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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, December 22, 2003

Houston season in review

Advertiser Staff

Game 1 | Cougars win Bayou Bucket
Aug. 30 at Houston • Houston 48, Rice 14

Freshman Kevin Kolb threw for two touchdowns and rushed for two more to lead Houston to the victory over crosstown rival Rice, making coach Art Briles a winner in his debut.

Kolb, named the starter ahead of sophomore Blade Bassler shortly before kickoff of the annual Bayou Bucket game, finished 17 of 22 for 246 yards and no interceptions in the opener for both teams.

Brandon Middleton caught four passes for 122 yards and two scores. Vincent Marshall had eight receptions for 95 yards and threw a crushing block that sprung Middleton for his second TD, which came on a short pass that Middleton took 55 yards down the right sideline to make it 41-7 midway into the third quarter.

The margin of victory was Houston's largest in the series since 1989, when both teams were in the Southwest Conference and Andre Ware led the Cougars to a 64-0 victory moments before claiming the Heisman Trophy.

Rice 0 7 0 7—14

Houston 10 21 10 7—48

First Quarter

Hou—FG Bell 46

Hou—Middleton 47 pass from Kolb (Bell kick)

Second Quarter

Hou—Kolb 1 run (Bell kick)

Rice—Henderson 22 run (Skeen kick)

Hou—Battle 17 run (Bell kick)

Hou—Kolb 1 run (Bell kick)

Third Quarter

Hou—FG Bell 44

Hou—Middleton 55 pass from Kolb (Bell kick)

Fourth Quarter

Hou—McCullar 3 run (Bell kick)

Rice—Henderson 1 run (Skeen kick)

• • •

Game 2 | Cougars fall to No. 5 Michigan
Sept. 6 at Ann Arbor, Mich. • Michigan 50, Houston 3

Chris Perry ran for 184 yards and two touchdowns as No. 5 Michigan beat Houston 50-3.

After Michigan forced a fumble midway through the first quarter, it scored 22 points over the next 16 minutes against the Cougars (1-1) to spark the blowout.

Perry's performance — with TDs from 1 and 8 yards on 27 carries — came one game after he ran for a career-high 232 yards and two TDs in a 45-7 win over Central Michigan. Backup running back David Underwood ran 11 times for 108 yards and a touchdown.

Michigan's John Navarre was 13 of 30 for 136 yards with a TD and no interceptions.

Houston's Kevin Kolb was 15 of 30 for 64 yards. Brandon Middleton extended his streak with at least one reception to 29 games.

The Cougars got off to a good start before being routed.

The Wolverines gained just 3 yards on their first three possessions as Houston stuffed them near the line on runs, and swarmed around receivers on pass attempts.

Then Michigan made its game-turning break and began to build a huge cushion.

Safety Ernest Shazor forced receiver Vincent Marshall to fumble. Lawrence Reid recovered, and the Wolverines had the ball at the Houston 24 after the Cougars were penalized for a late hit.

Perry carried the ball five straight times and scored from the 1 to give Michigan a 7-0 lead.

Larry Stevens sacked Kolb for a safety late in the first quarter.

The Wolverines scored on their next three possessions. They would have scored four straight times, but Steve Breaston's 62-yard punt return was negated by a penalty.

Houston 0 0 3 0— 3

Michigan 9 13 7 21—50

First Quarter

Mich—Perry 1 run (Ribas kick)

Mich—Stevens safety

Second Quarter

Mich—FG Rebas 43

Mich—FG Rebas 38

Mich—Underwood 5 run (Ribas kick)

Third Quarter

Hou—FG Bell 42

Mich—Perry 8 run (Ribas kick)

Fourth Quarter

Mich—Edwards 9 pass from Navarre (Ribas kick)

Mich—Rembert 18 run (Ribas kick)

Mich—Rembert 5 run (Ribas kick)

• • •

Game 3 | Houston tops Ragin' Cajuns
Sept. 14 at Lafayette, La. • Houston 21, La.-Lafayette 14

Kevin Kolb ran for 92 yards and threw a touchdown as Houston beat Louisiana-Lafayette.

Kolb connected with Brandon Middleton on a 62-yard pass with 10:13 left in the third as Houston (2-1) led 14-7. For the game, Kolb was 8 of 18 with one interception for 157 yards.

The Cougars scored next on a 12-yard run by Jackie Battle, capping a seven-play 41-yard drive with 5:30 left in the third. In the second, Battle scored on a 4-yard run. For the game, he netted 84 yards on 15 carries.

