2011 Houston Cougars football
TicketCity Bowl Champions
C-USA West Division Champions
ConferenceConference USA
DivisionWest Division
CoachesNo. 14
APNo. 18
2011 record13–1 (8–0 C-USA)
Head coachKevin Sumlin (regular season)
Tony Levine (bowl)
Offensive coordinatorJason Phillips
Kliff Kingsbury
Offensive schemeAir Raid
Defensive coordinatorBrian Stewart
Base defense3–4
Home stadiumRobertson Stadium (32,000)
← 2010
2012 →
2011 Conference USA football standings
v · d · e Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
#20 Southern Miss x   6 2         12 2  
Marshall   5 3         7 6  
East Carolina   4 4         5 7  
UAB   3 5         3 9  
UCF   3 5         5 7  
Memphis   1 7         2 10  
#18 Houston x   8 0         13 1  
Tulsa   7 1         8 5  
SMU   5 3         8 5  
Rice   3 5         4 8  
UTEP   2 6         5 7  
Tulane   1 7         2 10  
Championship: Southern Miss 49, Houston 28
† – Conference champion
x – Division champion/co-champions
As of January 10, 2012 • Rankings from AP Poll

The 2011 Houston Cougars football team (also known as the Houston Cougars, Houston, or UH) represented the University of Houston in the 2011 NCAA Division I FBS football season. It was the 66th year of season play for Houston. The program was a member of Conference USA in its West Division.

The team was coached by fourth-year head football coach Kevin Sumlin, and played its home games at Robertson Stadium—a 32,000-seat stadium on campus in Houston. After missing a majority of the 2010 season due to injury, starting quarterback Case Keenum had returned for 2011.[1]

The Cougars finished the regular season 12–0, setting a new school record for wins. It was also the first undefeated and untied regular season in the program's 66-year history; however, the team lost to Southern Miss 49–28 in the 2011 Conference USA Football Championship Game. Had the team won the championship game, Houston would have garnered its (and C-USA's) first-ever Bowl Championship Series berth, as well as its first major-bowl appearance since the 1985 Cotton Bowl. Instead, Houston played in the TicketCity Bowl against Penn State—at the site of the Cotton Bowl—beating Penn State 30–14.


Top 25 rankingsEdit

During the pre-season, Houston was ranked in several notable top 25 polls. Phil Steele ranked the team as No. 21.[2] Just outside the Top 25, Houston was ranked as No. 30 in's power rankings, No. 31 by Sporting News, No. 36 in the AP Poll, and No. 37 in the Coaches' Poll.[3][4][5][6]

Awards & award watch listsEdit

Bryce Beall[7]

Case Keenum[7]

Chris Thompson[7]

Marcus McGraw[7]

  • Lombardi Award watch list
  • Conference USA Preseason defensive first team selection[8]

Patrick Edwards[7]

  • Fred Biletnikoff Award watch list
  • Conference USA Preseason offensive first team selection[8]
  • Conference USA Preseason special teams first team selection[8]
  • Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year



Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance
September 3* 2:30 P.M. UCLA Robertson StadiumHouston, TX FSN W 38–34   31,144
September 10* 6:00 P.M. at North Texas Apogee StadiumDenton, TX ESPN3 W 48–23   28,075
September 17* 6:00 P.M. at Louisiana Tech Joe Aillet StadiumRuston, LA ESPN3 W 35–34   24,628[11]
September 24* 7:00 P.M. Georgia State Robertson Stadium • Houston, TX CSS W 56–0   32,005
September 29 7:00 P.M. at UTEP Sun Bowl StadiumEl Paso, TX CBS SN W 49–42   24,111
October 8 6:00 P.M. East Carolina Robertson Stadium • Houston, TX CBS SN W 56–3   30,126
October 22† 3:30 P.M. Marshall #20 Robertson Stadium • Houston, TX CSS W 63–28   32,107
October 27 7:00 P.M. Rice #18 Robertson Stadium • Houston, TX (Bayou Bucket Classic) FSN W 73–34   32,112
November 5 6:00 P.M. at UAB #14 Legion FieldBirmingham, AL CBS SN W 56–13   13,909
November 10 7:00 P.M. at Tulane #11 Mercedes-Benz SuperdomeNew Orleans, LA CBS SN W 73–17   17,657[12]
November 19 2:30 P.M. SMU #10 Robertson Stadium • Houston, TX FSN W 37–7   32,207
November 25 11:00 A.M. at Tulsa #7 Chapman StadiumTulsa, OK FSN W 48–16   29,015
December 3 11:00 A.M. vs. #23 Southern Miss #6 Robertson Stadium • Houston, TX (C-USA Championship) ABC L 28–49   32,413
January 2 11:00 A.M. vs. #23 Penn State #17 Cotton BowlDallas, TX (TicketCity Bowl) ESPNU W 30–14   46,817
*Non-Conference Game. Homecoming. #Rankings from Coaches' Poll released prior to game.

