Biggest UH Football Wins (Now Revised)

Final Sscore NRG Stadium September 3, 2016

Final Score
NRG Stadium
September 3, 2016


Those of you who know that I am a 1960 graduate of UH and a loyal follower of the Cougars since their 1946 first football season will also know that my house is a very happy one this morning. Now my son, Casey McCurdy, and I have added to our Cougar fan resumes that we were also eyewitnesses to UH’s 33-23 win over OU yesterday morning, 9/03/16, at NRG Stadium here in Houston. We also saw the game with good friends, Sam Quintero and Sam Quintero, Jr., who are each connected as strongly to UH as we are. Sam, Jr. himself, in fact, is now a UH undergraduate and “Dr. Sam”, a 1972 UH graduate, has been an active member of the UH faculty at the School of Optometry for the past 44 years. Sam Senior and I are both Houston kids from the north side and east end that were able to get our undergraduate college educations because there was a place for us as working class young people at a welcoming and fine seat of learning available to each of us at a place called The University of Houston.

“In Time” is our UH motto. “In Time”, people like elder Sam and me have lived long enough to say thank you, UH. “In Time”, UH has grown to be a Tier One Academic university, now serving the world as America’s second most ethnically diverse student bodies. And, “In Time”, UH now steps forth too as a program of athletics that is second to none in recent infrastructural improvements, financial commitment, and playing field accomplishments. Thank you Chancellor/President Renu Khator, Board of Regents Chair Tillman Fertitta, Vice-President of Athletics, Hunter Yurachek, Head Football Coach Tom Herman, Head Basketball Coach Kelvin Sampson, and Head Baseball Coach Todd Whitting, and all you other too-many-to-mention-people for your leadership and hard work  across the board.  “In Time”, your passionate efforts and the fan support of Cougar Nation has made what happened yesterday the most important moment in Houston collegiate football history.

“In Time” is now “Our Time” – and there is no going back from here.

Center Smiling Sam, Jr. and Sam Quintero, Sr. UH Cougars September 3, 2016

Center Smiling
Sam, Jr. and Sam Quintero, Sr.
UH Cougars Family Forever
September 3, 2016

“Our Time” is not measured by never losing another game again. It is a time best measured by the words that Cougar Football Coach Tom Herman used yesterday after the 33-23 UH win over OU, when asked if the victory was a “statement game” for UH. “We were prepared to win, “Herman said, “we expected to win and we trained to win. It wasn’t about making a statement. It was just about going 1-0 in the first week of the season and starting the 2016 season off on the right foot.”

A reader’s first impression may flirt with the idea that Herman is  simply using coach-speak in denial of how important an opening game UH win over a No. 3 ranked OU was over opening with a blowout win over a club like next week’s Cougar foe, Lamar. We admit. We struggled with that conclusion until we slept on it and awoke today to read it anew in the Houston Chronicle. The light inside Tom’s wisdom shone through full force.

Bill and  Casey McCurdy The Pecan Park Eagle & Son UH Cougar Family September 3, 2016

Bill and Casey McCurdy
The Pecan Park Eagle & Son
UH Cougar Family Forever
September 3, 2016

Herman wasn’t saying that the OU win wasn’t important or special. He was saying that the Cougars didn’t need to beat OU to make a statement about how good they are. They already know how good they are. They played to win because that is the reason they play the games – to win, when winning proves possible. And they already knew prior to the game that beating OU was not only possible, but doable. Winning their opening game  was the Cougars’ intentional objective, no matter who stood in opposition to that idea across the line. If that actual accomplishment of winning the game resulted in other people being impressed, so be it. We’ll take it. The fact of their central intention doesn’t change. – The Cougars play to win – not to impress.

Or, as Coach Tom Herman might explain it: “It’s the UH Cougar Culture commitment to why they play each game. The goal is to win with a team that believes in themselves and their ability to beat any opponent they play.

He seems to have been a Cougar Super Power Fan, but we are glad his help was not needed. We are not sure how well his particular super powers might have been effected by the beer he had been drinking during the game.

He seems to have been a Cougar Super Power Fan, but we are glad his help was not needed. We are not sure how well his particular super powers might have been effected by the beer he had been drinking during the game.

