Sunday, January 15, 2017

US Army runner Elkanuh Kibet top USA finisher at Chevron Houston Marathon

Photo by Lou Roesch, Copyright 2017, All Rights Rseerved
By Lou Roesch
Special for TexSport Publications
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 15, 2017) Fifteen short months ago, almost to the day, then US Army specialist Elkanah Kibet ran his first ever marathon in Chicago. The Kenyan born runner did it in spite of a nine-month deployment to Kuwait and Iraq and without beginning his training for Chicago’s 26.2 mile edition until just six weeks before the race. Kibet put his face on the racing map leading the way for the first nine miles and then hanging with the first group for the next ten. The former Auburn Tiger finished seventh (2:11:31) registering the fastest debut time for an American runner since Andrew Carlson’s 2:11:24 in 2012.   The 31-year-old racer’s performance earned him a spot in U.S. Military’s World Class Athlete Program.

On Sunday, undaunted by the weather, Kibet ranked fourth on Runners World list of top American marathoners in 2015 became the first American to complete the Chevron Houston Marathon. His sixth place finish led a contingent of American runners including fellow Army teammate 1LT Robert Cheseret who finished ninth.

Specialist Leonard Korir, also a member of the Army’s WCAP, won the Aramco Half-Marathon in stirring fashion on Sunday morning. The 2016 US Olympian and two-time national collegiate champion in the 10,000M and 5,000M races edged Ethiopia’s Feyisa Lilesa Gemechu by one-one-hundredth of a second.

Over the years, the Chevron Houston Marathon has become predictable and unpredictable all at the same time. The 2017 edition was no different as Ethiopia won the women’s side for the 11th consecutive year and Kenya topped the leaderboard for the first time in eight years. Dominic Ondoro took the men’s race in 2:12:05 keeping the title in the hands or should I say the feet of the African runners for the 13th consecutive year.

Ethiopian Meskerem Assefa won her first career marathon winning by just 27 seconds over the 2016 champion Biruktayit Degefa in one of the closest finishes in Chevron Houston Marathon history. Assefa admitted during the post-race press conference that she was having cramps throughout the race but was determined to keep an eye on Gedefa and not lose the race. Ethiopia finished 1st, 2nd, and 4th in the race with American Becky Wade (3rd) the lone runner breaking up the African domination finishing five minutes and thirty nine seconds off the pace.


Registration for the 2018 Chevron Houston Marathon is now open.

Kenya's Dominic Ondoro takes 2017 Houston Marathon title

Dominic Ondoro ran a 2:12:05 to win the
2017 Houston Marathon.
Photo by Kristine Kelly, TexSport Publications
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 15, 2017) Dominic Ondoro broke with the pack at the 25-mile mark; outdistancing his nearest competitors to win the 2017 Chevron Houston Marathon on the streets of Houston on Sunday, January 15, 2017.  The Kenyan’s time of 2:12:05 was 28 seconds faster than second place Yitayal Atanfu, who also finished in second place in the race in 2016. Ondoro’s time was a bit off his personal best; a 2:08:00 performance at the Tiberias Marathon in Israel in 2013.

His winning time of 2:12:05 was the slowest since 2008, were countryman David Cheruiyot won the third of his three Houston Marathon titles, with the time of 2:12:32. Cheruiyot also won Houston in 2005 (2:14:50) and 2006 (2:12:02). The current Houston Marathon record of 2:06:51 was set in 2012 by Tariku Jufar of Ethiopia. Ondoro broke the eight-year streak of an Ethiopian winning in Houston dating back to 2009. In 2014, Ondoro placed fifth in Houston (2:11:43) followed by a fourth-place finish in 2015 (2:09:40). In 2016, The 29-year old won the Twin Cities Marathon (2:08:51) in 2016 and place third at the Ottawa Marathon (2:11:3). When questioned what plans he had for the $45,000 prize money, he responded, “Do some investment; buy a boat.”

Ethiopian runners finished in third to fifth place; with Abayyneh Ayele Wuldegiorgus (2:12:44), Andualem Shiferaw (2:12:54) and Abrha Milaw Asefa (2:16:16). The top American finisher was Elkanah Kibet, placing sixth with the time of 2:17:25. Next year’s event is scheduled for January 14, 2018.

American Leonard Korir wins Houston Half Marathon

American Leonard Korir won the Aramco
Houston Half Marathon.
Photo by Kristine Kelly, TexSport Publications
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2016 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 15, 2017) After 13.1 miles, American Leonard Korir out battled Feyisa Lilesa take to claim the Aramco Houston Half Marathon title on January 15, 2017. Both runners were credited with the finish time of 1:01:14, with the Colorado native edging out the Ethiopian at the tape. The winning time places Korir, who was a 2016 Olympian and finished 14th in the 10,000 meters, sixth on the All-Time performance list for the event and second on the All-Time list by an American. Third place was Hiskel Tewelde Ghebru of Ethiopia with the of 1:01:07 with fellow countryman Fikadu Tsadik placing fourth with the same time.