Game notesEdit


File:2011 Houston Cougars offense vs UCLA Bruins defense.jpg
1 2 3 4 Total
UCLA 0 14 14 6 34
Houston 10 21 0 7 38

UCLA of the Pacific-12 Conference traveled to Robertson Stadium in Houston's season opener. The Bruins led the overall series with Houston 3–2, which started on September 17, 1977 in the Astrodome. In 2010, the Bruins had defeated the Cougars 31–13 in the Rose Bowl.

The game's first quarter consisted of a 10–0 lead of Houston over UCLA. Senior running back Michael Hayes was credited with the first touchdown of the game. Redshirt junior Matt Hogan was responsible for the PAT as well as a 35-yard field goal later in the quarter. Although the Bruins' Johnathan Franklin and Joseph Fauria with quarterback Richard Brehaut managed to score two touchdowns, Houston still outscored UCLA in the second quarter. Michael Hayes scored another touchdown for Houston, and fellow senior running back Bryce Beall. Senior wide receiver Tyron Carrier scored the third Cougar touchdown when he received a 23-yard pass from senior quarterback Case Keenum before the half. Houston went to the locker room with a 31–14 lead.

In the second half, UCLA struck back to make the game close, as UCLA scored an unanswered 14 points in the third quarter with two touchdowns by Derrick Coleman and Brehaut respectively. However, the both teams' offenses struggled in the fourth quarter. Houston's senior offensive lineman Chris Thompson recovered a fumble from teammate Bryce Beall in the UCLA end zone to receive credit for a touchdown. Following the score, UCLA's Brehaut completed an 11-yard pass to Anthony Barr in another UCLA touchdown. Freshman kicker Kip Smith's kick was blocked by Houston, thus halting the PAT. Houston won the game with a 38–34 score.

North TexasEdit

1 2 3 4 Total
Houston 17 3 21 7 48
North Texas 7 10 0 6 23

Houston traveled to Denton, Texas to face North Texas of the Sun Belt Conference for the thirteenth time in program history. A former conference-mate of Houston in the Lone Star Conference, Gulf Coast Conference, and Missouri Valley Conference, the Mean Green led the all-time series against the Cougars 7–5. However, Houston had won their last three games against North Texas. The game marked the opening of a new home for the Mean Green at Apogee Stadium. Its attendance was 28,075, and was the third-largest in North Texas' history.[13]

Louisiana TechEdit

1 2 3 4 Total
Houston 0 7 7 21 35
Louisiana Tech 7 13 14 0 34

In Houston's second away game of the season, the team traveled to Joe Aillet Stadium in Ruston, Louisiana to compete against Louisiana Tech of the Western Athletic Conference for the sixth time in history. The two programs had first met in 1948, and Houston led the all-time series 3–2. Louisiana Tech's record was 1–1, and was coached by second-year Sonny Dykes. With a lopsided 14–34 score heading into the fourth quarter, Houston managed to achieve their biggest comeback in school history by shutting out the Bulldog offense, and scoring 21 points to win the game.

