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Volume 68, Issue 16, Tuesday, September 17, 2002


Shooting the bull

By Stuart H. Clements
The Daily Cougar

Since the beginning of time, it has been the instinctive nature of carnivores (Cougars) to hunt and devour slower, more cumbersome herbivores (Longhorns).

We all know that "Longhorn" is just a fancy word for cow, and unless you're a vegetarian, we all know cows are good for two things: fine leather accessories and dinner.

October 3, 1953

All Cougars should remember this date. It's one of the most monumental dates in the University's heritage. Oct. 3 was the first time Houston ever played Texas.

Under head coach Clyde Lee, the Cougars traveled to Austin to try their luck against the Texas "cows." The score is not important, although the facts state the Cougars lost, 28-7.

What is important is the development of the Cougar paw.

In transporting Shasta I to Austin for the game, Alpha Phi Omega -- the service fraternity in charge of caring for the live cougar mascot -- somehow caught one of Shasta's front paws in the car door.

The Cougars muscle their way past the Longhorns during the 1977 season. The Cougars were coming off a 10-2 season that included a 30-0 drubbing of Texas, a trip to the Cotton Bowl and a No. 4 finish in the Associated Press poll.

Photo courtesy of 1978 Houstonian

It's a wonder the environmentalists didn't confiscate the University's right to own a mascot before the 1980s.

At any rate, those nasty, heartless, conniving "cows" caught wind of the horrific debacle and decided to use it in jest.

As the "cows" pummeled the Cougar football squad mercilessly, the nasty orange-clad fans flailed their arms and hands in the shape of the hurt Cougar paw, developing animosity and rage that would never die in the hearts of the noble Cougars that looked on.

The next 23 years

It would be 15 years before the Cougars met Texas again, this time coming to the field waving their Cougar paws proudly, and on Sept. 21, 1968, under head coach Bill Yeoman, the Cougars tied Texas 20-20.

Eight years later, on Nov. 6, 1976, Yeoman took Houston to Austin for a third meeting with the "cows," and for the first time, defeated Texas, spanking them 30-0.

It was the first year the Cougars proved a force to be reckoned with. They went on to win the Southwest Conference, were ranked No. 4 in the nation and played New Year's Day in the 1977 Cotton Bowl, defeating the Maryland Terrapins, 30-21.

The rivalry grows

From 1976-1995 the Cougars played the "cows" every year while still in the now-defunct SWC.

The UH-UT games drew record crowds, beginning with that sensational 30-0 victory over the cows where Memorial Stadium was packed with more than 77,000 fans. In 1978 more than 83,000 fans attended.

The Cougars possess a 7-15-2 all-time record against Texas. Although the "cows" have the advantage, the Cougars have pulled some huge upsets over the years.

In the run-and-shoot days (1987-1992) of head coaches Jack Pardee and John Jenkins, the Cougars were 4-2 against Texas.

In 1987 the Cougars won 60-40. In 1988, Houston spanked Texas, 66-15. 

In 1989 the Cougars sent the "cows" home from the Astrodome with their tails between their legs after a 47-9 pounding.

The rivalry will survive

2002 might be the last time the Cougars face Texas for many years. 

The "cows" have begun to get the impression that they are too good to play Houston, but the rivalry will never die.

Cougars will constantly search their habitats for fresh meat, and when the cattle run returns the Cougars will be there to feast on their prey.

The Cougars are willing to wait, and when the timing is right, they just might strike with full force, eager to watch bitter orange-clad fans writhe in their own demise.

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