Monday, October 22, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 43



Cougars fall short against Bearcats

By Ed De La Garza
Daily Cougar Staff

A homecoming game that began as a low-scoring affair quickly escalated into a seesaw battle that ended with three consecutive flags against UH as the Cougars dropped a 29-28 decision to Cincinnati on Saturday. UH is now 0-6.

Trailing by one point with more than two minutes remaining, the Cougar defense forced the Bearcats into a third-and-25 situation at their own 27-yard line. But officials called a questionable defensive holding penalty, prompting head coach Dana Dimel to run onto the field. The display cost UH two more flags for 30 yards.

"I just wanted to make a statement for our program," Dimel said. "It's a tough situation to get a penalty when the game's on the line like that -- away from the football."

Senior wide receiver Orlando Iglesias hauls in a touchdown pass from quarterback Nick Eddy in the opening seconds of the second quarter of the Cougars' 29-28 loss to the Cincinnati Bearcats.

Kevin Harwerth/The Daily Cougar

Three penalties for 40 yards quickly moved Cincinnati to UH's 33-yard line, allowing the Conference USA-leading Bearcats to run out the clock and escape Robertson Stadium with the slimmest of victories.

Cincinnati would have been forced to try to score had the Cougars succeeded in converting on a fake field goal attempt in the fourth quarter. A 44-yard field goal attempt could have given UH a 31-29 lead, but Dimel elected to run a fake that was stopped three yards shy of a first down.

"There was so much pressure on the inside, we thought we could get the fake and get (J.J. Wyatt) out there to run," Dimel said. "He decided to throw it. If we don't get it, fine, we've still got three timeouts left and plenty of time to hold them."

Dimel may have expected his defense to hold the Bearcats, but he hadn't counted on the officials having a say-so in the game's outcome.

The defense had its strongest outing of the season. Though the Bearcats ran for more than 140 yards, UH finally got a takeaway when senior cornerback Jason Parker intercepted a pass from Cincinnati freshman quarterback Gino Guidugli.

Parker returned the interception 35 yards and scored the Cougars' go-ahead touchdown with 29 seconds remaining in the first half.

"Rufus Williams got his hand up and tipped it," Parker said. "I just stayed in my little zone. Once it touched my hands all I saw was the end zone -- red and white checkerboard. I didn't want to let the quarterback catch me."

But the defense wasn't the only facet of the Cougars that showed improvement. Junior running back Joffrey Reynolds piled on 116 yards in 27 carries, good for his third consecutive 100-yard game. Junior running back Chris Robertson took the Bearcats for 52 yards and one touchdown off 11 carries.

Sophomore quarterback Nick Eddy completed 15 of 23 passes for 184 yards. His numbers weren't nearly as impressive as they were against Memphis, but they didn't have to be, especially with some athletic play from his receivers.

Senior wide receiver Orlando Iglesias extended his consecutive-games-with-a-catch streak to 38 with an acrobatic 15-yard touchdown catch that put UH on the board for the first time. It was the first of a six-reception, 76-yard day for Iglesias. He also grabbed a 14-yard touchdown pass to start the fourth quarter, a play that gave the Cougars a 28-17 lead.

"A lot of people want us to quit," Iglesias said. "But the seniors, we make sure that our team plays hard. We'll never lay it down. We'll always work hard. Eventually we're going to find a way to win."

The Cougars, who have been outscored by almost 70 points at home, won't play at Robertson Stadium again until Nov. 17. UH next goes on the road to face the 3-2 Southern Miss Golden Eagles in Hattiesburg, Miss., on Saturday.

"My pop's always told me home is where you make it," Parker said. "(But) maybe it would do us some good being away in a little hostile environment."

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