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Volume 70, Issue 60, Monday, November 15, 2004


Coogs burned by Blazers

Briles blames loss on own bad play calling; Cougars say UAB game was 'dirtiest' of year

By Ken Stocks
The Daily Cougar

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The Cougar defense made a valiant effort, but the Alabama-Birmingham Blazers proved too much as they defeated Houston 20-7 in an old-fashioned, "down and dirty" game Saturday.

It was the perfect setting for a smash-mouth football game as clouds hung low over the hills that surround Legion Field, and a brisk north wind blew in the air. A small but vocal crowd gathered for the UAB homecoming.

The Cougars fell to the Alabama-Birmingham Blazers 20-7 Saturday on their last away game of the season. UH head coach Art Briles attributes the loss to play calling and the inability to remain consistent.
UH Office of Sports Information

The Cougar offense suffered from poor field position and predictable play calling as it went three plays and out the first five drives of the game.

The special teams struggled at the start the game with punts of 26, 29 and 13 yards that left UAB with good field position throughout the entire first half.

If not for the effort of the defense, the score could have been 28-0 by halftime as red shirt freshman Rocky Schwartz made a touchdown-saving interception at the 5-yard line and Courtney Brooks recovered a fumble on the UH 16-yard line.

However, defense alone wasn't going to be enough for UH to win this game, as Blazer junior quarterback Darrell Hackney was 13-9 for 117 yards in the first half, including a 28-yard touchdown strike to senior Roddy White, to give them the halftime lead 14-0.

"There was a lot of trash talking on the field on both sides of the ball," junior tailback Anthony Evans said. "This was one of the dirtiest games I remember playing."

Houston showed no sign of giving up or backing down from Alabama-Birmingham. When one of the UAB players made a late hit near the sidelines in the second half, former UH player and current sideline radio announcer Chuck Brown was so incensed he almost went onto the field and he had to be calmed by one of the referees.

The offense looked better in the second half, but sophomore quarterback Kevin Kolb was sacked eight times in the game. Kolb did manage to complete 19 of 39 passes for 196 yards and a 7-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

The defense held UAB to just one touchdown in the second half and then blocked the extra point attempt to make the final score 20-7.

"It was hard for us to establish any continuity," said UH head coach Art Briles. "If you can't run the ball effectively, which we couldn't do consistently, then you're grabbing at straws. (Kolb) never really got a chance to get into a comfort zone, and I think that was due to my play-calling and our execution."

The Cougars fell back into a predictable pattern and only threw on first down two times in the entire game, allowing UAB to stack the defense to stop the run.

The Alabama-Birmingham win makes the Blazers a bowl-eligible team at 6-3 overall and 4-2 in the Conference USA and drops Houston to 3-7 overall and 3-4 in Conference USA.

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