In the women’s half marathon Veronicah Nyaruai Wanjiru (Kenya) took top honors with the time of 1:07:58. Ethiopian Dera Dida Yami was eight seconds back in second place, with Mary Wacera (Kenya) placing third. The top American was Jordan Hasay, who finished fourth with the time of 1:08:04.

Next year’s event is scheduled for January 14, 2018.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Houston Texans spell defeat for the Legion of Doom on Wild Card Weekend

Photo by Darla Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved
By Lou Roesch
Special for TexSport Publications
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 8, 2017) Six weeks ago, a Houston Texans defensive breakdown and some questionable officiating led to an Oakland Raiders come from behind win in Mexico City. On Saturday afternoon in Oakland quarterback Connor Cook’s first NFL start, the Houston Texans defense left no doubt as to why they are the best in the NFL defeating the Raiders by a score of 27-14. The NFL’s number one defense sacked Cook three times, intercepted him three times, held the Oakland’s Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree to four catches on 17 targets and stopped the Raiders on 14 of their 16 third down plays including all seven in the first half. The 13 percent third down efficiency was Oakland’s poorest effort of the season.


Houston entered the NFL’s Wild Card Weekend opener averaging a league worst 7.6 first half points through 16 weeks. With 6:16 left in the opening quarter, the Houston Texans had exceeded that average and built a 10-0 lead with help from LDE Jadaveon Clowney. Number 90’s first career NFL interception gave Houston the ball at the Oakland nine. An unnecessary roughing call moved it to the four and running back Lamar Miller did the rest giving the Texans their biggest first quarter lead of the season.

Brian McTaggart, the Houston Astros beat writer, tweeted that J.J. Watt mouthed to Clowney after the TD: "That's all you,” and Clowney in his first healthy NFL season, continued to justify his number one overall selection in 2014 according to Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien..

“He’s really stepped up for us,” said O’Brien about Clowney’s effort. “He makes plays on the football even when he’s getting after the quarterback or tackling the running back, there’s a chance that he could get the ball. He’s got that knack and that was a very nice play by him.” 

A Latavious Murray touchdown drew the Raiders as close as they would get at 10-7 with 1:01 left in the first quarter.

The defense continued to harass Cook and the offense put up ten more points in the second quarter building a 13 point halftime edge. A Nick Novak field goal extended the lead to 13-7 and then in the half’s waning moments, quarterback Brock Osweiler put together his best drive in recent memory. The maligned Texans signal caller hit rookie receiver Will Fuller on first down for 19 yards from the Houston 40. He followed that with a perfectly thrown over the outside shoulder ball to DeAndre Hopkins for 38 yards and two plays later flipped a two yard scoring toss to Hopkins and the Texans never looked back.

Hopkins finished the catching five of nine targets for 67 yards and the score while Osweiler finished 14 of 25 for 168 yards and 90.1 QBR his best of the season. Houston scored touchdowns on all three trips into the redzone.

Cook looked more like the Texans Brock Osweiler of old completing 18 of 45 for 168 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions while the Texan’s run defense tops in the NFL held Murray to just 39 yards on 12 carries and the Raiders as a whole to 64 yards on 21 carries.

The Texans meanwhile ran for 100 plus yards again including Lamar Miller’s 31-carry 73-yard, one touchdown performance.

Houston matched their season high scoring output with their 27 point outburst and now await the outcome of Sunday’s Pittsburgh Steelers/Miami Dolphins game. Should Miami win, The Texans and their top ranked defense will face the Chief next Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium hoping to revenge last year’s playoff embarrassment to Kansas City. If the Steelers prevail, Houston will travel to Gillette Stadium to face the Patriots who have won 14 of 17 home playoff games since the home of the Patriots opened in 2003. The Texans last second round playoff visit ended in a 41-28 loss to the Patriots in 2012.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Houston downs Tulsa 64-61 in mid-week basketball action

Photo by Robert H Kelly
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 4, 2016) The Houston Cougars, without the services of Rob Gray, downed the Tulsa Golden Hurricane by the score of 64-61 at Hofheinz Pavilion on Wednesday, January 4, 2016. The win moved the Cougars to 3-0 in American Athletic Conference action sand sets up a Saturday, January 7 meeting with No. 22 Cincinnati. Houston was paced by Wes VanBeck, who was pressed into service in the starting lineup due to Gray’s illness scored a career-high 16 points along with going 10-for-10 from the free throw line. Tulsa dropped to 7-7 overall and 1-1 in American play with the loss. Damyean Dotson led the Cougars with 18 points, with Danrad Knowles and Galen Robinson Jr. adding 10 points each. Corey Henderson led Tulsa with 16 points.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Houston moves to 2-0 in AAC play with 70-56 win over USF

The Houston Cougars return home on Wednesday, January 4 to face Tulsa.
Photo by Darla Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved
By Chris Price
Copyright 2016 TexSport Publications

TAMPA, FLORIDA (December 31, 2016) The Houston Cougars raised their American Athletic Conference record to 2-0 with a 70-56 win over South Florida at the Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida on Saturday, December 31, 2016. Three Cougars scored in double figures; with Rob Gray and Damyean Dotson tallying 25 points each, followed by Wes VanBeck with 11. The Cougars shot 42% from the field and pulled down 38 rebounds. The Bulls were led by Troy Holston with 16 points.