Louisiana Tech took a 7–0 lead after Lennon Creer scored a 1-yard rushing touchdown with 11:12 left in the first quarter.[14] Tech extended their lead over Houston to 10–0 after Matt Nelson kicked a 30-yard field goal with 10:10 left in the second quarter.[14] Houston scored its first points of the night with 7:21 left in the second quarter when Case Keenum connected with Michael Hayes for a 54-yard touchdown to cut Louisiana Tech's lead to 10–7.[14] Louisiana Tech answered with a 2-yard touchdown run by Ray Holley and a 47-yard field goal by Nelson to take the 20–7 lead at halftime.[14]

Both teams traded punts to open the third quarter. With 6:47 left in the third quarter, Louisiana Tech QB Nick Isham completed a 16-yard touchdown pass to Quinton Patton to increase Tech's lead to 27–7.[14] After Quinn Giles intercepted a pass by Case Keenum, Ray Holley scored his second rushing touchdown in the game on a 7-yard TD run to bring the Louisiana Tech lead to 34–7 with 5:11 left in the third quarter. Houston began their comeback when Keenum completed a 50-yard touchdown pass with 4:27 left in the third quarter to make the score Louisiana Tech 34, Houston 14.[14] Bryce Beall ran for a 2-yard touchdown to cut the Tech lead to 34–21 with 12:53 left in the fourth quarter.[14] After Houston recovered a fumble by Tech's Ray Holley, Houston completed an 80-yard drive down the field with a 4-yard touchdown run by Beall to make the score 34–28 Louisiana Tech with 7:25 remaining in the game.[14] Houston took its first lead of the night after Keenum threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to make the score Houston 35–34 with 1:36 remaining in the game.[14] Houston went on to win the game after Tech turned the ball over on downs in the last minute of the game.[14]

Louisiana Tech generated 444 yards on offense on 98 plays.[14] Lennon Creer and Ray Holley combined for 47 carries, 161 yards, and three touchdowns on the ground, as Louisiana Tech ran 66 rushing plays in the game which is tied for the 2nd-most carries by a Bulldog team in the history of the program.[14][15] Quinton Patton caught five passes for 82 yards and one touchdown for the evening and was later named to the Fred Biletnikoff Award Watch List after the game as a result of his play through the first three games of the 2011 college football season.[14] The crowd of 24,628 at Joe Aillet Stadium for the Louisiana Tech vs. Houston marked the sixth-largest crowd for a Louisiana Tech football game at Joe Aillet Stadium.[15]

Georgia StateEdit

File:2011 Georgia State at Houston.JPG
1 2 3 4 Total
Georgia State 0 0 0 0 0
Houston 21 14 14 7 56

Houston returned home for their game against Georgia State. An NCAA Division I FCS independent, Georgia State was coached by Bill Curry, and had a 1–2 record at this point in the season. This was the first meeting between the two teams, and it marked the end of Houston's out-of-conference schedule. With a score of 56–0, this was Houston's first shutout victory since the 1999 season, when they defeated Louisiana–Lafayette 45–0.[16][17] Senior quarterback Case Keenum threw for 415 yards, and two touchdowns before being replaced by Cotton Turner in the third quarter of the game.

A sell-out game with 32,005 in attendance, the matchup was regionally televised on Comcast Sports Southwest.


1 2 3 4 Total
Marshall 7 7 7 7 28
#21 Houston 14 21 14 14 63

Case Keenum became the Football Bowl Subdivision's career leader in total offense, throwing for 376 yards and tying his career high with six touchdown passes as Houston beat Marshall 63–28. The senior quarterback needed 130 yards to eclipse the record (16,910 yards) set by Hawaii's Timmy Chang from 2000–04. He moved past Chang on a 30-yard pass to Justin Johnson with 3:56 left in the first quarter. A.J. Graham threw two touchdown passes and ran for a score for Marshall, which lost handily despite gaining 506 yards and winning possession time by 24 minutes.

