After Houston's most recent two matches, however, that looks unlikely. The Cougars dropped back-to-back home games - a 33-40 loss to Central Florida on Friday November 5 and a 25-28 defeat at the hands of Tulsa on Saturday November 13 - and now go on a two-game roadtrip to end their season: this Saturday they will play Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg (where they've never won), and the Saturday after Thanksgiving they play revenge-minded Big XII foe Texas Tech in Lubbock. While anything can happen on any given Saturday, at this point I believe that the odds of the Cougars winning either of these games, thereby avoiding a losing season, are very slim.
The Coogs put up a good fight against one of Conference USA's better teams two Fridays ago. Houston started out slow, thanks to a David Piland interception that was run back for a UCF touchdown early in the game, and trailed 10-23 at the half. However, the Cougars scored 14 unanswered points to begin the second half and at one point even led the game. The Golden Knights regained a two-touchdown advantage in the fourth quarter, but after Houston scored again and UCF missed a field goal with 1:53 remaining the Cougars had a chance to tie the game. Unfortunately, it didn't happen.
In addition to completing 15 passes for 294 yards, UCF quarterback Jeffrey Godfrey was also the team's leading rusher as he scorched the woeful Houston run defense for 105 yards. And although the UH offense actually slightly outgained UCF, 532 yards to 522, costly miscues, such as ten UCF points resulting from two David Piland interceptions and a missed field goal and extra point by Matt Hogan, proved to be difference in the game.
Last Saturday the Tulsa Golden Hurricane came to Robertson Stadium for Houston's final home game of the year. And, once again, the Cougar defense was burned by a mobile quarterback, as G.J. Kinne gained 190 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown in addition to his 154 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air.
But the outcome of this game really cannot be blamed on the defense. Tulsa had no weapons outside of Kinne, and even then he was sacked three times and intercepted twice. The Cougar defense, furthermore, was actually able to hold Tulsa to 5 of 12 third down conversions and no fourth down conversions. The defense gave up an uncharacteristically-low 28 points (in spite of the fact that they were often put into tough positions by offensive turnovers) and played well enough for the Cougars to win.