Dec. 8, 2013
HOUSTON - Bowl bound for the seventh time in nine years, the Houston Football program held its annual banquet, now known as the Ken Baxter Football Banquet, Sunday night and honored 12 individuals throughout the night while celebrating the announcement earlier in the day the Cougars would be headed to the BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 4.
After entering the Bayou City Event Center to the Houston fight song played by the Spirit of Houston Marching Band and a short dinner, Sunday night's guests heard from Houston head coach Tony Levine recapping the 2013 regular season before 10 awards were presented to 12 individuals for their contributions throughout the season.
Senior offensive lineman Kevin Forsch received the President's Academic Excellence Award from Associate Athletics Director for Student-Athlete Development Maria Peden. Having already graduated with a degree in Business, Forsch will now enter Houston's MBA program.
Sophomore running back Kenneth Farrow received the Tom Wilson Weight Room Off-Season MVP award from UH's Co-Director of Sports Performance Brian Odom. Freshman Kyle Postma and sophomore Tyler White received the Offensive and Defensive Scout Team MVP awards, respectively, while freshman Cameron Doubenmier received the Special Teams Scout Team MVP honor.
Senior punter Richie Leone and freshman return specialist Demarcus Ayers shared the Special Teams MVP award this season after Leone was named a Ray Guy Award semifinalist for the third straight year and was one of just two players to be named the Ray Guy Award Player of the Week on two occasions. Leone placed 33 of his 63 punts inside opponents' 20-yard line as he finished the regular season with an average of 43.1 yards per punt including 14 punts over 50 yards and four over 60.
Ayers led The American with an average of 26.8 yards per kick return en route to setting the UH freshman kick return yards record with 884 yards off 33 returns including a 95-yard touchdown run vs. BYU.
Junior linebacker Derrick Mathews and sophomore free safety Trevon Stewart shared the Wilson Whitley Defensive MVP award. Mathews led the team with seven sacks as the middle linebacker finished the regular season with 110 tackles including 12 for loss. Mathews also had one interceptions, that he returned 29 yards for a touchdown vs. BYU, while forcing two fumble and recovering two fumbles.
The nation's top player in takeaways, Stewart finished the regular season with 10 takeaways including a nation's best six fumble recoveries. His four interceptions ranked second in The American behind the five of teammate Adrian McDonald. Stewart's six fumble recoveries set a Houston single-season record the sophomore sits second on the UH career chart, behind the program record of seven recoveries.
Sophomore wide receiver Deontay Greenberry claimed the Andre Ware Offensive MVP honor after he finished the year with a team best 76 receptions for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns. The second-year Cougar led The American with his 10 touchdowns and was second with five games over 100 yards. Greenberry is the 17th player in UH history to eclipse the 1,000-yard receiving mark.
Levine presented Luke Stice with the Committed Cougar Award as the sophomore fullback led the team in special teams tackles. The nominee for the Burlsworth Trophy, awarded annually to the nation's top walk on, had two starts while playing in all 12 games. Stice also had a four-yard reception on the season.
The last award of the night was presented to the long-time head of the University of Houston FCA chapter, Mikado Hinson. Hinson is in his 14th year as the FCA leader for the UH campus.
Houston fans can purchase BBVA Compass Bowl tickets for just $50 here.
For more information on BBVA Compass Bowl tickets, fans can call 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or 877-COUGAR-5 (268-4275) or visit the Athletics Ticket Office, located on the first floor of the Athletics/Alumni Center from 8 a.m., to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Travel packages for the BBVA Compass Bowl are available through the University of Houston Alumni Association and can be found here.
Travel packages may include hotel accommodations at an official Houston hotel, ground transportation to and from the game and other package events, admission to official Houston bowl events, bowl game eve reception, pregame tailgate party, BBVA Compass Bowl ticket and more!