C-USA's own Tod Meisner plans to provide insight and information from Houston to the league's official website.
Friday 12/1 11:11 p.m. CT
Keep checking ConferenceUSA.com for more post game coverage. Soon we will have team notes and quotes posted along with a full game recap on both the front page and the football page. For now, I have to get back to typing up some game notes and collecting all the information that I said we will provide for you on the website. I hope that you all enjoyed my up to the second blog coverage and hopefully we will be able to provide coverge like this for you the fan at other championships. Until then, thanks for reading and thank you for your support of C-USA athletics.
Friday 12/1 10:51 p.m. CT
Now that I am done updating the front page on the website, I will fill you in on more of the post game celebration. Many of the 31,818 in attendance rushed the field as the time expired and Kevin Kolb was handed the Championship trophy immediately. ESPN did an on-field interview with Vincent Marshall and Houston was also handed the Liberty Bowl trophy. A temporary stage was set up for a more formal ceremony after ESPN went off the air, but with so many people on the field, the PA guy just read through the script as the sea of red celebrated. All of the players were given championship hats and t-shirts to wear as well. The rest of my staff is down in the interview tent now and the crowd is slowly heading for their cars. I'll be back to wrap up in a bit.
Friday 12/1 10:35 p.m. CT
Final score Houston 34, Southern Miss 20. This is Houston's first conference championship since 1996 and it improved to 10-3 with the win. The 10 wins are the most for the program since 1990 and its six straight wins are the most since that same team in 1990 began 8-0. Houston now claims a spot in the Liberty Bowl and has made a bowl game three out of the last four years.
Friday 12/1 10:32 p.m. CT
Houston ran the ball all four downs and turned it over to USM deep in its territory. After a pass interference call on UH, the ball was moved to the 36. The Golden Eagles ran for no gain and then ran for six yards. After an incomplete pass by Young, USM faced fourth and the game. Young threw incomplete and Houston will take over on the 42. The Coogs just dumped the Gatorade cooler on coach Art Briles and Kolb is in victory formation for UH.
Friday 12/1 10:26 p.m. CT
USM is in desperation mode and had to go for it on fourth down. They managed to gain 11 yards but needed to get 16 for the first down. They turned it back over to UH and the Cougars are running the ball to keep the clock moving. Houston is facing a third and seven with 2:50 to play and USM just burned their last timeout.
Friday 12/1 10:15 p.m. CT
Another Houston score after a six play 58-yard drive that took 3:59. Kolb found Ealy once again for a 32-yard score. The play was almost identical to the one that took place in the third quarter. Ealy has three catches and two TD in the game for 73 yards. The Coogs lead 34-20 with four minutes left in the game.
Friday 12/1 10:05 p.m. CT
Southern Miss just had a 13 play drive for 55 yards and kicked a 31 yard field goal to cut the Houston lead to 27-20 with 8:24 left to play in the game. I'll try to keep you all up to date on what is happening, but at the moment I have to gather up MVP ballots from the media and begin to tally those up. Bear with me as I try to multitask once again.
Friday 12/1 9:53 p.m. CT
At the end of the third quarter Houston leads 27-17. Tonight's standing room only crowd of 31,818 is in fact a new Robertson Stadium record.
Friday 12/1 9:51 p.m. CT
The play was upheld and it is Cougar ball. They are looking to score for the third time this quarter.
Friday 12/1 9:49 p.m. CT
Well I am back in the warm pressbox and while I was gone the Coogs scored twice to take the lead 27-17. The first was a 46 yard keeper by Kolb that electrified the crowd and just a few minutes ago, Kolb found Biren Ealy for the score to give UH its biggest lead of the night. The crowd is really loud tonight and was going wild as Kolb finished off his long run. I had a quick chat with Rice head coach Todd Graham while I was on the sideline who was later interviewd by ESPN. UH just fell on a USM fumble and have a first and ten from its own 45. Well.....the fumble is being reviewed. I'll let you know that outcome. I can't say it enough....this crowd is great.
