Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Houston tops Temple in inaugural American championship game

HOUSTON — Tom Herman came to Houston after helping Ohio State to a national championship last season with designs on returning the Cougars to national prominence.

Less than a year later the coach has done exactly that.

Saturday, Herman led No. 17 Houston to a high-profile bowl for the first time in more than 20 years with a 24-13 win over No. 20 Temple in the inaugural American Athletic Conference championship game.

Cougars quarterback Greg Ward ran for 148 yards and two touchdowns to earn the Cougars a trip to either the Peach or Fiesta Bowl as the "Group of Five" representative (the spot guaranteed for the top team outside Power Five conferences).

"Just an overwhelming sense of pride in our guys and our team," said Herman, who came to Houston after working as the offensive coordinator for the Buckeyes. "None of this would be possible without the leaders in that locker room buying in from Day 1 and dragging the rest of the team with them."

Ward raved about Herman and his staff.

"When Coach Herman first came in we knew he had a plan … we are just very happy and fortunate that we have those guys with us," Ward said.

Houston (12-1) jumped to a 17-0 lead with the help of two turnovers by Temple, one capped by a 47-yard touchdown run by Ward.

Temple (10-3) had a chance to get within a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, but Cougars cornerback Jeremy Winchester knocked down a pass in the end zone and the Owls settled for a field goal that made it 24-13.

They had two more chances to cut the deficit after that, but were stopped on fourth down both times.

"This isn't deflating," Temple coach Matt Rhule said. "This is one of the most positive days in Temple football history. I wish we would have won, but we got down, and our kids fought back."

Herman hopes the AAC title raises Houston's status in Texas.

"If you want to go somewhere and win a whole bunch of games and win trophies and get rings … the University of Houston is certainly a place to do that," said Herman, who signed a new five-year contract on Friday.

Houston tops Temple in inaugural American championship game 12/05/15 [Last modified: Sunday, December 6, 2015 12:21am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over "inappropriate conduct"

    College

    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels' overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  2. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.
  3. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Good news for Rays on Steven Souza Jr. as MRI shows 'no damage' to hip

    Blogs

    The Rays got good news today on RF Steven Souza Jr., as an MRI showed "no damage" to his left hip.

    Steven Souza Jr. #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays holds his leg after hurting himself trying to steal second base in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on July 19, 2017 in Oakland, California.
  5. Bucs raise prices for single tickets to marquee games

    Blogs

    The Bucs will have single-game tickets for 2017 home games on sale July 28, with a new wrinkle: the best games will cost more for fans.

    Bucs fans cheer Jameis Winston after a victory in their final home game of the 2016 season. Individual tickets for the Bucs' three most coveted home games (against the Patriots, Bears and Giants) will cost more in 2017.