Saturday, December 24, 2005

Cougars impressed by Kansas


— The thing that truly shocked Houston coach Art Briles about Friday night's Forth Worth Bowl was the final score.

The former Cougar player said he knew before KU's lopsided 42-13 victory at Amon G. Carter Stadium that a talented Kansas University squad was completely focused on the task at hand.

"They're everything we thought they would be," Briles said of the Jayhawks. "You have high hopes and aspirations, and it's a shock when someone slaps you in the face two or three times."

And Briles might just have been talking about KU's offense.

Kansas had its highest point production of the season in its first bowl victory in a decade, and the Jayhawks scored four touchdowns of 30-yards or longer.

"Everything just happened for them tonight," UH senior defensive end Kade Lane said.

Then KU's decorated defense left no doubt.

"We knew coming into the bowl game that Kansas is a great team," said Houston quarterback Kevin Kolb, who was named the Cougars' MVP for his 214 passing yards and one touchdown run.

"It would have been nice to have things turn out differently for us, but we couldn't get anything going offensively," continued Kolb, who became just the second player in Houston history other than David Klinger to throw for more than 9,000 yards in a career. Kolb also moved ahead of former Cougars Heisman winner Andre Ware in career completions with 672.

But three of the Houston QB's attempts Friday ended up in the arms of the Jayhawks.

Kansas was even more ravaging against the run.

The Jayhawks allowed just 30 yards on 24 carries. Houston's leading rusher on the season, Ryan Gilbert -- who was averaging 93.6 yards per game and had run for 1,030 yards and nine scores -- was a nonfactor. Gilbert compiled only seven yards on nine carries.

"It was one of our main goals to stop the run," said KU senior linebacker Nick Reid, who no doubt was motivated by some pregame jawing by Gilbert.

While Houston kept the game close with a KU turnover and touchdown of its own late in the first half, KU closed things out on the Cougars in the final 30 minutes.

Kansas outscored Houston 28-3 in the final two quarters and allowed just 120 yards on 32 plays.

"We never felt comfortable on the offensive side of the ball," Briles said. "They have a very good defensive football team, and their offense played extremely well."


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