Houston 0 7 14 0—21

Louisiana-Lafayette 0 7 0 7—14

Second Quarter

Hou—Battle 4 run (Bell kick)

ULL—Babb 1 run (Comiskey kick)

Third Quarter

Hou—Middleton 62 pass from Kolb, (Bell kick)

Hou—Battle 12 run (Bell kick)

Fourth Quarter

ULL—Lindon 2 run (Comiskey kick)

• • •

Game 4 | Houston gets by Mississippi State
Sept. 20 at Houston • Houston 42, Mississippi St. 35

Kevin Kolb threw for 321 yards and four touchdowns and Houston held off Mississippi State, sending the Bulldogs to their worst start in 35 years.

Mississippi State is 0-3 for the first time since 1968, when the Bulldogs went 0-8-2. Houston (3-1) hasn't opened a season this well since winning its first eight games in 1990.

Mississippi State cut Houston's lead to a touchdown with 4:29 to play on Nick Turner's 2-yard TD run, set up by his own 56-yard punt return on the previous play. But the Bulldogs, who once trailed by 28, never got the ball back.

Kolb, who was 20 for 29 with no interceptions, set the tone with a 74-yard touchdown strike over the middle to a wide-open Brandon Middleton 16 seconds after the opening kickoff. Houston seemed to baffle Mississippi State early with its unusual spread formations, and raced to a 21-0 lead midway into the first quarter.

Then the blowout turned into a shootout when Justin Jenkins, who finished with nine catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns, caught a 29-yard scoring pass from Kevin Fant midway into the third period to cut Houston's lead to 35-21.

Houston struck back early in the final quarter when Kolb scrambled right, ducked trouble, came back left and lofted a 23-yard TD pass to Vincent Marshall.

After Houston's opening touchdown and another on a 7-yard run by Jackie Battle, the Cougars flashed some razzle-dazzle to make it 21-0 when Kolb tossed a shovel pass to Vincent Marshall for a 13-yard scoring play.

Mississippi State 0 6 15 14—35

Houston 21 7 7 7—42

First Quarter

Hou—Middleton 74 pass from Kolb (Bell kick)

Hou—Battle 7 run (Bell kick)

Hou—Marshall 13 pass from Kolb (Bell kick)

Second Quarter

Hou—Gibson 50 pass from Kolb (Bell kick)

MSU—Jenkins 23 pass from Fant (pass failed)

Third Quarter

MSU—Turner 7 run (Jenkins pass from Fant)

Hou—Schirmer 20 run (Bell kick)

MSU—Jenkins 29 pass from Fant (Smith kick)

Fourth Quarter

Hou—Marshall 23 pass from Kolb (Bell kick)

MSU—Hargro 18 pass from Fant (Smith kick)

MSU—Turner 2 run (Smith kick)

• • •

Game 5 | Cougars stuff East Carolina
Sept. 30 at Greenville, N.C. • Houston 27, East Carolina 13

Freshman Kevin Kolb threw two touchdown passes to Brandon Middleton and Anthony Evans added a 48-yard touchdown run as Houston beat East Carolina.

Will Gulley had two interceptions for the Cougars (4-1), who won their Conference USA opener for the first time in three seasons. Under first-year coach Art Briles, Houston is off to its best start since winning the first eight games of the 1990 season.

Marvin Townes rushed for a career-high 118 yards for the Pirates (0-5, 0-2), who have lost seven straight games.

Kolb was 18 of 27 for 263 yards, and has still thrown just one interception this season.

East Carolina had 200 total yards with quarterbacks Desmond Robinson and Paul Troth combining to go 10 of 27 with three interceptions.

Houston 7 13 0 7—27

East Carolina 3 7 0 3—13

First Quarter

ECU—FG Broadwell 26

Hou—Middleton 30 yd pass from Kolb (Bell kick)

Second Quarter

ECU—Robinson 1 run (Broadwell kick)

Hou—Middleton 65 pass from Kolb (Bell kick)

Hou—FG Bell 21

Hou—FG Bell 22

Fourth Quarter

ECU—FG Broadwell 36

Hou—Evans 48 run (Bell kick)

• • •

Game 6 | Houston outlasts Green Wave
Oct. 11, at New Orleans, La. • Houston 45, Tulane 42

Kevin Kolb threw for 283 yards and three touchdowns and the Houston defense held on in the final seconds as the Cougars defeated Tulane.

Tulane's offense caught fire in the second half, scoring 35 points, and had the ball for a potential game-winning drive with 58 seconds left, but with no time-outs.

J.P. Losman hit Tristan Smith to convert a fourth-and-5 to keep the drive alive, then hit Nick Narcisse to put Tulane in Houston territory. But Narcisse could not get out of bounds to stop the clock. With about 14 seconds left, Losman dropped back and was sacked by Joe Clay and time ran out before Tulane could line up for another play.

