Thursday, October 31, 2013

Houston Cougars down USF Bulls, 35-23

Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 22013 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (October 31, 2013) The Houston Cougars raised their season record to 7-1 Thursday evening at Houston’s Reliant Stadium with a 35-23 win over the University of South Florida.
The win also gave the Cougars a 4-0 record in conference play and kept them atop the standings in the American Athletic Conference.

The Houston Cougars drew first blood at the 12:49 mark in the first quarter on a three play, 64 yard drive that concluded with a six-yard touchdown pass from John O’Korn to Xavier Maxwell.

They drive lasted 1:11 and give the Cougars a 7-0 lead after Kyle Bullard split the uprights for the extra point.

USF drove down the field into the red some on their third possession for the game, but were unable to capitalize the 41-yard punt return by Chris Dunkley that set up the scoring drive.

The Bulls had to settle for three points with Marvin Kloss sending the ball between the goal posts from 39 yards out.

The Cougars closed out the quarter with 59 seconds remaining when O’Korn tossed a shovel pass to Kenneth Farrow from three-yards out to take the score to 13-3 in favor of the Cougars.

Bullard made his second conversion of the night to give Houston an 11 point lead.

South Florida begin the second quarter with a 77-yard, nine play drive that concluded with a eight-yard pass to Mike McFarland to cut the Cougars’ lead to four points.

Houston got back their 11 points lead 90 second later when Ryan Jackson busted a six yard touchdown run to take a 21-10 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Cougars added to their lead at the nine minute mark in the third quarter when O’Korn found Deontay Greenberry open downfield and cut lose with a 48-yard pass that resulted in Houston’s fourth touchdown of the evening.

During the third quarter, the Bulls could only manage two field goals of 49 and 50 yard to add to their previous total of ten points.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Cougars held a 28-16 lead when the Bulls mounted a comeback of 75 yards in 13 plays which concluded in 1 two-yard pass from Mike White to Mike McFarland.

Kloss again split the uprights to make the score 28-23 in favor of the Cougars.

O’Korn promptly began the Cougar’s drive and after five plays; Richie Leone punted the ball 43 yards to the UCF 10 yard line.

After six plays, the Cougar defense forced the Bulls to punt; kicking the ball 41 yards to Damian Payne.

Payne promptly sprinted to the right and was grabbed by Fidel Montgomery; forcing the fumble and giving the Bulls the ball on the Cougar 25-yard line.

UCF got to work, trying to get the ball into the end zone, but after an offensive pass interference call and a forced fumble, gave the ball right back to Houston.

With less than four minutes left in the game, O’Korn slowly and methodically began to use the field and the clock to Houston’s advantage.
Houston called time out with 1:56 remaining with the ball on the UCF 21-yard line and a first and ten.

O’Korn kept the ball on the ground and after carries by himself and Farrow; scored their fifth touchdown of the game.

UCF got the ball for the final 1:40 but were unable to add any points.

The Cougars will face two tough road tests in the next two weeks as they face #19 Central Florida on Nov. 9 and #20 Louisville on Nov. 16.

They will return to Houston on Nov. 23, when they will face Cincinnati on Nov. 23 at Rice Stadium.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Houston Cougars down Memphis Tigers; go to 5-0 in 2013

Kenneth Farrow (35) carried the ball 15 times for 
33 yards and two touchdowns for the Cougars.
Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2013 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (October 12, 2013) In what can only be described as a late offensive assault, the Houston Cougars downed the Memphis Tigers by the score of 25-15 under the threat of rain at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas on Saturday, October 12, 2013.

Showing little of the offensive punch in the first half that has been the mainstay of their previous four games, the Cougars managed only 84 yards of total offense in the first half and took a slim 10-9 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Their first score came at 10:13 in the first quarter when true-freshman quarterback John O’Korn connected with junior receiver Daniel Spencer on a 17-yard pass for a touchdown.

Richie Leone connected for his 19th conversion kick of the season to give the Cougars a 7-0 lead.

Memphis countered with field goals of 33 and 50 yards to cut Houston’s lead to one at the 11:35 mark in the second quarter.

Houston came back with their own field goal three minutes later when Leone split the uprights from 24 yards out.

Memphis cut the Cougars’ lead to one with their own field goal with less than a minute left the half.

Tiger kicker Jake Elliot booted two more field goals in the third quarter to give Memphis a 15-10 lead with 4:34 left in the quarter to take his field goal total to five for the game.

