The Houston Cougars are heading to their fourth bowl game in five years armed with a barrage of awards they’ve earned along the way.
Six Cougars were selected to the Conference USA 2007 Media All-Conference first and second teams Tuesday.
Senior offensive lineman Jeff Akeroyd, who garnered second team honors last year, was named to the first team along with junior defensive lineman Phillip Hunt, who earned his first all-conference first team selection. Senior Donnie Avery was selected to the first team as a wide receiver and the second team as a kick returner.
For the second consecutive year, senior running back Anthony Alridge was selected to the second team. He is joined by junior defensive back Kenneth Fontenette.
Quarterback Case Keenum and cornerback Loyce Means were named to the All-Freshmen team.
Seniors Alridge and Avery, "the 2-22 connection," made sure to leave their mark as they entered their final season as Cougars.
In the Battle of the Bayou Bucket in October, the "2-22 connection" made history as Houston became the first team in major college football history to have a 200-yard rusher and 300-yard receiver in the same game.
Avery stunned Rice with 346 yards on 13 catches and two touchdowns, and Alridge added four touchdowns on 205 total yards as the Cougars beat Rice 56-48 at Robertson Stadium.
Avery’s 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Rice helped him earn Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Week honors, and he also received national recognition as the Walter Camp Football Foundation Bowl Subdivision National Offensive Player of the Week.
In November, Alridge was among one of ten players named to the list of semifinalists for the 2007 Doak Walker Award, which is given annually to the nation’s top running back.
On a team known for its offensive accomplishments, the defense refused to be outdone and racked up three C-USA Defensive Player of the Week and two C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week awards in the 2007 season.
After defeating Colorado State University in September, two Cougars received C-USA recognition. Fontenette recorded his first career touchdown against the Rams and was named C-USA Co-Defensive Player of the Week, and senior kicker T.J. Lawrence was named the C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week after successfully converting all of his five point-after-touchdown kicks and one field goal against CSU.
Senior free safety Rocky Schwartz was named the C-USA Co-Defensive Player of the Week after he intercepted Alabama-Birmingham senior quarterback Sam Hunt twice and had three tackles in the game as the Cougars defeated UAB 49-10.
Hunt received his second career conference weekly honors as he was named the C-USA Defensive Player of the Week for his play against Southern Methodist University. Hunt had six tackles, two pass breakups, a forced fumble and 2.5 sacks against SMU in a display of all-around defensive effort in Houston’s 38-28 win.
After fighting their way to an 8-4 (6-2 C-USA) record, the Cougars will play in the Texas Bowl at 7 p.m. on Dec. 28 at Reliant Stadium.
A limited number of student tickets are available for $20. Each main campus student can purchase up to two student tickets with a valid student ID at the ticket office in the Athletics/Alumni Center.