Charles Sims ran for 158 yards and three touchdowns, and the UH defense turned in its best performance of the season in a 35-14 victory over rival Rice on Saturday at Reliant Stadium.This win was important not just because it was against crosstown rival Rice, or because it was the first time the Coogs have won at Reliant Stadium (they were 0-4 at that venue prior to Saturday). This win was important because, after an 0-3 start, the struggling Cougars desperately needed something positive to happen. Yesterday, the positive finally happened. They got a win.
The Cougars (1-3) snapped their longest losing streak to begin a season in 11 years and won their Conference USA opener in their final season before moving to the Big East.
"Everyone was going into this game with the mindset that what's done is done," said UH quarterback David Piland, who threw for 361 yards and two touchdowns.
Yes, the team is still in disarray. Yes, I'm still suspicious of head coach Tony Levine. But with a 1-0 record in division and with two very winnable games at home (against North Texas and Alabama-Birmingham) coming up, the Cougars have the opportunity to salvage the season and - dare I day it? - even compete for the conference title.
Yesterday's win wasn't just a win. It was a huge confidence boost for a program that sorely needed something right to happen. The fact that it was against the elite private school a few miles down the road was just gravy.