Houston Game: Facts and Factors

UCLA heads to Houston to take on the Cougars Saturday, and luckily the heat and humidity is trailing off a bit. But if there's ever a revenge factor in a college football game this might be it...

-- UCLA travels to Houston to take on the Cougars Saturday at 12:30 PT in the season opener. The game will be televised nationally by FSN with Craig Bolerjack and Joel Klatt in the booth, and Petros Papadakis on the sideline.

-- Being the season opener for both teams, both have bad tastes in their mouths from last season, with UCLA coming off a dismal 4-8, while Houston went 5-7 in 2010.

-- UCLA leads the overall series, 3-2. The last time UCLA played in Houston was in 1998, when the Bruins were ranked #4 in the nation and beat the Cougars, 42-24. Houston started the series with two wins, the first one in Houston in 1977 (17-13), and in 1979 in Los Angeles (24-16).

-- Last year UCLA beat Houston in the Rose Bowl, in a fairly easy victory, 31-13. UCLA was 0-2 at the time. Houston was ranked #23 in the nation at the time.

-- The Bruins are 3-2 in their last five road openers, including a loss last year to Kansas State.

-- In last season's match-up, Houston lost two quarterbacks to season-ending injuries – Case Keenum with an ACL, and Cotton Turner to a broken collarbone.

-- Keenum was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, returning to a team that has won 24 games with him in two-plus years as a starter.

-- Keenum has the chance to set a few NCAA records: All-Time Total Offense (currently 7th with 14,448), All-Time Passing Yardage (currently 5th with 13,586), and All-Time Touchdown Passes (currently 8th with 107).

-- Kevin Sumlin is in his 4th season as Houston's Head Coach, posting a 23-16 record with the Cougars. Before not making a bowl appearance last season, Sumlin was the only head coach in Houston history to lead the team to two bowl appearances in his first two seasons. Under Sumlin, the former offensive coordinator with Purdue and Oklahoma (under Bob Stoops), Houston, is now known as an offensive juggernaut. In 2009, the Cougars were only the third team in NCAA history to have a 5,000-yard passer and three 1,000-yard receivers (Texas Tech did it in 2007 and Tulsa in 2007).

-- Rick Neuheisel enters his fourth year at his alma mater, UCLA, with a record of 15-22. So much has been written about him being on the hotseat. In the off-season he went out and hired two new coordinators, Mike Johnson on offense and Joe Tresey for the defense.

-- The sentiment in Houston is that Sumlin had the program on the right track in his first two season, then got bumped off-course in 2010, due a great deal to a unfortunate UCLA game. If revenge ever figures into a college football team's motivation, this would be a potential example of it.

-- Robertson Stadium seats 32,000.

-- The weather forecast is for the low- to mid-90s, which is a relief compared to the triple-digit temperatures Houston has been experiencing. Also good news is that the forecast is for only 40% humidity at game time, with a 35% chance of thunderstorms.


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