Athletics/Alumni Center. Officials will sell tickets at Gate 4 and Gate 11 at Robertson Stadium, beginning at 4:30 p.m.
The will call window is located between Gate 9 and Gate 10 at Robertson Stadium at 4:30 p.m. The Students Gate (Gate 10) will open at 5 p.m., while gates for the general public will open at 5:30 p.m.
To order tickets before the game, fans can visit the Athletics Ticket Office (located on the first floor of the Athletics/Alumni Center, 3100 Cullen Blvd.), or call 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) from 8 a.m., to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or during office hours on Saturday.
Fans always can purchase tickets to UH events, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by visiting UHCougars.com and clicking the Tickets link.