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Wednesday, September15, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 17

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Cougars' offense suffers in loss to Alabama; UH features family affair

Sports Opinion

By Rohith Nandagiri 

Talk about your all-time let downs. After a week in which the football program was talking about going 5-0 to start the season, the Alabama Crimson Tide let the air out of the collective sails of the Houston Cougars. The Tide won 37-10.

The Cougars had several chances to take a lead or tie the ball game, but penalties and lack of a running game killed them.

And the offense has not put together a consistent drive this season. Against Rice, most of the ball movement was created by the defense. And against Alabama, the offense could not move the chains with any regularity.

"I don't think that the lack of offense has taken a toll. If anything, it has made us hungrier for more points," senior tight end Scott Regimbald said. "We worked so hard this summer as an offensive unit, (and) to come out and score the amount of points we have in these first two games, I think the drive we have to succeed is becoming a need and a want."

The desire had better become stronger if the Cougars hope to beat their next opponent. Southwestern Louisiana may have changed its name to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, but the Cajuns are still a dangerous team.

They have played two Big 12 teams, which have no doubt toughened them to big-time competition. Granted, they lost to Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, but this is the same team that beat Texas A&M a few years ago. My point is that the Ragin' Cajuns know how to play big games, and this will be no different.

The UH offense will make or break the UH attack Saturday night at Robertson. And the focal point of that offense revolves around junior quarterback Jason McKinley, junior wideout Orlando Iglesias and running backs Ketric Sanford and Mike Green.

Iglesias has had a bang-up start to this year. With Jerrian James' injury, Iglesias has stepped up in a big way with 13 catches for 187 yards and two touchdowns. The touchdown catch he had last week against Alabama was spectacular. He went up and brought the ball down with a defender's arm right in his face. McKinley is getting used to throwing the fade pattern to the 6-foot-2-inch Iglesias, as the receiver outleaps his usually shorter opponent.

For all you stat freaks out there, McKinley has thrown for 276 yards in two games, going 22-for-38 and two touchdowns, both to Iglesias. He has not thrown an interception yet and has a quarterback rating of 136.27. He is quickly becoming a solid quarterback who makes good decisions in the pocket.

However, he needs an alternative to Iglesias. Regimbald has three catches and is a big target, but he does a lot of blocking and is not able to catch passes on every play. No one else on the team has more than two catches.

Houston is the No. 1 team in the nation in turnover margin. After forcing six turnovers in the Rice game and intercepting one pass in the Alabama game, the Cougars are +3 in the turnover category.

Family ties

First it was Chris Hayes, the great-nephew of Elvin Hayes, who came to, and left, UH basketball. Then Moses Malone Jr., son of Moses Malone, came and left. Then it was George Gervin's son Gee who came to UH and led Conference USA in scoring. And now another Hall of Famer's son, Calvin Murphy Jr., is coming to the UH court with two years of eligibility left.

How many years until Hakeem Olajuwon Jr., Clyde Drexler Jr., Otis Birdsong Jr. and Bo Outlaw Jr. don the Cougar uniform?

We'll have to wait and see.

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