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Monday, October 30, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 66, Issue 50 

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Coogs lose battle of field goals

Bad calls and gusting wind derail UH's upset bid as UH falls to Southern Miss and 3-5 on the season

By Ed De La Garza
Daily Cougar Staff

Wide left.

The Cougars had a chance to upset the No. 14 Southern Miss Golden Eagles on their last drive of the game, but kicker Mike Clark missed on a 46-yard field goal attempt that would have tied the game at 6-6 with less than 30 seconds remaining.

The Golden Eagles ran out the clock to beat Houston 6-3, dropping the Cougars to 3-5 and 2-2 in Conference USA. Southern Miss raised its record to 6-1 and 3-0 in C-USA.

The miss capped off what looked to be the Cougars' most-promising drive of the game. Beginning at its own 25, UH marched down to the Southern Miss 17. But quarterback Jason McKinley was sacked on third-and-9, pushing the Cougars back to the 29 and into a long attempt.

A gusting 15-mph wind proved to be detrimental in a game that was a battle of field position, with neither team able to score a touchdown.

UH held a 3-0 advantage until Southern Miss kicker Brant Hanna nailed a 30-yard attempt in the third quarter.

Two punts later, the Golden Eagles had what was their longest drive of the game.


Pin Lim/The Daily Cougar


UH running back Damon Terrell is gang-tackled during the Cougars' 6-3 loss to the Southern Miss Golden Eagles on Saturday.

 

"In the fourth quarter, they got that first sustained drive of the ball game," head coach Dana Dimel said. "We had stopped them on a third-and-15 and had a poor call by the inept officials that I'm getting used to in Conference USA, which is really starting to wear me thin."

UH appeared to have stopped the Golden Eagles on three separate occasions, but two defensive holding calls and a pass interference call kept its drive alive.

"If you take that (pass interference) call away, they're punting in their own end zone and then we've got the wind on our back maybe at the 40," linebacker Wayne Rogers said. "It seems like we've kind of gotten bad calls all year long, so we've kind of gotten used to it."

Rogers, who recorded seven tackles for losses, made his second sack of the day, a play that pushed the Golden Eagles into a fourth-and-10.

But after connecting on only one of two attempts, Hanna nailed a 27-yard field goal attempt that gave Southern Miss a 6-3 lead with more than nine minutes remaining.

As with previous games, the defense made up for the offense's inability to score until backed into a corner. It was the first time in 17 games -- a 45-0 shutout over Louisiana-Lafayette in 1999 -- that the Cougars had kept an opponent from scoring a touchdown.

"Our defense played great, kept us in the game," McKinley said. "We had a chance to win it at the end, we just didn't put it in the end zone."

With three conference games remaining this season, UH is still mathematically alive in a race to secure one of four C-USA-affiliated bowl berths.

"If our team plays toe to toe with the best team in the conference like we did today, we've got a chance," Dimel said. "I don't thing it's unrealistic for us to get on a stretch."
 

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