The Cougars will return to the friendly confines of Hofheinz Pavilion for a two-game home stand beginning on Wednesday, January 4 with an 8 p.m. CT matchup against Tulsa. They follow that game on Saturday, January 7; facing No. 23 Cincinnati at 8 p.m.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Kansas States overcome Texas Aggies for 33-28 Texas Bowl win

Jesse Ertz (16) tallied three touchdowns
and the game MVP award.
Photo by Darla Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2016 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (December 28, 2016) The Kansas State Wildcats used a potent offense to keep the Texas A&M Aggies in check in route to a 33-28 win in the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl in Houston, Texas on Wednesday, December 28, 2016 at NRG Stadium in Houston. The win raised the Wildcats record to 9-4 for the season while the Aggies dropped to 8-5.

Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder discussed the win with the press after the game.

“You know, I’ve been impressed with the spirit of our players on this trip.  It goes back to the, what is the event they have here, the little rodeo deal.  What I was so impressed with, not the fact of who wins or loses, but the spirit that our players, unsolicited, that they showed during that period of time.  I’m don’t know if any of you were out there.  I enjoyed watching our players show that passion for the competitiveness of it and the spirit.  I kind of had a feeling it would carry over to this ballgame, and I think for the most part it did.”

Josh Reynolds caught 12 passes for 154 yards and
two touchdowns for the Aggies.
Photo by Darla Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved
The Aggies tallied the first score of the game, receiving the initial kickoff and driving 75 yards in 10 plays for the score. Tailback Keith Ford took the handoff from quarterback Trevor Knight and rambled the final seven yards of the drive for the score. Daniel La Camera kicked the extra point to give Texas A&M an early 7-0 lead. A bit less than seven minutes later, the Wildcats received an Aggie punt and began their drive on their own 21-yard line. Quarterback Jesse Ertz connected with wide receiver Bryon Pringle on their first play of the possession, with a 79-yard pass, for Kansas State’s first score. Ian Patterson evened the score at seven points with his successful conversion.  The Wildcats then took the lead when Ertz rushed the final five yards of a 55-yard drive, on a quarterback keeper, for Kansas State’s second touchdown of the game. The Aggies limited the Wildcat score to six points when Patterson’s extra point attempt was blocked by Myles Garrett to make the score 13-7 at the 12:19 mark of the second quarter.

Texas A&M wasted no time in getting back the lead when they capped their next possession with a three-yard pass from Knight to wide receiver Ricky Seals-Jones for the Aggies’ second TD and the La Camera kicking conversion. The Aggies then held a slim 14-13 lead over the Wildcats. K-State took back the lead with a 40-yard field goal by Patterson with 6:13 left in the first half. They increased their lead to 23 points when Dominique Heath took a handoff from Knight on a second-and-five play and carried the ball 52 yards for the Wildcats’ third touchdown of the game. Patterson added the obligatory extra point to give Kansas State a 23-14 to close out the first half.

Head coach Kevin Sumlin discussed the Aggies’ season performance after the game.

"Oh, we’re not happy.  Just like I said last week at the press conference.  The message in there was, you know, I was thankful to these guys, to the seniors.  Really wanted it to be different tonight and send them out on a really good note because of how they’ve represented this program.  Didn’t get that done.  The message really was for the young players that this feeling that they have in that locker room right now, basically, don’t forget that.  Anytime and how we go to work from here on out, the guys that are coming back, this feeling should drive you even more throughout the spring.  We’ve got a bunch of guys that are coming in here mid-year too.   The guys who are here, the returning guys, they’ve got to be leaders in this program.  That feeling that you have right now should help motivate us even more throughout the spring and into next year.”


The Aggies began a comeback in the second half, beginning at drive with 10:56 on the clock in the third quarter. The Aggies moved the ball 90 yards in 10 plays and capped the drive with a four-yard pass from Knight to wide receiver Josh Reynolds for the touchdown. LaCamera added the extra point to cut the Wildcats’ lead to 23-21. Kansas State responded three minutes later with a Patterson 25-yard field goal to increase their lead to 26-21. The Wildcats increased their lead six minutes into the fourth quarter when Ertz carried the ball again on another quarterback keeper for another touchdown. As previously, Patterson kicked the conversion to give Kansas State a 33-21 lead. The Aggies scored with 7:50 left in the game on a 15-yard pass from Knight to Reynolds. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

North Carolina State wins 2016 Camping World Independence Bowl with 41-17 win over Vanderbilt

Jaylen Samuels (1) scored two touchdowns in the
first half and another in the second half
for the North Carolina State Wolfpack.
Photo by Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2016 TexSport Publications

SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA (December 26, 2016) Tight end Jaylen Samuels score two touchdowns in the first half and another in the third quarter to lead the North Carolina State Wolfpack to a 41-17 win over the Vanderbilt Commodores at the 2016 Camping World Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana on Monday, December 26, 2016. The three touchdowns by Samuels established a new bowl game record for Most Receiving Touchdowns in a game. The previous record of two was shared by six players, and was set or tied beginning in 1981 and continuing to 2013. The win allowed the Wolfpack to raise their record to 7-6 while Commodores dropped to 6-7. 
Samuels, who caught three passes for 104 yards and the three touchdowns was selected as the game’s Most Valuable Offensive Player by a vote of the credentialed media. 