Friday 12/1 9:00 p.m. CT
More spirited halftime festivities from both marching bands. Both UH and USM have large bands with around 250 members. I haven't mentioned the great crowd since the beginning of the game, but it appears that there are very few empty seats tonight. Word is that this could be the largest crown in Robertson stadium history. Stay tuned for official word on that. Eight minutes until the start of the second half. I am going to jump down to the field to experince the game atmosphere and will be back in the third quarter with a full report on the noise and a recap of what happens to start the second half.
Friday 12/1 8:52 p.m. CT
Houston gets a nice return and moves the ball quickly into scoring range. UH's Marshall tossed his first career pass 18 yards to Jeron Harvey to set up a first and goal for the Cougars. The first play is a rush and the ball gets fumbled, but UH falls on it to keep the momentum going. A second down fade pass for Harvey is too high and that brings up third down with 23 seconds left. Another UH rush gets nothing and the clock runs out before the Cougars could run another play. Halftime score Southern Miss 17, Houston 13.
Friday 12/1 8:41 p.m. CT
USM drove methodically when it got the ball back and UH appeared to halt it and hold them to a field goal, but Brandon Brinkley was called for holding and it gave USM a first and goal from the seven. The Golden Eagle's first two plays yielded no gain and on third down Young found Chris Johnson who scampered in for the touchdown to put USM back in the lead 17-13 with 1:36 left in the half.
Friday 12/1 8;23 p.m. CT
The Cougars converted two fourth and shorts on its drive and on a third and 10, Pope took a pass from Kolb and gained 22 yards to set up a six yard score by Battle. The score is the 29th of Battle's career and his 13th on the season. 29 career scores is a new school record and 13 is the second-most ever in a season for UH. UH leads 13-10 with 10:01 remaining in the half.
Friday 12/1 8:16 p.m.
Houston is facing another fourth and short and looks to be going for it. USM calls a timeout. It will be fourth and four for the Cougars on the USM 43 after the timeout. UH comes to the line and then it calls a timeout. Battle goes up he middle and a measurement confirms that he got the first down. Houston keeps its drive alive.
Friday 12/1 8:03 p.m.
At the end of an exciting first quarter, Southern Miss leads Houston 10-7. It will be second and five from the UH 12 when play resumes. Some first quarter stats....USM's Fletcher has nine carries for 73 yards and Young is four of six for 72 yards. 45 of those yards were on his completition to Nelson. UH's battle has five carries for 26 yards and Kolb is two of six for 17 yards.
Friday 12/1 8:01 p.m.
As suspected, it was not a fumble as Pope's knee was down. There was a penalty on the return and it is first and 10 Cougars from the UH seven.
Friday 12/1 7:57 p.m.
UH's Roshawn Pope loses the ball on the kickoff return and it is ruled a fumble on the field. The play is currently under review and video shows that it will most likely be overturned.
Friday 12/1 7:53 p.m.
USM quarterback Jeremy Young finds TE Shawn Nelson for a 45 yard gain to sustain the Golden Eagle drive. Two plays later Young takes it up the middle on a quarterback draw for the score. Southern Miss 10, Houston 7 with :39 seconds left in the first quarter. USM's drive went 81 yards on five plays in only 2:19.
Friday 12/1 7:48 p.m.
Kolb throws lateral pitch to Marshall two plays later and he takes it 22 yards to give UH the lead with 2:54 left in the first quarter. Houston 7, Southern Miss 3.
Friday 12/1 7:47 p.m.
USM goes three and out. Brit Barefoot's punt is shanked and goes just 21 yards. Houston takes over and RB Jackie Battle goes 11 yards up the middle on the first play for a first down. Two runs get UH seven yards and brings up third and three for the Cougars. Battle is taken down just short of the first down marker. UH goes for it on fourth down and gets it. The referees are going to take a measurement just to be sure and it confirms that UH has the first down.
Friday 12/1 7:31 p.m. CT
Houston's drive stalls after Kevin Kolb failed to connect on two deep balls down the middle of the field. With 8:51 left to play, USM still leads 3-0 and will take over on its own 29. The championship game is the 49th straight start for Kolb and Vincent Marshall's catch on the Houston drive gave him a reception in 49 straight games. Fletcher already has 50-yards rushing on five attempts for USM heading into its second drive.
