September 11, 2009

On the Prowl: Cougars hopeful to spring upset

By this time tomorrow, Houston hopes that Oklahoma State has a problem on its hands.

Granted, it might be a bit of a tough deal to pull off, but if an upset could be sprung in Stillwater tomorrow, the Cougars would really be on the prowl.

It won't be easy to accomplish, however.

The No. 5 Cowboys are coming off a huge win against Georgia last weekend. It was a big game and a big win for OSU. That's something UH head coach Kevin Sumlin hasn't lost sight of.

"As we watch tape and look at things, Oklahoma State has really played well," he said. "They are a really good football team and I would say they are one of the top four or five teams in the country. They beat a Georgia team, holding them to 90 yards rushing. They play at an extremely high level."

Cougar quarterback Case Keenum made sure he didn't miss a minute of the action.

"I recorded it," Keenum said. "They have a great offense. It was a great football game with two great teams. You could tell it was the first game with a few mistakes here and there but everyone had that the first week. That's something you have to minimize as you go along. I thought they played well and hard. They had a lot of energy."

While the Cougars are pretty complimentary of the Cowboys, UH comes in on a positive step of its own. The Coogs are coming off a solid showing in a 55-7 win over Northwestern State. In that one, Keenum went 23-of-30 for 357 yards and four touchdowns. He knows he'll have to have another solid showing throwing the ball for the Cougars to have a shot. Even while admitting that a win over OSU would be considered an upset, Keenum said he still feels that UH has a really good squad.

"If we play well and do what we can do, we have a really good chance," he said. "The way I see it is any team can beat any team on any given Saturday in college football. You have to come out and play at the top of your game every week. It doesn't matter who you play. We're going to go out there and play hard. They're a good team and obviously everyone knows it and we're going to see what happens."

UH shouldn't fear coming back to Stillwater, as the squad had some success there in 2008. The Cougars hung with the Pokes for two quarters, going into halftime up by a score of 16-14. But OSU woke up in the third quarter, running up 21 points before UH was able to answer with a score of its own, making it 35-23. OSU immediately answered, posting another TD to push the lead to 42-23. The two teams then traded a pair of touchdowns before time ran out, handing the Pokes a 56-37 win.

"They're very explosive and have tons of weapons all over the field," said UH senior linebacker C.J. Cavness. "You have to be really solid in your execution. We have to work very hard this week and know our game plan. We also need to know their tendencies and know what they want to do to us so we can go out there and execute. We will need everyone to be on the same page."

Sophomore wide receiver Tyron Carrier said he felt the Coogs missed out on a big opportunity for a major road win and would like to change that this weekend.

"Last year the game was a lot closer than it looked," Carrier said. "Great teams capitalize off mistakes, so if we don't make any, it can be a great game."

At the least, Sumlin believes this is a great way to measure the growth of his program at UH. The former Oklahoma assistant took over last season.

"I'm really interested to see where we are as a program," Sumlin said. "Going up there right now and playing is a great thing for us. We're looking forward to it. If we play as good as we can play, everyone will be happy. If we play as good as we can play but it's not enough; that's okay too."

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