Jaylen Samuels (right) and Airius Moore
were selected the MVPs of the game.
Photo by Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved
After close to nine minutes of give-and-take football, Vanderbilt got on the scoreboard with field goal by Tommy Openshaw at the 6:06 mark of the first quarter. The 52-yarder, which tied the red-shirt junior’s season best, broke the existing bowl game record of 50 yards. The record was jointly held by Missouri’s Adam Crossett and Texas A&M’s David Hardy. Hardy established the record in 1981 against Ohio State, with Crossett matching the performance in 2005 versus South Carolina. Hardy booted the record setting field goal in the third quarter of the game, in which he was successful with four field goals and three extra points. Crossett tied the record in the fourth quarter of the game. Three minutes later, the Wolfpack took the lead with a nine-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Finley to Samuels and a kicking conversion by Conner Haskins. The drive covered 41 yards in seven plays and took 3:30 off the clock. Samuels add his second TD pass of the game, a 55-yard reception, again from Finley, cap a four-play, 81-yard drive that lasted 50 seconds.

North Carolina State increased their lead after 3:10 in the third quarter when running back Reggie Gallaspy II carried the ball the final four yards on an 18-yard drive for the Wolfpack’s third touchdown, with Haskins taking on the extra point. NC State received the ball at the beginning of the drive when safety Josh Jones picked off a Kyle Shurmur pass at the Vanderbilt 43-yard line. Jones return the interception to the Vanderbilt 18-yard line to kick off the drive which lasted four plays and took 1:42.

The Commodores added seven points to score on a 30-yard touchdown run by running back Ralph Webb and an extra point by Openshaw with 55 seconds left in the third quarter, to cut the Wolfpack lead to 28-10. Vanderbilt added another rushing touchdown with 10:37 left in the game on a one-yard touchdown by running back Khari Blasingame, and another extra point by Openshaw, to make the score 28-17. On the ensuing kickoff, Nyhein Hines took the return 100 yards for the score. The Wolfpack concluded their scoring frenzy with a 32-yard AIRFAT (an interception returned for a touchdown) with no time left on the clock. NC State head coach Dave Doeren talked about Himes’ interceptions, and what was discussed at halftime, with the press after the game.

“We said at some point, momentum’s going to swing their way. Somebody in this room needs to swing it back, and Nyhein did that with that return. They had the (punt) return that went 70-something yards and then they scored the touchdown. We turned around and swung it back the other way. They never got anything going after that. That’s what you have to do if you want to win.”

Defensively, Airius Moore tallied nine tackles, eight of them solo, while sacking the opposing quarterback twice for an 11-yards. In addition, he tallied two of his tackles for an 11-yard loss and broke up two Vanderbilt plays. Because of his play, he received the Most Valuable Defensive Player Award.



Monday, December 26, 2016

Vanderbilt and North Carolina State to face off in 2016 Camping World Independence Bowl

Photo by Darla Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2016 TexSport Publications

SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA (December 26, 2016) On Monday, December 26, 2016, the Camping World Independence Bowl will kick off at 4 p.m. CDT at Independence Bowl Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana. The Vanderbilt Commodores (6-6, 3-5 SEC) will face the North CarolinaState Wolfpack (6-6, 3-5 ACC). These two teams will be playing each other for the second time is postseason history and the third time in each school’s program history. In 2012, the two teams faced off in the Music City Bowl, with the Commodores downing the Wolfpack by the score of 38-24. In their only other meeting, Vanderbilt defeated North Carolina State 7-0 on November 9, 1946.

Prior to the game on Monday, the bowl game parade and pep rally will be held at the Louisiana Boardwalk Outlets at 10 a.m. The Coca-Cola Fan Fest will begin at 12 noon on the State Fair Grounds surrounding the stadium. The 41st edition of the bowl, which begin in 1976, will kick off at 4 p.m., followed by a Monday Night Football Viewing party at Hirsch Coliseum adjacent to the stadium. In the inaugural game on December 13, 1976, McNeese State squared off against Tulsa, with the Cowboys defeating the Golden Hurricane 20-16. The Most Valuable Players of the game were McNeese’s Terry McFarland on the offensive side of the ball. Tulsa’s Terry Clark was selected as the MVP on defense

McNeese State went on to play twice more in the Independence Bowl. In 1979, they fell to Syracuse 31-7 and dropped a 16-14 decision to Southern Miss in 1980. Tulsa in 0-3 in bowl history, losing to Oregon 27-24 in 1989 and Virginia Tech 55-52 in 2015.