Friday 12/1 7:27 p.m. CT
Houston begins its first drive from its own 10 after a block in the back on the return.
Friday 12/1 7:22 p.m. CT
USM settles for a 30-yard Darren McCaleb field goal on its opening drive. With 10:35 left to play in the first quarter, it is USM 3 Houston 0.
Friday 12/1 7:19 p.m. CT
Damion Fletcher takes it 36 yards to the Houston 35 yard line on third down. First down Golden Eagles.
Friday 12/1 7:16 p.m. CT
Brandon Sumrall recieves the kick and takes it out to the 20. First and 10 USM from the 20.
Friday 12/1 7:15 p.m. CT
Houston wins the toss and defers to the second half. Time to kick off!
Friday 12/1 7:12 p.m. CT
The Cougars take the field in their solid red home home unis. The Golden Eagles are taking the field now amidst fireworks and are wearing solid white. One minute until kickoff.
Friday 12/1 7:05 p.m. CT
Just finished the national anthem. It was played jointly by both the UH and USM bands. The crowd is really getting excited now as the teams are once again about to come back on the field. Clock reads 7 minutes. Very nice crowd in the stands and people continue to file in.
Friday 12/1 6:50 p.m . CT
Well I am just getting around to grabbing a bite to eat, but being a man of many talents, I can both blog and eat. As I figured, the Skeeters is excellent. I just got back upstairs from being on the field and I must say that the atmosphere is electric. Fans of both squads are filing into the stadium and it appears as if the Golden Eagle faithful traveled really well. The teams are clearing the field now and the bands are about to take over for some pre-game fanfare. The clock has 26 minutes on it and I will update you again once I finish my meal. Oh and I'd be remiss if I didn't give a shout-out to Kelly Carney, Emily Agler, Erika Amstadt Hirschfield and the other fine C-USA staffers that are braving the weather down on the sidelines making sure all is running smooth.
Friday 12/1 5:00 p.m. CT
Kickoff of tonight's game has been pushed back to 7:15. ESPN just called up to the pressbox to give the official word. Once agian don't forget to tune in on ESPN2 tonight at 7:15.
Friday 12/1 4:40 p.m. CT
I know you all have been waiting for my pre-game roundup, so here goes. The parking lots surrounding Robertson are filled with RV's, tents, couches and anything else you can think of that makes up a good tailgate. The fraternities and sororities have giant wooden letters set up around their tents identifying their Greek affiliation. Southern Miss had a nice set of fans surrounding a group of four RV's and they also had a black and gold golf cart with a Southern Miss helmet that doubled as its roof. In addition to that, they also had a moving Santa Claus dressed up in full USM football gear. The donor tailgating area was beginning to pick up and "The Two Barrell Ramblers" were tuning their equipment before they begin to entertain the donor area. Lots of fans are beginning to flock to all the areas close to the stadium and you can feel the buzz of anticipation. On another note, Skeeters Mesquite Grill is setting up their warmers for the press box pre-game spread. When you next hear from me I will have just downed some fajitas and can give you an idea of how the stadium is filling up.
Friday 12/1 3:15 p.m. CT
Back up and running again in the Robertson pressbox. The Southern Miss SID crew just arrived and UH's Assistant SID Jeff Conrad is relieved that the stat monitors are up and working and we still have four hours to kickoff. Jeff did inform me about 790 The Sport Animal's live radio show this morning. He said that Carl Dukes and Brad Davies went live from Hofheinz Pavilion from 6-10 a.m. and talked to Cougar Radio play-by-play man Tom Franklin, former record setting quarterback David Klingler, former NFL player Antowain Smith and director of athletics Dave Maggard. 790 has been doing a great job all day of talking up the game. Here shortly I will make my lap outside and take in the festivities. Until then....say tuned!
Friday 12/1 2:15 p.m. CT
I'm back for my first of many updates today. Our staff just arrived at the Athletics Alumni Center and I'm blogging from the Houston SID offices. Houston Assistant AD for Media Relations Chris Burkhalter just informed me that his team is not in classes today, but are staying in a hotel and sequestering themselves to prepare for tonight's big game. The mood around this building is light, as I think we all are excited to get the game kicked off. The weather today is much nicer here, but once the sun goes down it could get COLD tonight. I just got off the phone with my parents back home in Central Illinois and yesterday's storm knocked out their power and they may be without it for a few days. My mom is crushed that she can't keep up with my blog today! Well, I'll update everyone again in a while when I get over to Robertson. I plan on making a lap around the tailgaiting festivities and will give a full report on all the pre-game hoopla.
