2006 CUSA Championship: Southern Miss vs. Houston
By Douglas Kroll
Houston head coach Art Briles is up for the national coach of the year award. The City of Houston will proclaim Tuesday, University of Houston Day. Things are looking pretty good for the Cougars, not to mention they have senior quarterback Kevin Kolb for two more games in his illustrious career. The second-to-last game will be on Saturday at home against Southern Miss in the Conference USA Championship.
The Cougars have had a strange season, winning their first four games, and then losing a heartbreaker at Miami, followed by losses to Louisiana-Lafayette and Saturdays opponent, Southern Miss. Houston then went on to win the final five games of the season and win its' division. In this years meeting on October 14th, the Golden Eagles won 31-27, and it was the seventh time in ten games that USM has defeated Houston. The series dates back to 1957.
Houstons offense has led the way for the Cougars this season, gaining 439.6 total yards per game. Kolb has been nothing short of spectacular in his final season wearing the red jersey. He has thrown for 3,165 yards with 25 touchdowns and only three interceptions. To say Kolb has been the staple of the Houston program is quite the understatement. A balanced running attack also accompanies the senior QB. UH has rushed for 171.2 yards per game, with Jackie Battle getting into the end zone 12 times. Anthony Alridge has been better than good so far in his three starts with a little over 11 yards every time he has touched the football on the ground, and eight touchdowns.
Southern Miss has gotten things done on the ground, gaining 171 yards per game. Damion Fletcher leads the team with 112 yards per game and nine touchdowns. Redshirt junior QB Jeremy Young has been serviceable as a quarterback, throwing for 1,423 yards and 11 touchdowns. Young is also the third leading rusher on the team.
It should shape up as a battle between a strong Houston offense, and a pretty good Southern Miss defense as the Golden Eagles have only given up a little over 18 points per game this season to their opponents.
Douglas Kroll is an independent contributor to College Football Poll.com.