Vanderbilt will be making its eighth appearance in a post-season bowl game, with their most recent performance being in 2014, where they downed the Houston Cougars 41-24 in the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Alabama. The Commodores are 4-2-1 in post season play, dating back to the 1955 Gator Bowl, where they beat Auburn 15-13.

The Wolfpack are 15-13-1 in bowl game appearances. Their first post-season game occurred in the 1946 Gator Bowl where they lost to the Oklahoma Sooners 34-13 in Jacksonville, Florida. The most recent appearance was a 51-28 loss to Mississippi State in the 2015 Belk Bowl. The tie came in 1974 against the Houston Cougars; a 31-31 decision in the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl held at the Astrodome in Houston.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Houston Texans outlast Cincinnati to take AFC South title

Alfred Blue (28) scored Houston's go-ahead touchdown
to give the Texans the AFC South title.
Photo by Darla Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved.
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2016 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (December 24, 2016) With five seconds remaining in the game, Cincinnati Bengals' kicker RandyBullock lined up to boot a 43-yard field goal, which went wide right and thus gave the Houston Texans a 12-10 victory and the AFC South title. The win was the ninth of the season for Houston and set them up for a first round playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs.  


The first quarter was a give-and-take affair, with neither team able to game an offensive advantage. Houston quarterback Tom Savage was limited to six yards passing, while Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton was able to complete five passes for 25 yards. Savage was sacked three times in the first 10 minutes of the game, with the Texans achieving a mire 13 yards of total offense. The second quarter was not much better, with the Bengals finally getting on the scoreboard to close the first half. After Dalton drove the ball down the field on Cincinnati’s final possession of the half, Randy
Tom Savage (3) completed 18 passes
for 176 yards and one touchdown
against Cincinnati.
Photo by Darla Tamulitis,
La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved
Bullock connected for a 43-yard field goal to give the Bengals a 3-0 lead after 30 minutes of play. The Texans kicked of the second half by driving 68 yards in 11 plays resulting in a 25-yard field goal by Nick Novak to tie the score. They added another Novak field goal at the 13:31 mark in the fourth quarter after driving 71 yards in 12 plays. To make the score 6-3 in favor of the Texans. Cincinnati responded less than three minutes later when Dalton connected with wide receiver Brandon LaFell on a 91-yard pass for the game’s first touchdown. The pass was the long scoring pass of Dalton’s career. Bullock added the extra point to give the Bengals a 10-6 lead with 10:45 remaining in the game.

Savage finally got the drive going he had been working on all game. He started drive after the Bengals’ kickoff and in four play, scored the Texas’ first touchdown of the game. He connected with running back Alfred Blue on a 24-yard pass for six points. The extra point attempt by Novak was blocked by defensive end Margus Hunt, resulting in the Texans taking a 12-10 lead with 8:41 left in the game. With Bullock’s missing the field goal with five seconds in the clock, the Texans advanced to the playoff for the fourth time in team history.

Bullock, who was the first kicker ever drafted by the Texans in 2012, was questioned by the press after the game as to what went wrong with the kick.

“I felt like I hit it pretty well. Timing felt off a little bit, we were trying to hold it. Unfortunately, it affected the kick and that’s on me.”

In the second half, Houston head coach Bill O'Brien made adjustments in the play calling, having the Texans go with a no-huddle offense. The change seemed to work for Savage, completing 18-of-29 passes for 176 yards. Blue carried the ball 21 times for 73 yards with the Houston defense sacking Dalton three times. 

The Texans will close out the regular season on New Year’s Day matchup on the road against the Tennessee Titans with a 12-noon kickoff.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Houston Cougars fall to Harvard Crimson 57-56 in college basketball action

Rob Gray (32) scored 15 points and pulled
down six rebounds against Harvard.
Photo by Darla Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2016 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (December 23, 2016) Entering the second half with a slim 34-30 over the Harvard, the Houston Cougars dropped a 57-56 decision to the Crimson in front of 4,004 fans at Hofheinz Pavilion in Houston on Friday. December 23, 2016. The loss drops the Cougars to 9-3 on the season as they prepare to begin their American Athletic Conference schedule on December 28 against UConn in Hartford, Connecticut.

The Cougars shot 33% from the field, their third lowest for the season, with Rob Gray connecting for 15 points. No other Cougar was in double digits, with Danrad Knowles added nine and Galen Robinson, Jr. contributed eight. Damyean Dotson led all Cougars with seven rebounds, all on the defensive end of the court. Houston led for most of the game with the Crimson taking the
Wes VanBeck (12) scored six points and
tallied three rebounds in his first career start for Houston.
Photo by Darla Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved

lead 57-56 with 1:10 remaining in the game. The contest was at a standstill for 2:59 in the second half until Robinsonree throw to put Houston up 40-36. The score remained at 40-36 for that time until Bertrand Nkali hit a three-point to break the scoreless streak. Houston led by nine at the 10:18 mark in the second half and held the until Harvard scored a layup by Zena Edosomwan to take the lead with 1:10 remaining. Wes VanBeck, the hard-working guard for Houston got his first career start against Harvard, playing 26 minutes, scoring six points, and pulling down three defensive rebounds. Bryce Allen came off the bench for Harvard, scoring 21 points, which tied his season high that came against Stanford on November 12, 2016.


