Oklahoma (1-0) at Houston (0-1)
6 p.m. CST. Owen Field (82,112) Norman, Okla.
Television and Radio
Saturday's opener will be televised nationally by TBS. Ron Thulin and Charles Davis will call the game while Craig Sager will work the sidelines. To listen the OU radio broadcast live on the internet, click the link below and then click the 'audio' link next on the right hand column of the Bowling Green game.
Saturday's matchup is just the second meeting ever between the two schools. The Sooners won the first matchup, 40-14, in the 1981 Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, as Fred Sims rushed for 181 yards on 15 carries. Quarterback Darrell Shepard, who was named the Sun Bowl MVP, rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns.
The Sooners remained No. 2 in both the USA Today Coaches and Associated Press Polls. Houston is unranked.
Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops, who is in his sixth season in Norman, is 56-11 overall. Houston. Houston Head Coach Art Briles, a former Houston receiver, spent most of his coaching career at Stephenville High School in Texas before spending three seasons as the Running Backs coach at Texas Tech (2000-02). Briles took over in Houston last season and is 7-7 in his second year.
The Cougars entered the 2004 season with high hopes after last year's surprising 7-6 season that ended with a 54-48 loss to Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl. But those hopes were quickly brought back to reality with an opening week, 10-7, loss to a Rice team they beat 48-14 last season.
Offensively, the Cougars return seven starters on offense from last year's team, including sophomore quarterback Kevin Kolb. Kolb, who got off to a slow start against Rice completing only 15 of his 33 pass attempts for 204 yards with one TD and one interception, was the nation's best freshman passer last season with 3,335 yards and 26 touchdown passes. Kolb also has a variety of receivers to throw to as the Cougars return three of their top four wideouts from a year ago in Vincent Marshall, Chad McCullar and Leonard Gibson. Marshall led the Cougars last season in catches with 60 for 812 yards, while McCullar was third on the team in catches (35) and yards (403). Gibson caught 25 passes for 307 yards. But don't tell Briles his Cougars are a passing team. In addition to their success through the air last season, Houston ran the ball 65 percent of the time and return a talented running back in Anthony Evans. Evans hit the century mark five times last season en route to finishing with 1,149 yards on 236 carries. However, the weakness on the Houston offense is on the line, where they return just two starters from last season. And that weakness was a major factor in their loss to Rice, as the Owls sacked Kolb nine times and held Evans to just 19 yars on seven carries.
Defensively, Houston returns nine starters from a defense that gave up 36 points per game a year ago. However, the Cougars 4-3 defense showed drastic improvement in their opener holding the Owls to just to 10 points and only 186 yards of total offense. Houston returns starting defensive linemen Joe Clay, Marquay Love, Kade Lane and Eddie McCary, starting linebackers Lance Everson and Bryant Brown, cornerbacks Stanford Routt and Willie Gatson, and safety Will Gulley. Clay, who is on the Lombardi Award watch list, led the Cougars last week with 11 tackles, four tackles for losses and one sack last week against Rice. Everson led Houston in tackles (126) and tackles for losses (18) last season. Gulley was second on the team in tackles, with 104, and tied for the lead in interceptions (4) with Routt.
On Special teams, senior Dustin Bell returns to handle the kicking duties. Bell was 14-for-19 on his field goals last season with a long of 49, but he missed twice against Rice in the season opener. Jared Scruggs averaged 41.5 yards per punt in his first action against Rice.
Oklahoma comes into Saturday's matchup riding a 14-game home winning streak and a 31-1 at Owen Field under Bob Stoops. The Sooners have won eight straight games and are 18-1 in their last 19 games against Texas opponents. They are also 17-0 in the month of September during Stoops' tenure. With his 100-yard performance last week against Bowling Green, Adrian Peterson became just the second freshman to reach the century mark in his debut. Quarterback Kerry Jackson was the first to accomplish the feat with 109 yards against Utah State in 1972. Peterson is the fourth freshman to play under Stoops. Senior receiver Mark Clayton could break or tie the all-time record in receptions at Oklahoma this weekend. Clayton, who currently has 162 catches during his career, will pass Trent Smith with three receptions and needs just seven to tie Quentin Griffin for the all-time mark at 169. This weekend's game will also be a chance for five Sooners to play against their hometown team. Safety Brodney Pool, defensive end Jonathan Jackson, defensive end Calvin Thibodeaux, tight end Bubba Moses and defensive end John Williams are all from Houston.
Oklahoma-Houston Pregame Notes
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