1952 Salad Bowl
Jan. 1, 1952, Montgomery Stadium, Phoenix, Ariz.
Houston 26 Dayton 21
The Cougars used a 13-point third quarter to overcome their 21-13 halftime deficit, defeating Dayton 26-21 and winning their first bowl appearance. Running back Gene Shannon, who rushed for all four of the Cougar touchdowns, was named Most Valuable Player. Defensive back Jack Howton led the Houston defense with two interceptions and a recovered fumble.
1962 Tangerine Bowl
Dec. 22, 1962, Tangerine Bowl, Orlando, Fla.
Houston 49 Miami (Ohio) 21
The Cougars scored 35 consecutive points after falling behind 7-0 to cruise to a 49-21 victory over Miami of Ohio. Quarterback Billy Roland tossed three touchdowns to earn MVP honors. UH’s defense also played well, holding the Red Hawks to 319 yards of total offense. The win was the first of several bowl victories for UH head coach Bill Yeoman.
1969. Bluebonnet Bowl
Dec. 31, 1969, Astrodome Houston, Texas
Houston 36 Auburn 7
Houston and Auburn entered the 1969 Bluebonnet Bowl with the top two offenses in the country, but only the Cougars backed up the hype. Houston halfback Jim Strong rushed for 184 yards to lead the Cougar offense, which gained 516 yards. The win gave the Cougars their ninth consecutive victory and the No. 12 ranking in the final Associated Press poll.
1973 Bluebonnet Bowl
Dec. 29, 1973, Astrodome Houston, Texas
Houston 47 Tulane 7
Houston’s 40-point victory over Tulane in the 1973 Bluebonnet Bowl gave the Cougars their first 11-win season. Led by halfbacks Marshall Johnson and Donnie McGraw, UH controlled the game on the ground, rushing for 402 yards. The Cougars’ defense was also strong, forcing 5 turnovers and 9 punts.
1977 Cotton Bowl
Jan. 1, 1977, Cotton Bowl Dallas, Texas
Houston 30 Maryland 21
A year of shockers ended with a stunning 30-21 upset of Maryland in the Cougars’ first appearance in the Cotton Bowl. Lennard Coplin connected on a 28-yard field goal with 18 seconds left to seal the victory for the Cougars. Houston converted on early mistakes by Maryland to build a 21-0 lead, but stumbled to one of the biggest wins in school history.
1980 Cotton Bowl
Jan. 1, 1980, Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas
Houston 17 Nebraska 14
Quarterback Terry Elston found receiver Eric Herring in the endzone from six yards out with 12 seconds left to propel UH to its second 11-win season. Nebraska’s highly-touted offense was no match for UH’s defense, which held the Cornhuskers to 227 yards. The last-second win came a year after UH lost to Joe Montana and Notre Dame in the final seconds of the 1979 Cotton Bowl. The Cougars finished the season ranked fifth in the nation.
1980 Garden State Bowl
Dec. 22, 1980, Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
Houston 35 Navy 0
Cougar running back Terald Clark rushed for 163 yards and three touchdowns, leading the team to a dominating 35-0 win over Navy. The Cougars gained 405 yards on the ground and threw only seven passes because of inclement weather. Turnovers played a huge part in this game, as UH fumbled the ball eight times but only lost three, while Navy committed three turnovers and had a punt blocked.
2008 Armed Forces Bowl
Dec. 31, 2008, Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas
Houston 34 Air Force 28
In a rematch with Air Force, Houston snapped an eight-game postseason losing streak. Keenum threw for two touchdowns and became the second quarterback in UH history to pass 5,000 yards on the season (5,020 in 13 games). Beall ended the year with 1,247 rushing yards and led the team with 13 touchdowns on the ground, including one against the Falcons.