Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Houston 45, Tulane 7, Fans 16,506

Last Saturday’s trip to Robertson Stadium to see the Cougars play their first actual home game of the year was a pleasant experience. Of course, there were some gray clouds in the sky that afternoon - it wouldn’t be a UH home game if it weren’t threatening to rain - but the rain itself never materialized. The weather stayed pleasant, if not humid, and the tailgating was excellent. Most importantly, the Coogs did what they needed to do coming off last week’s nail-biter to Rice: they absolutely dominated the Green Wave, 45-7.

Kevin Kolb was 24-41 on the afternoon with three touchdowns and a single interception. His 350 passing yards allowed him to move in front of David Klingler to become Houston’s all-time passing leader, and his numbers would have even been better had his receivers not dropped a few passes that they should have caught. The Coogs’ rushing game was dominant as well, amassing 244 yards and three touchdowns on the ground in spite of the fact that Jackie Battle sat out the game with a hip injury. The defense was just as impressive, holding the Green Wave to 224 total yards and eight first downs the entire game.

Most importantly, the Coogs are now 2-0 for the first time since 1990. Yes, they’ve been that bad for that long.

Really, the only disappointing thing about the game was the attendance: only 16,506 came out to see the game. Of course, lousy attendance is nothing new for University of Houston football. However, the poor turnout prompted the Chronicle's UH beat reporter, Michael Murphy, to ask his blog readers to discuss the causes of and solutions for UH's perennial attendance woes; in his post, he even linked to my UH attendance page. (I had been wondering where all those extra hits from last night and today had been coming from. Thanks, Murph!)

Read the entire string of responses on Murphy's blog, if you have time; it goes to show that the causes of UH's inability to put fans in the stands are many (although a winning program, or lack thereof, is by far the biggest factor), and short-term solutions to the problem are few.

But the UH football team itself cannot force people to come see them play; they can only control what happens on the field. Next up are the Tigers of Grambling State. Take care of them, and there will probably be a pretty good crowd on hand to see the 3-0 Coogs host Oklahoma State.

It's too bad I won't be in that crowd; the return trip to Dubai awaits.

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