After beginning conference on the road on December 28, they travel to Florida to take on UCF on New Year‘s Eve. They return home on January 4, 2017 to face Tulsa with an 8 p.m. CST start. Harvard will host Howard University at home on December 30 to close out 2016.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Tom Savage leads Houston Texans to 21-20 win over Jacksonville Jaguars

Lamar Miller (26) carried the ball 22 times for
63 yards and one touchdown against the Jaguars.
Photo by Darla Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2016 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAs (December 18, 2016) The Houston Texans trailed the Jacksonville Jaguars 13-5 at the end of the first half; responding with 16 points in the second half to win the game by the score of 21-20 in front of 71,803 fans at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas on Sunday, December 18, 2016. The Texan defense held the Jaguars to seven points in the second half, with quarterback Tom Savage came off the bench in the second quarter to complete 23-of-36 passes for 260 yards. Running back Lamar Miller rushed for the Texans’ lone touchdown; a one-yard scamper late in the game. Houston tallied four field goals by Nick Novak and added a safety in the second quarter to close out their scoring.

Jacksonville scored 13 points in the second quarter on field goals of 26 and 50 yards by Jason Miller; along with a one-yard touchdown run by quarterback Blake Bortles and a Myers’ kicking conversion. The Texans responded with the safety and the first of Novak’s four field goals; a 39-yarder to conclude a six-play, 40-yard drive. They started off the third quarter with another Novak field goal, this time of 45 yards. The Jaguars answered with Marqise Lee returning the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for the score. The Texans added to their point total with the third and fourth of Novak’s field goals of 43 and 27 yards.

DeAndre Hopkins (10) caught eight passes for 87 yards
in the Texans win against Jacksonville.
Photo by Darla Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved.
Savage entered the game at the 8:31 mark in the second quarter, replacing starter Brock Osweiler, who only completed six-of-11 passes for 48 yards. Miller carried the ball 22 times for 63 yards and the single Houston touchdown. Nine Houston receivers caught passes with DeAndre Hopkins and Ryan Griffin leading the way with 87 and 85 yards, respectively, with eight receptions each. Houston held Jacksonville to 150 yards offensively and nine first downs. Houston tallied 387 yards of total offense.

With the win, Houston held on to their lead in the AFC South, tied with the Tennessee Titans. They will have a short week to prepare for the Christmas Eve matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, who dropped 24-20 decision to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. Game time against the Bengals is tentatively set for a 7:25 p.m. CST kickoff in Houston. Houston will close out the season on New Year’s Day against the Tennessee Titans on the road.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Houston Cougars top UT Rio Grande Valley 83-58

Houston head coach Kelvin Sanpson has the Cougars
out to an 8-2 record for the 2016-2017 season.
Photo by Darla Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography,
Copyright 2016 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2016 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (December 17, 2016) The Houston Cougars jumped out to a 39-26 lead in the first half and went on to down the UT Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros by the score of 83-58 in front of a small but vocal crowd at Hofheinz Pavilion in Houston, Texas on Saturday, December 17, 2016. The win pushed the Cougars to 8-2 for the season and gives them a 12-0 record against the Vaqueros. Starting forwards Danrad Knowles and Damyean Dotson, along with starting guard Rob Gary combined for 55 of the Cougars’ points. Dotson led all scorers with 25 points, followed by Gray with 16 and Knowles with 14. Armoni Brooks came off the bench to add 10, with Wes VanBeck contributing nine. The Cougars shot 51% from the field and 75% from the free throw line. Dotson tallied 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. For the Vaqueros, Antonio Green tallied 11 points.

Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson discussed the Cougars' performance in the post-game press conference

We came out and played really hard from the start. We were pleased with a lot of guys effort tonight. I’m disappointed with some things that we just have to keep working on. We must get our bigs to rebound, that’s the bottom line. We play these other teams that have really good offensive rebounding bigs. Our guards are going to do a good job rebounding. I’m really pleased with our guards rebounding. We emphasize that a lot obviously. Danrad Knowles is scoring the ball better. We’re going to him, we have a lot of confidence in Knowles. Knowles only had one rebound today, that’s not going to be good enough . With our team going on, we didn’t play well in a couple games early. We’re a lot better team today than we were then. We are going to be a lot better a month from now then we are today. Losing games is not an issue. I don’t ever worry about that. What I worry about is how do we get better. I’m excited that we have a team that can continue to get better.
Next up for the Cougars will be a Wednesday, December 21 matchup against Liberty College, followed two days later with their final non-conference game against Harvard. Both games are scheduled for a 7 p.m. CST start at Hofheinz Pavilion.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Second half surge leads Houston Cougars to 82-77 win over Rhode Island Rams

Photo by Robert Kelly, Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved.
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2016 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (December 10, 2016) The Houston Cougars poured it on in the second half, and went on to down the Rhode Island Rams by the score of 82-77 at Hofheinz Pavilion in Houston, Texas on Saturday, December 10, 2016. The win raises the Cougars to 7-2 on the season, while the formally ranked Rams dropped to 6-4. The duo of Rob Gray and Danrad Knowles combined for 55 of the Cougars’ 82 points in the win. Gray, a 6-2 junior from Forest City, North Carolina, scored a season high 30 points and was 14-of-16 from the free throw line. Knowles, who hails from Nassau, Bahamas, punched in 25 points and was 11-of-12 from the line. His 25 points were a career high for the 6-10 senior forward.