Houston 7 21 14 3—45

Tulane 0 7 21 14—42

First Quarter

Hou—Evans 7 run (Bell kick)

Second Quarter

Hou—Battle 2 run (Bell kick)

Tul—Smith 16 pass from Losman (Pepper kick)

Hou—Marshall 14 pass from Kolb (Bell kick)

Hou—Pritchett 12 pass from Kolb (Bell kick)

Third Quarter

Tul—Moore 10 run (Pepper kick)

Hou—Gibson 26 pass from Kolb (Bell kick)

Tul—Losman 1 run (Pepper kick)

Hou—Evans 1 run (Bell kick)

Tul—Smith 16 pass from Losman (Pepper kick)

Fourth Quarter

Hou—FG Bell 27

Tul—Terranova 12 pass from Losman (Pepper kick)

Tul—Losman 5 run (Pepper kick)

• • •

Game 7 | Cougars fall to Memphis
Oct. 18, at Houston • Memphis 45, Houston 14

Danny Wimprine threw three touchdown passes and DeAngelo Williams ran for two scores and went over 100 yards rushing for the sixth straight game as Memphis beat Houston.

Wimprine was 13 of 25 for 228 yards, and Williams carried 20 times for 120 yards as Memphis (4-3, 1-2 Conference USA) ended a two-game losing streak.

Things went wrong quickly for Houston (5-2, 2-1), which had won four straight.

Memphis linebacker Will Hyden returned an interception 36 yards for a score about four minutes into the game. On Houston's next possession, Jackie Battle lost a fumble at the Houston 20. Six plays later, Wimprine threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Maurice Avery.

Memphis 28 10 7 0—45

Houston 0 0 0 14—14

First Quarter

Mem—Hyden 36 interception return

Mem—Avery 9 pass from Wimprine (Gostkowski kick)

Mem—Pratcher 36 pass from Wimprine (Gostkowski kick)

Mem—Avery 55 pass from Wimprine (Gostkowski kick)

Second Quarter

Mem—Williams 21 run (Gostkowski kick)

Mem—FG Gostkowski FG

Third Quarter

Mem—Williams 2 run (Gostkowski kick)

Fourth Quarter

Hou—Middleton 18 pass from Kolb (Bell kick)

Hou—Marshall 12 pass from Bassler (Bell kick)

• • •

Game 8 | TCU betters Houston in shootout
Oct. 26, at Houston • TCU 62, Houston 55

Brandon Hassell threw for 375 yards and four touchdowns as No. 15 TCU outscored Houston to remain undefeated despite allowing 684 yards.

The Horned Frogs couldn't shake resurgent Houston (5-3, 2-2) despite setting a school record with 782 yards.

Each side alternated scoring on the first seven possessions of the second half, with TCU taking a 52-40 lead early in the fourth quarter on a 2-yard run by Kenny Hayter.

The Frogs finally got some breathing room when Kevin Kolb, who was 17 of 36 for 434 yards and four touchdowns, fumbled to start a drive and Bo Schobel recovered for TCU. Hassell made the Cougars pay on the next play, finding Quentily Harmon for a 20-yard scoring pass and a 59-40 lead.

TCU 21 7 17 17—62

Houston 3 21 16 15—55

First Quarter

TCU—Rodgers 48 pass from Hassell (Browne kick)

Hou—FG Bell 23

TCU—Rodgers 60 pass from Hassell

TCU—Harrell 6 yd pass from Hassell (BROWNE, Nick kick)

Second Quarter

Hou—Middleton 55 pass from Kolb (Bell kick)

TCU—Rodgers 1 run (Browne kick)

Hou—Kolb 14 run (Bell kick)

Hou—Middleton 48 pass from Kolb (Bell kick)

Third Quarter

TCU—Merrill 4 run (Browne kick)

Hou—FG Bell 35

TCU—Hobbs 1 run (Browne kick)

Hou—Battle 10 run (pass failed)

TCU—FG Browne 19 yd field goal

Hou—Arceneaux 44 pass from Kolb (Bell kick)

Fourth Quarter

TCU—Hayter 1 run (Browne kick)

TCU—Harmon 20 pass from Hassell (Browne kick)

Hou—Marshall 8 yd pass from Kolb (Bell kick)

TCU—FG Browne 20

Hou—Marshall 36 run (Battle run)

• • •

Game 9 | Southern Miss tops Houston
Nov. 8, at Houston • Southern Miss 31, Houston 10

Dustin Almond threw for 237 yards and two touchdowns, and John Eubanks returned a fumble 27 yards for a score as Southern Mississippi beat Houston.

Almond's 25-yard TD pass to Antwon Courington put Southern Mississippi (6-3, 5-0 Conference USA) up 17-10 at halftime. Eubanks scored early in the third for a 24-10 lead.

Vincent Marshall had four receptions for 70 yards, while Kevin Kolb was 15 of 30 for 158 yards for Houston (5-4, 2-3).

