the 56-year-old stadium "a fairgrounds."
Kim Helton responded by saying that
NcNown should "worry about playing and let
(UCLA head coach Bob Toledo) coach." The situation made national news, something the 0-3
Cougars could have lived without.
Houston traveled to Knoxville, Tenn., to
play the Volunteers on the heels of the McNown
incident. Tennessee handed the Cougars their
biggest loss of the young season, 42-7. Over
106,000 fans, the largest crown to ever see UH
play, filled Neyland Stadium and acted as the 12th
man for the Vols. Houston was hapless as Tee
Martin and the explosive Vol offense ran up the
The Cougars returned home for a much
easier game as the Memphis Tigers came to town.
Houston took care of the Tigers 35-14 for their
first win in over a year as Ketric Sanford ran for a
career high 177 yards on 29 carries. Houston
racked up 508 yards and recorded two interceptions in the game, including Emile White's 22 yard
return for a touchdown midway through the third
The Cougars then hosted first-year
Conference USA member Army. The Black Knights
came into Robertson as underdogs, but ran all
over UH with their wishbone offense. Army
scored 28 points in the first half to end the game
before it was halfway over. The Cadets ended the
game with 324 yards on the ground, the most
recorded against Houston all season. The final
score, 38-28, was not indicative of how bad the
Cadets beat Houston.
Kim Helton's team got a much-deserved
week off after the Army game to regroup in time
for trip to Denton to play North Texas. After trailing the Mean Green at halftime 7-9, the Cougars
outscored UNT 24-0 in the second half to win
their second game of the season 31-9. The win
was the first road win of the season .setting up a
showdown with East Carolina.
On the heels of a solid second-half performance the week before, the Cougars beat East
Carolina on the road as fullback Mike Green
caught a 57 yard pass with 1:57 to go in the game
Left: Wide receiver
Jerrian James and
defensive end Mike
after UH's touchdown with eight
seconds left before
halftime. The play
proved to be the
Cougar's only score
In the game against
After finishing 3-8 in 1997, the Cougars finished 1998 with yet another
3-8 record. Fans watched the UH team struggle throughout the season
and come close to winning, #**■"
L, 10-14 33,000
L, 24-42 19,540
to get the Cougars to the eight yard line. Green
then punched it in for the winning TD as the
Cougars upset ECU 34-31.
The ECU win propelled talk of the possibility of a winning season and running the table
to win C-USA. But all of those hopes were dashed
as the Coogs fell to Southern Miss in Houston 21 -
15. Jason McKinley's late interception in the end
zone sealed the fate of a second consecutive losing season. The Cougars were now 3-6 and out of
The last two games of the season were
against polar opposite teams: an 0-9 Cincinnati
Bearcat squad and the undefeated 10-0 Tulane
Green Wave. Houston gave the Bearcats their first
win of the season, as UC scored with 61 seconds
left in the game to win 44-43.
After the devastating loss to UC, Houston
had to prepare for the Green Wave and QB sensation Shaun King in the Louisiana Superdome.
After scoring the first points of the game and
playing fairly close to TU in the first half, the
Cougars were blown out in the second as Tulane's
many weapons were too much for injury-depleted UH. Tulane clinched the C-USA crown by beating Houston 48-20. The game against Tulane
made Houston the only school in the nation to
face both undefeated teams in the nation.
After the season, Athletics Director Chet
Gladchuk and Kim Helton decided on the future
of Houston football as many in the media looked
on. Newspaper stories were published daily as to
whether or not Helton would be retained, even
though he had three years left on his current contract. In the end, Gladchuk decided Helton needed one more year to prove himself.
One of the conditions of Helton staying
with UH would be the shake up of his offensive
and defensive coordinators, Dan Lounsbury and
Gary Bartel. Helton brought in Les Koenning Jr.
and Dick Bumpas to replace the two.
After the disappointing season, Helton
offered few excuses for the disappointing 3-8 season. "We just didn't get the job done," he said.
"Injuries and the tough schedule aside, we have
to do a better job of winning games."