Here’s our Pecan Park Eagle Short List of the Greatest Football Wins in UH Cougar History:

  1. UH 33 – OU 23 (2016) Personally speaking, we rank the UH win over OU yesterday as  the greatest in Cougar history because of it what it potentially delivers.A vault to near or in next week’s Top Ten with an entire season to move into contention for the NCAA Playoffs and a possible spot in the National Championship Game. If that were to happen, it was all made possible or impossible by the outcome of yesterday’s OU-UH outcome.
  2. UH 38 – Florida Sate 14 (2015) UH’s win in the Peach Bowl over nationally ranked Florida State was the lock on the door of their most successful season in history and the signature on their inclusion at #15 in the 2016 pre-season poll horse they road into their season opener against Oklahoma.
  3. UH 37 – Michigan State 7 (1967) With Wondrous Warren McVea running wild, the Cougar defense playing like a steel curtain, and all of it taking place in East Lansing. MI on the home field of the nationally top-ten-ranked Michigan State Spartans, the win vaulted UH into the national spotlight for the first time and into a #3 spot in the following week’s Top Ten. Sadly, the Top Ten stay was brief, as UH lost two weeks later as the #2 team to North Carolina State in the Astrodome. Going into the 10th and last game of the ’67 season, UH still ranked #10 with a 7-2 record, but that was lost too when the Cougars fell to Tulsa on the road in their final game of the season. The only thing that stayed was the national awareness of UH as the team that crushed Michigan State at home.
  4. UH 30 – TEXAS 0. (1976) In their first season as a member of the Southwest Conference, UH went to Austin and shutout the UT in the last year of the great Darrell Royal‘s magical time at the helm as Coach of the Longhorns. The UH win ironically proved Royal’s support of the Cougars for membership in the old SWC and set the tone for UH winning or tying for the SWC championship in three of their first four seasons. It should be noted for complete historical accuracy that UT running back Earl Campbell was unavailable for play on this beautiful red autumn day in Austin because of injury, but that’s life, right? The win helped UH go on to their fourth major historical win the following January 1st.
  5. UH 30 – Maryland 21 (1977) Although the Cougars had gone 4-1-1 in their six previous lesser bowls, starting with a Gene Shannon-led 26-21 win over Dayton in the 1952 Salad Bowl, this 1977 Cotton Bowl victory was the first Cougar victory in one of the four major bowls. It also elevated UH to their highest final season ranking in history at # 4.
  6. UH 17 – Nebraska 14 (1980) The Cougars finished a 0ne-loss season with a dramatic late 4th quarter score over national power Nebraska, allowing UH to finish with a #5 final ranking. It was the icing on the cake in the year of of the UH “Mad Dog Defense” with Mad Bulldog Babe McCurdy on the Cotton Bowl sidelines, growling the Cougars to victory, even running on the field without permission when the Cougars scored the ultimately winning touchdown pass fro QB Terry Elston to WR Eric Herring.
Beautiful NRG Stadium - where a blended sea of 71,000 Cougar and  Sooner fans turned out for battle of teo football titans on Opening Day, 2016.

Beautiful NRG Stadium – where a blended sea of 71,000 UH Cougar and OU Sooner fans turned out for a battle between two  eager and win-hungry football titans on the Opening Weekend of the 2016 college football season.

Thank you, 2016 Cougars, for this delicious day of celebration for those of us who care – and thank you, especially, for making all the years of my life a lot more deeply immersed in the stirred and inseparably mixed dish of love, loyalty, pain, and pleasure.

Eat ‘Em Up, Coogs! – The Pecan Park Eagle.


Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas



4 Responses to “Biggest UH Football Wins (Now Revised)”

  1. shinerbock80 Says:

    Congrats on your win yesterday. It was fun to watch.

    That 1976 pounding of the Horns was thorough. As you note, Earl was hurt, but to put a finer point on it, UT had opened the season 3-1-1 and was leading at Lubbock against Tech when Earl got injured and lost for the rest of the season. The UH game was the following week, and the wind was completely gone from the Longhorns’ sails. We won only two games the rest of the year, against hapless TCU and then the finale against Arkansas at Austin in the final game for both Coach Royal and Frank Broyles. it left us 5-5-1 and kept DKR from having his first losing season in 20 years. You should be proud since there were about 10 guys on the 1976 Longhorn team who went to the NFL. I know. I lived in the same dorm with them. The following year, the Horns went undefeated and finished the year ranked number 1 in the nation before losing to the hated Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl. Hopefully we Longhorns can get at least a little bit of revenge for that heartbreak over the next few hours.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Thanks for your kind words and the important additional background on the 1976 UH-UT game, Shinerbock, and good luck to the Horns against ND. Here’s hoping both our holiday fires will be lit by the big game results of our Labor Day Weekend openers. I have my own memory of UH playing ND on a holiday back in 1979, but Joe Montana is still my dream version of Freddy Krueger as a result. So, just don’t go to sleep during the game.

  2. Tom Hunter Says:

    I watched UH’s win over Florida State in the Peach Bowl on TV last year and years ago went to Hobby Airport to welcome the Cougars home after their win over Michigan state in 1967.

    I also attended the Cotton Bowl on January 1, 1977 and saw UH defeat Maryland and then traveled to Dallas for the Cotton Bowl the next year. My friends didn’t want to go to the game, so we watched Joe Montana’s great comeback for Notre Dame on TV.

    I watched the Cougars win over Nebraska on TV in the 1980 Cotton Bowl.

    The win over Oklahoma on Saturday was the sweetest.

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