COUGAR FOOTBALL: HAWAII BOWL
It was what every Cougar fan had hoped for: a bowl berth. After cleaning
up their last Conference USA opponent, the University of Alabama-Birmingham, 56-28, their hopes of picking up a bowl were all but secured.
As the chips fell, UH quickly agreed to spend Christmas Day in Hawaii in
the day's only televised bowl game. The Cougars fought bravely, matching the Warriors' high-flying offense with equal depth. Both teams ran up
the points column. Through some luck, the game extended into overtime,
giving the victory-hungry Cougars a final chance to redeem themselves.
In the final seconds, however, the game ended sourly with both teams in a
bitter fight on national TV. The scoreboard read 54-48, and finally the
dream came to an end.
Cougars stranded in island paradise
BY KEENAN SINGLETON the DAILY COUGAR
HONOLULU — The stars for
Houston arc usually aligned.
Hadnot, Brandon Middleton, Joe
Clay and Kevin Kolb are the
names most mentioned when
highlighting the Cougars.
But some new stars twinkled for
Houston on Christmas Day.
Names like Vincent Marshall,
Chad McCullar, Eddie McCray
and Jackie Battle shined brightly
for the Cougars. A mix of new
and old stars wouldn't be enough
though, as UH fell 54-48 in triple-
overtime to Hawaii in the Hawaii
Bowl in Honolulu.
Although regulation ran more
than three-and-a-half hours and
featured an "ohmygod" 81-yard
touchdown sprint from Marshall
with 22 seconds left to tie the
game at 34, the game did not truly
begin until the clock read "00:00."
The teams scored on their first
two possessions in overtime, driv
ing the score to 48-48. Houston's
Will Gulley intercepted Hawaii
quarterback Timmy Chang's two-
point conversion pass at the goal
line, giving Hawaii a 54-48 lead
and the Cougars a chance to win
had they been able to score a
touchdown and convert a two-
point try. (Division 1-Amies mandate that teams attempt a two-
point conversion after the second
On fourth-and-five at the 20-
yard line Kolb was prematurely
forced from the pocket and completed a two-yard pass to
Marshall, ending Houston's season (7-6) and chances at winning
their first bowl game since the
1980 Garden State Bowl (35-0
win over Navy).
"(We) probably should have
gone for two at the end (of regulation), we had tremendous momentum," head coach Art Briles
said. "We were the underdogs and
I made a coaching mistak.
should have tried to end it there
gotten on the plane and gone <r
"They did a great job today.;
our guys did," Briles said. 1
ery game is another opportune
for someone to step up." W|
where you turned the young*
were stepping up.
Battle was Houston's Vs0
Bowl MVP. The 6-2,250 pj
freshman rumbled fori 25 f
downs. McCullar carried*
Cougars in the first half ^
ing four passes for 86 yards ^
a touchdown (the sophomore Sorted with five catches for 103
-" ds and a touchdown). McCray
*as in Hawaii's backfield all
?ame, totaling two sacks and four
tokles for losses.
Marshall (seven catches, 157
yards, one TD), who led the Cou-
gars in receptions this season,
hased mostly on short screen
P^s, may have eclipsed his teammates with his game-tying catch
^relassmen) wanted to send the
semors out witharing," McCray,
a Ashman defensive lineman,
McCullar and the Cougars took
early advantage of Hawaii's defense, who was without the services of the Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the
Year, Travis LaBoy (academically
ineligible), pounding the ball with
backs sophomore Anthony Evans
and freshman Battle on Houston's
first drive of the game.
A 14-yard run from Kolb and
15-yard penalty (late hit out of
bounds) set up the first score of
the game. Kolb would find
McCullar over the middle of the
field for a 34-yard touchdown to
put the Cougars up early 7-0 with
eleven minutes, 43 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
McCullar nearly made it back-
to-back touchdowns when he returned a punt 60 yards to the Hawaii 10-yard line. Kicker Dustin
Bell's 21-yard field goal put the
Cougars up 10-0 with 9:05 remaining in the first quarter.
Starting quarterback Jason
Whieldon's injury with 14:28 left
in the second opened the door for
the Warriors' usual starting signal caller Chang (26-42, 475
yards, five touchdowns), who
closed Houston's lead on his first
play from scrimmage on a 48-
yard strike to Clifton Herbert.
Marshal fs over-the-shoulder
45-yard catch on a Kolb (19-34,
332 yards, two touchdowns)
scramble placed Houston on the
Hawaii 40-yard line. That catch
set up a two-yard touchdown dive
from Battle that put the Cougars
up 17-10 with 11:16 left in the first
half. The two teams jogged into
their locker rooms with Houston
As a sign of holiday giving, the
teams exchanged turnovers like
gifts, committing four turnovers
(two apiece) on five possessions
in the third quarter. Cougar safety
Jermain Wocxlard forced Hawaii
receiver Sc'c Poumele fumble. al
lowing defensive back Roshawn
Pope to recover the Fumble with
8:02 left in the third quarter.
KolIVs interception three plays
later gave the Warriors the ball and
ultimately their first lead of the
game, 27-20, with 4:35 seconds
left in the third quarter.
Hawaii scored the only points
in the third quarter, shutting out
the Cougars 14-0.
Those expecting an offensive
shootout were not disappointed -
- the teams combined for 1,158
yards of offense.