Southern Miss 10 7 7 7—31

Houston 7 3 0 0—10

First Quarter

Hou—Schirmer 1 run (Bell kick)

USM—Young 34 pass from Almond (McCaleb kick)

USM—FG McCaleb 24

Second Quarter

Hou—FG Bell 49

USM—Courington 25 pass from Almond (McCaleb kick)

Third Quarter

USM—Eubanks 27 fumble return (McCaleb kick)

Fourth Quarter

USM—Harris 1 run (McCaleb kick)

• • •

Game 10 | Cougars work over Army
Nov. 15, at West Point, N.Y. • Houston 34, Tulane 14

Looking to end a three-game losing streak and secure a bowl bid, Houston couldn't have asked for a better opponent.

Kevin Kolb passed for 301 yards and two touchdowns in Houston's victory over Army, the Black Knights' 13th straight loss.

"It's a hard game to get to, to get that bowl eligibility, because so many people fight for it," Houston coach Art Briles said.

Brandon Middleton had six catches for 129 yards and two touchdowns, and Anthony Evans added 140 yards and one TD rushing for Houston (6-4, 3-3).

Houston dominated offensively and defensively, amassing 561 yards. Kolb was 24 of 28 and scrambled for 45 yards.

Houston 7 13 14 0—34

Army 7 0 0 7—14

First Quarter

Army—White 60 pass from Nevels (Zurisko kick)

Hou—Evans 3 run (Bell kick)

Second Quarter

Hou—Middleton 35 pass from Kolb (Bell kick)

Hou—FG Bell 26

Hou—FG Bell 20

Third Quarter

Hou—Middleton 50 pass from Kolb (Bell kick)

Hou—Tillman 8 run (Bell kick)

Fourth Quarter

Army—White 10 pass from Dahman (Zurisko kick)

• • •

Game 11 | Louisville tops Cougars
Nov. 22, at Louisville, Ky. • Louisville 66, Houston 45

Lionel Gates rushed for a career-high 140 yards and four touchdowns, and Louisville amassed a school and Conference USA record 779 yards in a win over Houston.

Freshman Michael Bush ran for a career-high 137 yards and two scores, and Stefan LeFors threw for 334 yards for the Cardinals.

Anthony Evans rushed for 129 yards and a touchdown for Houston (6-5, 3-4), which allowed its highest point total since a 66-10 loss to UCLA in 1997.

Kevin Kolb went 21 of 27 for 224 yards and two touchdowns for the Cougars.

Houston 7 24 7 7—45

Louisville 14 20 18 14—66

First Quarter

UL—Gates 6 run (Smith kick)

UL—Bush 10 run (Smith kick)

Hou—Kolb 4 run (Bell kick)

Second Quarter

Hou—Kolb 1 run (Bell kick)

UL—Gates 1 run (Smith kick)

Hou—Wilson 100 kickoff return (Bell kick)

UL—Haskins 64 run (Smith kick)

Hou—Middleton 42 pass from Kolb (Bell kick)

UL—Ghent 5 pass from LeFors (kick blockd)

Hou—FG Bell 43

Third Quarter

UL—RUSSELL 38 pass from LeFors (Smith kick)

UL—FG Smith 47

UL—Gates 4 run Russell pass from LeFors)

Hou—Evans 2 run (Bell kick)

Fourth Quarter

UL—Gates 1 run (Smith kick)

UL—Bush 30 run (Smith kick)

Hou—Middleton 8 pass from Kolb (Bell kick)

• • •

Game 12 | Houston rips Ala.-Birmingham
Nov. 29, at Houston • Houston 56, UAB 28

Kevin Kolb passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more, and Anthony Evans rushed for 165 yards and three scores as Houston beat Alabama-Birmingham.

Houston (7-5, 4-4 Conference USA) scored on its first three possessions, going up 21-7 on Kolb's 10-yard TD run, his 45-yard pass to Vincent Marshall and his 53-yarder to Brandon Middleton. Kolb finished 9 of 13 for 196 yards.

Kolb had nine carries for 64 yards as the Cougars rushed for 379 yards.

UAB 7 7 0 14—28

Houston 14 14 14 14—56

First Quarter

Hou—Kolb 10 run (Bell kick)

Hou—Marshall 45 pass from Kolb (Bell kick)

UAB—White 45 run (Hayes kick)

Second Quarter

Hou—Middleton 53 pass from Kolb (Bell kick)

UAB—Dudley 1 run (Hayes kick)

Hou—Evans 1 run (Bell kick)

Third Quarter

Hou—Kolb 16 run (Bell kick)

Hou—Evans 1 run (Bell kick)

Fourth Quarter

Hou—Evans 2 run (Bell kick)

UAB—Rhodes 23 pass from Chavez (Hayes kick)

Hou—Hopkins 8 run (Bell kick)

UAB—White 54 pass from Williams (Hayes kick)