Houston took their first lead of the game at the 15:38 mark in the second half; connecting on one of his two three-pointers of the night to give the Cougars a 48-46 lead. From that point on, the game was a give-and-take affair building a 67-62 lead with 6:25 remaining in the game. The Rams battled back to tie the score at 68 at the 3:55 mark. After that, Houston put on the accelerator and jumped out to an eight-point lead with 24 seconds remaining.  The Cougars outscored the Rams 14-9 in the final minutes of the game to secure the win.

The win was the fifth in the series against Rhode Island, dating back to December 26, 1964. The Cougars won that matchup 74-68 at home, following it up with wins on February 12, 1989 (85-71) and December 27, 2015 (67-41). Their last two games against the Rams were on the road, with the Cougars winning 102-99 in overtime on November 13, 2006. Last season, they dropped a 67-57 decision at the Ryan Center in Kingston, Rhode Island.

Next up for the Cougars will be a 7 p.m. matchup against UT Rio Grande Valley on Saturday, December 17, 2016., with the home stand continuing against Liberty (December 21 at 7 p.m.) and Harvard (December 23 at 7 p.m.). They kick off their American Athletic Conference schedule on December 28 against Connecticut on December 28 in Hartford.

Friday, December 09, 2016

HBU Huskies take down Arlington Baptist 75-55

Photo by Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2016 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (December 9, 2016) The Houston Baptist University Huskies women’s basketball team notched their second win of the season with a 75-55 thumping of the Arlington Baptist Patriots at Sharp Gymnasium in Houston on Friday, December 9, 2016. The Huskies had five players scoring in double digits with Taylor Kollmorgan coming off the bench to tally 10 points and pull down 11 rebounds for her second career double-double.

Freshman Charlotte Hodges also contributed off the bench, chipping in 14 points to lead all HBU scores. Arlington Baptist starting forward Kayla Beattie led all scorers with 17 points. The Huskies also had three other players scoring in double digits; senior guard Heidi Byrd scored 12 points and was three-of-three from the free throw line. Sophomore guard AmandaJohnson added 11 points with freshman guard Lauren Carver adding 10. The Patriots had two players scoring in double digits with Zayda Gonzales and Jayzhia scoring 14 and 13 points respectively. Next up for the Huskies will be a December 21 match up against the University of Louisiana-Monroe with a 7 p.m. start at home.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Osweiler's three interceptions dooms the Houston Texans to a 21-13 loss to San Diego

Brock Osweiler (17) scored the Houston Texans' only touchdown
on a one-yard run in the second quarter.
Photo by Darla Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography,
Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved.
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2016 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (November 27, 2016) Quarterback Brock Osweiler threw three interceptions and the San Diego defense limited Houston to one touchdown and two field goals as Texans fell to the Chargers 21-13 in front of 71,897 fans at NRG Stadium in Houston on Sunday, November 27, 2016. The loss drops the Texans to 6-5 while the Chargers raised their record to 5-6.

After a uneventful first quarter, it took the Texans a little under 20 minutes to finally get on the scoreboard with the first touchdown of the game. Osweiler scored on a one-yard quarterback keeper to cap the 72-yard, 10 play drive that lasted 5:16. Nick Novak added the obligatory extra point to give Houston a 7-0 lead at the 11:11 mark in the second quarter. San Diego responded four and one-half minutes later with their own touchdown; a 52-yard pass from Philip Rivers to Dontrelle Inman. Their scoring drive covered 74 yards in 4:27 and took six plays. Josh Lambo evened the score at seven with the kicking extra point.

Dontrelle Inman (15) caught six passes for 119 yards
and one touchdown against the Texans.
Photo by Darla Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved
The Chargers took the lead with 1:54 remaining in the first half on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Rivers to Tyrell Williams. The San Diego drive began when Osweiler was picked off by Casey Howard at the 4:47 mark in the quarter. The pass was intended for DeAndre Hopkins gave the Chargers the ball on their own 37-yard line. They covered the 63 yards for the score in five plays and 2:53. Osweiler has thrown eight interception at home this season; all of them intended for DeAndre Hopkins. Houston cut the Chargers’ lead to four points with 55 seconds gone in the fourth quarter. Novak booted a 19-yard field goal to cap a 36-yard, nine play drive. San Diego responded with a 12-yard pass from Rivers to Hunter Henry to take the score to 21-10 in favor of the Chargers. Houston added a 45-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter to close out the scoring.

