Volume 8, Issue 1 University of Houston
Revenge of the Cougars
After one-year bowl absence, Houston seeks victory in Fort Worth
By Lourdes Castillo
The Cougars will enter their second postseason play in three seasons on Friday, when they take on Kansas in the Fort Worth Bowl. With a 0-2 all-time record against Kansas, the Cougar's go into this bowl game with a slight chip on their shoulders.
Under the leadership of head coach Mark Mangino, the Kansas Jayhawks will also make their second postseason appearance in three years. Kansas (6-5) averages 20.6 points per game and has accumulated 1410 rushing yards this season. Leading the Jayhawks on the ground are Jon Cornish and Clark Green with 679 and 641 yards, respectively.They also boast a rush defense that has only allowed 969 yards from scrimmage.
Halfback Ryan Gilbert leads the Cougars in rushing and will be the team's first option when establishing the offense.
Gregory Bohuslav/Breaking News
“They have a bunch of starters back. They have eight guys that have started on and off for three years on defense. They are pretty balanced offensively … They have some guys that can make plays for them at the receiver position also,” UH head coach Art Briles said during a press luncheon held Friday in the Athletics/Alumni Center.
Kansas snapped a 36-game losing streak against Nebraska after defeating the Cornhuskers 40-15 on Nov. 5, a week after claiming a 13-3 victory against Missouri on Oct. 29.
“They are a pretty hot football team, winning three of their last four,” Briles said. “They have done some things this year that are extremely big for their program, like beating Nebraska for the first time in 36 years, beating Missouri three years in a row, having the No. 19 defense in the nation, No. 3 against the rush offense nationally.”
All year long, Houston players have craved an opportunity to make a name for themselves. Though it is not the Rose Bowl, the Forth Worth Bowl is a step in the right direction.
"A bowl game is a reward,” Briles said. “A couple of years ago, when we went to Hawaii, that's the way that we looked at it. Now, we look at it as an opportunity. It's an opportunity for us to show what style of football we play, the type of team that we have and the type of university and city that we represent. From that standpoint, it's a big deal for us as far as representing a lot of people.”
Though the Jayhawks have one of the top rushing defenses in the country, that doesn't mean their coaches and coordinators are not losing sleep over the high-scoring Cougar offense.
Senior halfback Ryan Gilbert leads all Houston rushers with 1,030 yards, followed by junior Jackie Battle with 400. Junior quarterback Kevin Kolb had another 3,000-yard season, while junior wide receiver Vincent Marshall averaged 84 yards per game.
Defensively, sophomore Rocky Schwartz leads the team in tackles with 106, while Brendan Pahulu is second with 90.
“We have a good team. We have a team that feels good about each other and that cares about each other,” Briles said. “They are going to play hard. We are going to make a really good stand for our university and our football team.
“We have battled. We expected to be in a bowl game.
We actually expected a little more, but sometimes you don't always get
what you want. We got some of it; now we need to take advantage of it.”