Mr. Speaker, over the weekend, the University of Houston Cougars capped off their thrilling season with a 24-13 win against the Temple University Owls in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game. Houston won by 11 points and led from the very start of the game. With this win, the Cougars finished the regular season 12-1. They now face a matchup against the #9 Florida State University Seminoles in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl.
What is most amazing about the Cougars successful season is the fact that it was engineered by a rookie head coach: Tom Herman. Herman is a former national championship winning offensive coordinator at Ohio State University and a previous recipient of the Broyles Award for the nation's top assistant coach. He came to the University of Houston as a first-time head coach this season. This type of success in a coach's first season is rare. Herman's Houston team was led by its do-it-all quarterback, Greg Ward, Jr., who finished the season with 2,590 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, and only 5 interceptions. The All-Conference quarterback also tacked on 1,041 rushing yards and 19 touchdown runs for good measure. The excitement of watching this team play brought me back to 1989, when Coach Jack Pardee's run-and-shoot offense led the Cougars to a 9-win season and quarterback Andre Ware took home the Heisman Trophy.
Mr. Speaker, Tom Herman and the Houston Cougars aren't finished just yet. After the Cougars New Year's Eve duel with perennial powerhouse Florida State, the team will refocus its sights on coming back strong again next year. With the Cougars locking in Coach Herman to a contract extension and returning many of its key contributors, this team will be a force next year and hopefully for years to come. I look forward to spending December 31st ringing in the New Year with friends, family, and another Cougars victory. Go Cougars!
And that's just the way it is.