Gridiron Surprise: Cougar Football Plays for Conference Championship

It's been a decade since the Houston Cougars football team last won a Conference USA title, but it has a chance again at Robertson Stadium against Southern Mississipppi. As Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams reports, a winning season and a chance at a major bowl game has led to renewed interest in UH football.

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Student Jason Martinez says he was going to Cougar football games even during the down years, but admits the team's 9-3 record this season and a chance at the conference championship is a welcome change.

"It gives the team recognition, people rally around us. Hopefully everybody comes out to the game tonight and maybe we'll get something started here where we'll get a good fan base and support for future seasons."

Former U of H record-setting quarterback David Klingler lead team in the late 80's and early 90's is now the color man on the Cougar radio broadcasts. He says it's good to see his old team winning again.

"It causes us old guys to reminisce a little bit about the good old days and go out here and cheer for the team. The students on campus are excited about their team, excited about what's going on on campus, so it's big."

If the Cougars win tonight's game, they'll likely end up in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis later this month. Athletic Director Dave Maggard says it's been a building process.

"It's great for the university, I think, it's great for the city. We're just very, very proud to be privileged enough to be playing here at home for the championship this evening. We couldn't have written the script better."

Tonight's game starts at 7 at Robertson Stadium. The match-up will also be televised on ESPN2.

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