Then the Cougars kicked in their offense when Kenneth Farrow scampered on a one-yard touchdown run with 1:59 remaining in the third quarter.

Houston opted to go for the two-point conversion and Memphis put the pressure on O’Korn.

John O'Korn (5) gets some advice from former
Houston quarterback David Piland
Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved.
Forced to scramble to avoid the onslaught of Memphis rushers, the spry young quarterback scooted and ducked to the left side and flipped a shovel pass to Farrow, who in turn, rushed into the end zone for the two points.

The Cougars added an insurance touchdown when Farrow again rushed six yard for his second TD and third score of the game with 10:21 remaining in the game.

Offensively, Houston tallied 247 total yards on 61 plays while controlling the ball for only 24 minutes.

On the other hand, Memphis accounted for 349 yards on 81 plays in 35 minutes of play.

Farrow carried the ball 15 times for 33 yards while Deontay Greenberry caught four passes for 76 yards.

O’Korn completed 13-of-30 passes for 198 yards and one touchdown.

Linebacker Efrem Oliphant had eight solo tackles and five assisted tackles to lead the game.

With the win, Houston raises its season record to 5-0 and 2-0 in conference to remain atop of the standings in the American Athletic Conference along with Louisville, who is also 2-0.

The Cardinals, who are ranked number eight in both the AP and Coach’s poll, raised their season record to 6-0 and 2-0 in conference after a 24-10 win over Rutgers on Thursday, Oct. 10.

Houston will next face Brigham Young University on Saturday, Oct. 19 at Reliant Stadium with a 2:30 p.m. CT start.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Montreal Impact falls to Houston Dynamo; 1-0

Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2013 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (October 5, 2013) The Houston Dynamo moved into third place in the Eastern Conference of Major League Soccer as they downed the Montreal Impact by the score of 1-0 on Friday, October 4, 2013 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.

The only score of the game came in the sixth minute when Ricardo Clark (number 13, shown above) kicked a chip shot into the goal off a shoulder pass by Giles Barnes.

From that point on, the Impact were playing catch-up ball and never recovered.

The game was in stark contrast to their previous meeting on August 24 when Montreal shocked the Dynamo 5-0 in a game at Stade Saputo in Montreal.

Houston had 16 goal attempts and five shots on goals, while Montreal countered with 10 and five, respectively.

The Dynamo managed 12 corner kicks as opposed to the Impact’s five.

Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Warren Creavalle (number 5, shown to the left) was issued a yellow card for Houston while a trio of Montreal players was cited for infractions.

The playoff picture looks good for Houston as they head into their final three regular season games.

They face-off against Sporting Kansas City on Oct. 9 and the New York Red Bulls on Oct. 209 at home before hitting the road for their final game of the regular season against D.C United on Oct. 27.

In addition to the games listed above, the Dynamo will also play a Champions League match against Arabe Unido on Oct. 24 at Estadio Armando Dely Valdes in Colon, Panama.

They will close out 2013 with the Brian Ching Testimonial Match on Dec. 13 at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Track damage facilitates schedule changes at Grand Prix of Houston

Marco Andretti finishes his practice round in Houston.
Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved.

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2013 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (October 4, 2013) Officials at the Grand Prix of Houston announced at 12:30 P.M. press conference on Friday, October 4, 2013 that damage to the track will facilitate a change in the posted schedule for practicing and qualifying at Reliant Stadium in Houston.

All qualifying scheduled for Friday has been cancelled, with two qualifying re-scheduled for Saturday, October 5 and Sunday morning, October 6.

A raised area on the track was discovered early Friday morning and the decision was made t install a temporary chicane of tires to enable teams and drivers to practice.

Repairs are scheduled to be done to the track on Friday evening after practice has been concluded.

Teams and drivers will now have to qualify on Saturday and Sunday morning for the respective races on both days.

On Friday, October 4, the IndyCar practice will be from 1:00 to 1:45 p.m. and 4:30 to 5:15 p.m.

The first session of IndyCar qualifying will be on Saturday from 10:45 to 11:15 a.m. with the race beginning at 2:33 p.m.

On Sunday, the second session of qualifying will begin at 8:45 a.m. and last for 30 minutes with the green flag dropping at 12: 40 p.m.

Twenty-four cares are entered in the IZOD IndyCar Series in Houston and will race on the 1.683-mile, 10-turn circuit on the grounds of Reliant Stadium.