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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

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UH prepared to face Marshall


There’s nothing students and alumni would like to see more than a win in Saturday’s Homecoming game against Marshall at Robertson Stadium, and the players feel that an increased number of fans will give them an extra edge in their Conference USA regular-season finale.

Head coach Art Briles is looking at the homecoming game as a chance for redemption for Houston’s 56-7 loss to Tulsa on Saturday.

"That’s not pleasant and not what we expected, but how we respond to it will determine what type of men we are,√Æ Briles said. "I’m very thankful for the opportunity we have Saturday. I know how we’re going to respond. We’ve got a job to do and we’re going to go do it."

Junior defensive tackle Billy Hartford expects a huge crowd to be in attendance, and he knows their presence could make a difference in the outcome of the game.

"I feel like you’re playing more for the (whole) University than just for the people that usually come to the games," Hartford said. "There’s always more fans there, and there’s a better atmosphere for a game like that."

"Every time you have fans out there in the stands it helps. You need fans there to help you and keep momentum going. So Homecoming is a good thing to get fans to the game, and that’iacute;s what we’re looking for."

For senior offensive lineman Dustin Dickinson, it will be the last time he plays in a Homecoming game for the university he has represented for the past four years.

He said his role as a senior is to help mentally prepare the younger players who have not yet experienced the atmosphere of a Homecoming game.

"We’ve got to lean on the seniors and older guys for inspiration," Dickinson said. "Don’t worry about the past or things to come because everything will fall in place if we take care of business."

The advice he has for the younger players is simple.

"The only thing I can say is we don’t need to be worried about last week, and we don’t need to be looking two or three weeks down the road either" Dickinson said. "We live in the here and now, and we’ve got a good team coming in for our homecoming, so we’ve got to take care of business."

Although freshman running back Terrance Ganaway is just in his first season as a college athlete, he has fond memories of playing in homecoming games at DeKalb (Texas) High School.

Ganway said playing in high school homecoming games was "pretty emotional," but he is "excited" to play in his first college homecoming game.

"Every week is exciting for me to get the opportunity to go out there and play as a true freshman and just lay it all on the line for ten other people on the field with me," Ganaway said.

He hasn’t noticed any difference in the team yet because the Cougars (6-4, 5-2 C-USA) practice the same way every week – whether they are coming off a win or a loss.

"I think the preparation of the game doesn’t change because as we go through a long season it’s a continuous process of preparing one week for a team and then playing that team and moving on, so as far as preparing for Marshall – Homecoming doesn’iacute;t effect the way we prepare," Ganaway said.

However, he anticipates that playing for both students and alumni in the homecoming environment will be an unforgettable experience.

"Friday when everything’iacute;s getting all settled in and building up to the game on Saturday, around 2:30, the emotion of the crowd gets us a lot more pumped up and fired up and ready to play. This game is a must-win game, and Homecoming and the excitement of the game itself is an extra boost that we might need."

Briles agrees that his players will benefit from having a huge, supportive crowd at the game, which Houston must win in order to keep its championship hopes alive.

"It’s going to be a great opportunity for us to get back to where we belong," Briles said. "That’s what we have to do. We have to re-establish ourselves as a football team."


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