External link:


1 2 3 4 Total
SMU 0 0 0 7 7
#11/10 Houston 3 10 10 14 37

This game marked the 26th meeting of the SMU Mustangs and the Houston Cougars. They last met in the previous season on October 23, 2010, where Houston defeated SMU with a final score of 45–20. Following Houston's 37–7 victory, Houston now leads the series 17–9–1.

The game was previewed on ESPN's College GameDay, where it was broadcasted live from the University of Houston campus outside of the Cullen Performance Hall. It was the first time that Houston had hosted an episode of the show, and the first time that it had visited a Conference USA school. Cougar alumnus Carl Lewis appeared as a guest on the show. The game itself was nationally broadcasted on Fox Sports Net.


1 2 3 4 Total
#8/7 Houston 6 7 14 21 48
Tulsa 10 0 6 0 16

The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane had an opportunity to accomplish one of the goals set long before the season started: Win the C-USA Western Division Title and play the C-USA Championship game. The task was not easy. Undefeated #8 Houston Cougars (11–0, 7–0 in C-USA) were coming to Tulsa to face off against Tulsa Golden Hurricane (8–3, 7–0 in C-USA). The winner was guaranteed to host the C-USA Championship game against the C-USA Eastern Division Title. The Golden Hurricane kept the game close for the first half, but 457 yards and 5 Touchdowns by Case Keenum proved to be too much for the Golden Hurricane to keep up with.

Poll rankingsEdit

File:Houston City Hall Lit Cougar Red (front, close) 2.jpg
Ranking movements
Legend: ██ Increase in ranking. ██ Decrease in ranking.
NR = Not ranked. RV = Received votes. ( ) = First place votes.


AP RV RV RV RV RV RV 25 21 18 14 11 11 8 7 20 18

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Coaches' RV RV RV RV RV RV 22 20 18 14 11 10 7 6 17 14

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Harris Not released 24 22 18 14 11 10 7 6 17

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BCS Not released 19 17 13 11 11 8 6 19

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  1. "Case Keenum granted sixth year". ESPN. 2011-01-14. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
  2. Steele, Phil (2011-05-17). "Top 30 Countdown Begins!". Phil Steele's College Football Blog. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  3. "College Football Power Rankings – Preseason". ESPN. 2011-08-15. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  4. Hayes, Matt (2011-08-29). "College football preseason top 120: A closer look after a busy offseason". Sporting News. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  5. "2011 NCAA Football Rankings – AP Top 25 Preseason". ESPN. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  6. "2011 NCAA Football Rankings – USA Today Coaches' Poll Preseason". ESPN. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 "Quarterback Case Keenum Named to Walter Camp Award Watch List". Houston Cougars athletics. 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2011-07-22.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 "Houston Earns League-Leading Six Preseason All-Conference USA Selections". Houston Cougars athletics. 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
  9. Houston Cougars Schedule – 2011, ESPN, retrieved 1 August 2011
  10. NCAA Football TV Listings,, retrieved 1 August 2011
  11. "Houston Cougars vs. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs – Box Score – September 17, 2011". ESPN. 2011-09-17. Retrieved 2011-09-17.
  12. "Houston Cougars vs. Tulane Green Wave Box Score". November 10, 2011.
  13. Khan Jr., Sam (2011-09-11). "UH takes charge in third, routs North Texas 48–23". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-09-26.
  14. 14.00 14.01 14.02 14.03 14.04 14.05 14.06 14.07 14.08 14.09 14.10 14.11 14.12 "Houston vs Louisiana Tech (Sep 17, 2011)". Louisiana Tech & CSTV. CSTV. September 17, 2011. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
  15. 15.0 15.1 2011 Louisiana Tech Football Media Guide, p. 156
  16. "Football Postgame Notes vs. Georgia State". Houston Cougars. 2011-09-24. Retrieved 2011-11-28.
  17. "Houston 56, Georgia State 0". ESPN. 2011-09-24. Retrieved 2011-11-28.

External linksEdit

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