Osweiler completed 22-of-37 passes for 246 yards, while Lamar Miller led the ground game with 57 yards in 19 carries. Hopkins caught five passes for 70 yards. For the Chargers, Rivers was 22-of-30 for 242 yards and three touchdowns. Inman caught the ball six times for 119 yards and one touchdown, while Melvin Gordon carried the ball 17 times for 70 yards and one touchdown.

Houston falls to 2-5 overall against the Chargers and 1-3 against them at home. The loss to San Diego was the Texans first home loss of the season and drops head coach Bill O’Brien career regular season record to 25-19. Next up for the Texans are two road games; a December 4 matchup against the Green Bay Packers and a December 11 game against the Indianapolis Colts. They will return to NRG Stadium on December 18 for a 12 noon CST matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars, followed by a Christmas Eve game against the Cincinnati Bengals. They will close of the 2016 regular season on the road against the Tennessee Titans on New Year’s Day.







Friday, November 25, 2016

Houston Cougars fall to Memphis Tigers 48-44 in hard-fought contest

Houston WR Linner Bonner (15) tries to pull away
from Memphis DB Jonathan Cook (14) after catching
one of his 17 passes against Memphis.
Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2016 TexSport Publications

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE (November 25, 2016) Bringing a number 18 national ranking and the winningest senior class in program history into Libertly Bowl Memorial Stadium was not enough for the Houston Cougars, as they dropped a 48-44 decision to the underdog Memphis Tigers on Friday, November 25, 2016. The Cougars finish the regular season with a 9-3 record; along with a 5-3 record in American Athletic Conference action. The Cougars will now wait for two crucial bits of information in the days to follow. First, what post-season bowl game they will be invited to play and second, whether head coach Tom Herman will be back at the helm of the Cougars for that anticipated bowl and the 2017 season.

Rumors circulated in the preceding days and hours leading up to Friday's matchup against these two conference rivals. Unconfirmed reports surfaced on the internet and social media that Herman and LSU had come to terms on a contract for the second-year head coach to lead the Tigers in 2017. Herman vigorously denounced the rumors, yet the spectre of his departure was a possibly a factor in the Cougars' loss. The Cougars' play of the field seemed uninspired in the first half and was a drastic departure from their play when they upset No. 3 Louisville on November 17. 


RB Duke Catalon (2) rushed for 60 yards and
one touchdown in addition to catching seven
passes for 41 yards against Memphis.

Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved
The game started with a bang for the Tigers; when they scored 42 seconds into the game on a 67-yard pass from Riley Ferguson to Phil Mayhue. Houston answered three minutes later with a 41-yard Ty Cummings field goal. Memphis added two more TDs in the first quarter; a one-yard run by Doroland Dorceus and a two-yard pass from Ferguson to Mayhue. In between the two Memphis touchdown, Houston added a touchdown on a 10-yard run by Duke Catalon to close out the first 15 minutes of play with Memphis leading 21-10. The Cougars cut the Memphis lead to four points, six seconds into the second quarter with a Greg Ward, Jr. 29-yard pass to Tyler McCloskey. The Tigers responded with 13 unanswered points to give Memphis a 34-17 lead at halftime. Houston cut their deficit to seven in the third quarter with a Chance Allen 35-yard touchdown pass reception and a 25-yard Ty Cummings field goal. After a long drive that carried over from the third to fourth quarter, Houston added a 25-yard field goal by Cummings to cut the Tigers' lead to 34-30 with 13:07 remaining in the game. They finally took their first lead of the game at the 7:02 mark in the fourth quarter when Ward, Jr. hit Linell Donner with a 55-yard bomb for the score. Cummings added the extra point to give Houston a 37-34 lead. Then both teams went on a offensive frenzy; putting 21 points on the scoreboard in three minutes, 30 seconds.

Memphis responded to the Donner touchdown with their own touchdown to regain the lead a tad over three minutes later. Ferguson connected with Anthony Miller on a 35-yard pass play to regain a four-point lead (41-37). Houston received the the kickoff with 3:49 left in the game; driving 75 yards in seven plays; concluding with a three-yard touchdown pass from Ward, Jr. to Allen to regain the lead with the score of 44-41. The Tigers received the final kickoff of the game on their own 28 yard line with 1:29 remaining. Ferguson then went to work and moved the ball 72 yards in 1:05; scoring the game winning touchdown with 19 seconds left in the match. After that, all Houston could was run three play before time ran out.


Houston fans were very spirited at
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved
Offensively, Houston tallied 624 yards of total offense, with Ward, Jr. accounting for 487 yards of those yards in the air. With four passing touchdowns, he has 52 career passing touchdowns which stands fifth in program history. Ward also recorded his seventh multi-TD passing game of 2016 and 16th of his career. 

Linell Bonner recorded his third touchdown reception this season and eighth of his career, on a 55-yard pass from Ward Jr. with 7:02 left to play giving Houston its first lead, 37-34. With 235 yards, Bonner finished his sixth game with at least 80-plus yards and became the 20th player in program history with a 200-yard receiving game. The mark also put him over the 1,000 yard threshold for the season, becoming the 19th player in Houston history to reach that mark.