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Scouting the Cougars

Seventeen years after their epic Hawaii Bowl showdown, the University of Hawaii and the Houston Cougars will once again clash in a postseason bowl game. This Thursday, the Rainbow Warriors and the Cougars will meet in the New Mexico Bowl in Frisco, Texas. ESPN Honolulu will be providing full coverage of the game, including our “Countdown to Kickoff” pregame show (live from Beer Lab HI at Pearlridge Center Uptown) at 8:30 a.m. Kickoff is set for 10:30. Bobby Curran and John Veneri will bring you all the action!

Here’s a quick look at the Houston Cougars:

♦ The Cougars finished 3-4 overall in the regular season and 3-3 in the American Athletic Conference. The Cougars’ victories were over Tulane, Navy and South Florida. Their losses were to BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati and Memphis.

♦ Houston puts up 32.3 points a game and utilize a very balanced offense. In their seven regular-season games, the Cougars have run the ball 255 times and passed the ball 254 times.

♦ The Cougars are coached by Dana Holgorsen, who is in his second season at Houston, His record at UH  is 7-12. Previously, Holgorsen spent eight years as the head coach at West Virginia, where he led the program to seven postseason appearances, including a dominating 70-33 Orange Bowl win over the Clemson Tigers in 2012. This will be the fourth time that Holgorsen and Todd Graham will meet as head coaches. Holgorsen is currently 3-0 against Graham.

♦ Houston’s QB is 6-3, 215-lb. junior Clayton Tune. Statistically speaking, Tune’s numbers are nearly identical to Chevan Cordeiro’s: 1,832 passing yards, 60.1%, 13 TDs and 7 INTs (Cordeiro’s stats: 1,947 passing yards, 11 TDs and 6 INTs.) Joe Broback of SB Nation notes: “Tune is a quarterback who will beat teams by taking short to intermediate throws whenever he gets them, complemented with the occasional deep shot. One thing that has to stop is the bad turnovers. At times he makes throws that are poor decisions and typically doomed as soon as he lets go of the ball. Houston has the playmakers to be a dangerous team, but they’ll only go as far as Tune takes them.”

♦ Watch out for punt returner Marcus Jones. The junior cornerback averages 21.1 yards per return (No. 2 in the country and set the AAC single-season record for punt return yards (317). He was recently named First-Team All-AAC.

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