Stadium surface may not be Cougars' only problem Saturday, when they face the title-hungry Golden Eagles of Southern Miss

From the Gridiron

Michael

P. Davis

When the Houston Cougars travel to Southern Mississippi Saturday, they may experience some difficulties with the condition of the Roberts Stadium surface. Last weekend, USM played host to the state marching band competition, and heavy rains and stamping feet from band members left the field a muddy mess. The Golden Eagles were forced to have shortened practices on their non-lighted practice field. The field is listed as "probable" for Saturday's game, USM's last home game of the season.

Offensive Player of the Week

Dan Gonzalez passed his way into an OPTW award this week by completing 26 of 33 passes for 337 yards and four touchdowns in the 28-27 win at Houston. Gonzalez set a new school record for completion percentage (79%) and his four touchdowns tied a Conference USA record. The key play of the game was a 50 yard bomb to Troy Smith, to give the Pirates the lead for good.

Defensive Player of the Week

Green Wave defensive end Keaton Cromartie's six sacks (five solo, two assisted) set a team record for Tulane in its 26-14 win over Memphis. He finished with 11 tackles, one forced fumble and one blocked field goal.

Special Teams Player of the Week

Soon to be renamed the Tinker Keck award, this award goes to the best player with the "coolest" name in C-USA. Tinker had two "Keck" returns for touchdowns in Cincinnati's 28-9 win over Louisville. His first punt return was a 44 yard, first quarter touchdown, and his second was a 78-yarder in the second quarter. Tinker toyed with the Cardinals all day, tying the NCAA mark for punt return touchdowns in a game. His four punt return touchdowns this season ties the NCAA record.

Game of the Week

Southern Mississippi can clench the C-USA title this week with a victory over the Cougars. Last year's matchup between these two teams was one of the best games in C-USA's history, a 56-49 overtime win that gave UH a share of the C-USA crown. In the game, Antowain Smith scored six touchdowns. The Cardinals look to avenge last year's upset.

"It's a tough one to forget with the importance of that game," said Jeff Bower, the University of Southern Miss head coach. This year's star player for the Cougars, coming off the loss to East Carolina, is Ketric Sanford. He said, "We have to come together as a team to win."

Around the state

The hot topic around the state seems to be who will fill the upcoming vacancy in Austin. Next week's hot topic will be who will be the next head coach in Auburn. Bowden is coming to the Big 12.

If Mackovic is lucky, maybe he can be the next overpaid yes-man for Jerry Jones in Dallas.

Pigskin Notables

Ageless Warren Moon, who has postponed his application to the senior PGA, looked like the CFL star of old as he lead the Seahawks to victory 37-31 over the Chargers.

Moon eclipsed the San Diego secondary with two touchdown passes to Joey Galloway. Moon completed 24 of 45 passes amassing 295 yards in the comeback win.

A message from Michael

As the college season nears the end of the year, look for the following things to happen:

Woodson wins the Heisman award, Moss finishes second, and

Peyton Manning gets drafted by the Colts.

Penn State wins the National Championship and LSU goes for Sugar.

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