Championship season one for the history books
A new era of Cougar football has begun, and it couldn’t have started any better.
Led on the sidelines by Coach of the Year and Bear Bryant Award Finalist Tom Herman, as well as Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award winner junior quarterback Greg Ward Jr., the Cougars had a nearly-flawless football season.
On the field, the Cougars had tremendous success, starting with a 52-24 win over the Tennessee Technical University Golden Eagles.
UH had its first contest against an FBS opponent when it traveled to take on the University of Louisville, a former conference foe. After a hard-fought game, the Cougars showed they were tougher than they were last year, coming out with a 34-31 victory.
The Cougars built on the momentum that the huge victory over Louisville gave them. UH was able to rattle off a string of six relatively easy victories of at least 14 points each, ending with a 34-0 shutout win over Vanderbilt University on Halloween.
The momentum and the luster of the shutout were quickly challenged when the University of Cincinnati Bearcats came into town and gave the Cougars their toughest contest in the conference up to that point.
Cincinnati played Houston hard, but Houston’s defense showed why it was one of the best defenses in the country and forced a crucial stop to seal the 33-30 victory.
The next week, the Cougars’ resiliency was tested like it had never been tested before when the University of Memphis Tigers came in. Houston was plagued by another slow start, causing it to be down 20-0 in the second quarter.
The Cougars stayed tough, even with the loss of Ward at quarterback. Sophomore backup Kyle Postma came in, led a touchdown drive at the end of the half and helped keep the team in the game in the third quarter.
With the help of the defense and a few key forced turnovers, the Cougars erased a 20-point fourth-quarter deficit, leading to a 35-34 victory.
The Cougars’ next game, however, would prove to be the end of the perfect season. As they traveled to face the University of Connecticut Huskies, they were defeated 20-17 in a game, where the defense played well, but the offense couldn’t get going behind Postma.
UH would come out the next week and play one of their most dominant games, shutting down the United States Naval Academy’s triple option offense and fighting on to a 52-31 victory, securing them a spot in the conference championship.
They found themselves locked in a defensive struggle in the championship game against Temple University.
The Cougars eventually came out with a 24-13 win and the American Athletic Conference championship, leading to a berth in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl against Florida State University Seminoles.
They also ended the season well on the national stage. The Cougars dominated the Seminoles, causing five turnovers and putting on an offensive show.
UH hit FSU hard, jumping out to a 21-3 lead and not looking back, leading to a 38-24 win.
The Cougars ended the season looking good in the national picture, finishing ranked No. 18 in the final CFP rankings and eighth in the Associated Press Poll, with some national writers projecting them to be ranked in the Top 10 in the preseason polls for next season.