Thursday 11/30 10:00 p.m. CT
Sorry for the delay, if anyone has been anxiously awaiting a report on USM. I can say that the team landed safely in Houston about 7:30 and got to their team hotel about 8:15. I just got up to my room and Russ is filling me on on what took place when they arrived. Russ was "Mr. Meet and Greet" tonight at the team hotel, welcoming the Golden Eagles to town. He was also there to make sure USM SID Mike Montoro and other Golden Eagle staffers were taken care of upon arrival. The majority of our staff took part in the VIP reception that was held at the Headquarters Hotel. The reception was a nice event, but because of the delays, it was mostly Houston people that could make it. Back to USM arriving, Russ reported that head coach Jeff Bower had a few media interviews to take care of and after that the team planned on going to dinner and relaxing after a long day of delays. Today has gone well from all angles and we hope that tomorrow brings much of the same. I am signing off for the night, but you can expect many more updates from me tomorrow, especially during the game. Check back for all the latest and don't forget to tune in to the game tomorrow on ESPN2.
Thursday 11/30 6:00 p.m. CT
This afternoon Houston football players along with some C-USA staffers visited Zoe Learning Academy as part of C-USA's effort to become the best Division I-A conference in the country in not only athletics, but academics and community involvement. Players that attended were #2 WR Donnie Avery, #3 Roshawn Pope and #99 Marquay Love. They visited with 350 kids in grades K-5 and went to the classrooms to interact. All the children were given t-shirts. The Cougar players also went to the auditorium and spoke to the older kids about staying drug free, respecting themselves and others and staying in school. They then signed autographs and posed for pictures. It was a great event and you can expect many more community activities like this at C-USA Championships.
Thursday 11/30 4:50 p.m. CT
I'm over in the O'Quinn Great Hall in UH's Athletics Alumni Center for coach Briles' presser. Coach is addressing a nice media turnout along with Cougar players Marquay Love, Anthony Alridge, Kevin Kolb, Will Gulley and Jackie Battle. Coach feels that his team is getting great support from the fans and that this is a huge game for his team and the university.
In more travel related news, Southern Miss is encountering some weather problems. Their charter was originally due to land in Houston around 5 p.m., but barring any more problems, is supposed to land around 7. The team hopes to get to their hotel around 7:30. I'll let everyone know when the Golden Eagles arrive. Complete press conference coverage to come soon on the league's official site.
Thursday 11/30 3:30 p.m. CT
Hello from Houston! Our staff made it down here fine today, despite the winter weather that is blowing through Dallas. Our flight was supposed to leave at 9:30, but after some de-icing, we ended up leaving closer to 10 and touched down in Space City at 11. Reports from back in Big D said that we got out of there just in time. I am sitting in the Robertson Stadium press box currently and it is rainy and as Assistant Commissioner Russ Anderson said today's weather was, "About 45 degrees with a biting west wind." Perfect football weather, right? Our staff is getting set up in the press box and Coach Briles' press conference is set to begin at 4:30. I'll check back in after coach has spoken with the press. Also look for a feature story on our website with quotes from both teams.
Tuesday 11/28 3:30 p.m. CT
Good afternoon C-USA Football fans! I just wanted to get something up on the blog space today to let you know what I plan on providing later in the week. We hope you fans will enjoy the content I will be able to give you, but Conference USA has never done anything like this before, so it may take a while to figure out what I am able to do. I am set to arrive in Houston on Thursday morning and will be at various championship related activities that day. Sometime Thursday night I will begin the coverage with updates on Thursday's schedule of events. You can expect various posts from me throughout the day on Friday and I will blog live during the game from the pressbox. We hope this will be fun and insightful and I am looking forward to it. Until Thursday, take care and stay tuned!
PS - How could I forget........I better remind you to tune in and watch the game on Friday at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN2.