Warrior Report

Big play lifts
Cougars into OT

The play is called Blue Jet 18 Hide.

The Houston football team had never used it in a game and practiced the play just a couple of times. But after yesterday's debut, Blue Jet 18 Hide may make more regular appearances for the Cougars.

Wide receiver Vincent Marshall made a huge 81-yard TD reception with 22 seconds left in regulation to send the Hawaii Bowl into overtime yesterday.

Houston ultimately lost 54-48 in triple overtime in the Christmas thriller, but the Cougars didn't go without a fight.

After Hawaii kicker Nolan Miranda missed a field goal wide left, Houston took over on its own 20-yard line with 58 seconds left in the game.

The offense, which had sputtered on its last two drives, wasn't making any more progress on the final drive. The Cougars were slapped with a 5-yard penalty for illegal motion. Two plays later, Houston had only moved the ball 4 yards when quarterback Kevin Kolb threw an incomplete pass to bring up third-and-11.

The next play deflated an Aloha Stadium crowd of 25,551 and breathed new life into the Cougars (7-6).

"That was the first time they played soft on that, so we happened to get the ball in the hole," Houston coach Art Briles said. "Hopefully, the kid can make a play and he made the play and a great run. It was a great play. We were very fortunate to be there at that point, which is why I think I should've tried to finish the game."

Kolb lofted a short pass up the middle to the 5-foot-7, 170-pound Marshall, who snuck up from the back side. The junior scooted away from one defender, put on a burst of speed and saw nothing but the end zone in front of him.

"On that play, I come out of the backfield," said Marshall, who finished with 157 receiving yards. "If the linebacker shifted over, I was looking for the pass.

"If the linebacker shifted over, there was nothing but me and the safety. I wasn't too worried about the safety. Looking at him on film, I knew he wasn't too fast."

Briles blamed himself for not going for the 2-point conversion, but the score did give the Cougars momentum going into overtime.

"We were ready to play overtime," Marshall said. "We had a lot of momentum going into overtime."

Kolb's final pass of the game went to Marshall, but Houston couldn't find the magic again to stretch the game to a fourth extra period.


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