Conference USA Championship: Cougars BCS Dreams Die As They Fall 49-28 To Golden Eagles

The No. 7 Cougars put their chances at an undefeated season and a BCS bowl game on the line Saturday against the No. 24 Golden Eagles in the C-USA Championship Game.

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2011 Bowl Predictions: Houston Looks To Play In January Bowl, Just The Wrong One

As the voters and pollsters try to figure things out at the top of the BCS standings as to who will face off versus the LSU Tigers in the national championship game in New Orleans, life for the Houston Cougars have unfortunately become cryster-clear based on the latest 2011 bowl projections.

While the Cougs will look to still play in the January bowl game, the TicketCity Bowl doesn't quite provide the same allure that a BCS Bowl game does. The 6-6 Purdue Boilermakers are predicted to face off against the 12-1 Houston Cougars in the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas, Texas.

In last year's TicketCity Bowl, the Northwestern Wildcats and the Texas Tech Red Raiders held a shootout in the Cotton Bowl, as the boys from Lubbock were able to pull off a 45-38 thrilling victory last year.

It would seem to be a safe bet that Case Keenum and the Cougars can put up their fair share of points, but can the Boilermakers? We'll see on January 2nd.

For more insights and analysis on the Purude Boilermakers, check out the SB Nation blog Hammer and Rails. For more college football news be sure to check out SB Nation's College Football Hub.

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Conference USA Championship Game 2011 Final Score: Southern Miss Ends Houston's BCS Bowl Dreams By Winning 49-28

The Houston Cougars had their shot at history if they were able to defeat the Southern Miss. Golden Eagles in the 2011 Conference USA title game, but for the first time all year Houston fell to defeat. Southern Miss came into the game ranked No. 24 in the BCS and No. 25 in total defense and this defense was miles ahead of any other defense that Houston has played all year. Houston came into this game as a two-touchdown favorite, but their own defense could not stop Southern Mississippi's offense.

The first half went back and forth with Southern Miss going up 14-0 early into the second quarter, but Houston made a comeback on a Case Keenum touchdown pass and the other was on a 1-yard run by Michael Hayes. Southern Miss responded quickly with a 69-yard touchdown pass from Austin Davis to Dominique Sullivan to go up 21-14.

Things started to change in the second half when on Houston's first possession they had a punt blocked and returned 11 yards for a touchdown all courtesy of Southern Mississippi's Furious Bradley. Southern Miss scored three touchdowns in the third quarter to Houston's to have a 42-21 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Down 21 heading into the fourth quarter Houston had the offense to get back into the game but their fourth quarter drives but their first two were punts and the third was a Case Keenum interception that was returned 26 yards by Ronnie Thornton for a touchdown. Houston went onto score a garbage time touchdown with only three second left to get to 28 points.

Keenum threw the ball 67 times for 373 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The running attack for Houston was held in check as Southern Mississippi's defense was able to stop the running game. Southern Miss quarterback Austin Davis led the way with four touchdown passes with 279 yards.

The loss not only drops Houston out of a BCS bowl game but they fall down to Beef O'Brady's Bowl were they would face a fifth place Big East team.

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Houston Vs. Southern Miss Score: Cougars In A Deep Hole Trailing 42-21

It was a nightmare third quarter for the Houston Cougars who have been unable to slow down Southern Miss and now trail 42-21 entering the fourth quarter. The Golden Eagles outscored the Cougars 21-7 in the third quarter while Houston's BCS bowl hopes could be slipping away. 

Southern Miss extended their halftime lead to 28-14 after Furious Bradley blocked a Houston punt attempt and returned it for an 11 yard touchdown. After both teams swapped interceptions on their next possessions, Houston cut into the lead with a four yard touchdown run from Michael Hayes to make the score 28-21. 

The rest of the quarter belonged to quarterback Austin Davis and the Southern Miss offense. Desmond Johnson once again gave the Golden Eagles a two score lead with a 17 yard touchdown run with 3:18 left. Houston was forced to punt on its next possession and Austin Davis capped off the third quarter scoring with a 61 yard strike to Tracy Lampley for a 42-21 lead. 

Case Keenum has 230 yards and a touchdown but has been out performed by Davis who has 269 yards and four touchdowns for Southern Miss through three quarters. 

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Conference USA Championship Score: Houston Trailing Southern Miss 21-14 At Halftime

Houston's offense got on track after spotting Southern Miss an early 14-0 lead but still trail the Golden Eagles 21-14 at the half. 

Southern Miss wasted little time in the second quarter extending its lead to 14-0 after an Austin Davis touchdown pass to Tracy Lampley. With the win at his back, Case Keenum finally got on track engineering a 65 yard drive for the Cougars resulting in a nine yard touchdown to Justin Johnson to cut the lead to 14-7. 

Neither Houston or Keenum was finished as they needed just 1:36 to tie the score on their next possession when Michael Hayes capped off a 61 yard drive with a one yard touchdown plunge. 

The Golden Eagles would answer back with the biggest play of the game when Austin Davis found Dominique Sullivan for a 69 yard scoring strike that put Southern Miss back on top by a score of 21-14. 

Case Keenum completed 15 of 22 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown in the first half with most of that damage coming in the second quarter. Michael Hayes have 26 yards rushing including a touchdown on 12 carries. Justin Johnson has five catches for 88 yards. 

Austin Davis had a huge first half for the Golden Eagles going 11 of 22 for 164 yards and three first half touchdowns. Davis also leads Southern Miss with 39 yards rushing. Dominique Sullivan caught three passes for 85 yards and a touchdown. 

For more college football news be sure to check out SB Nation's College Football Hub.

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Houston Vs. Southern Miss Score: Eagles Lead Cougars 7-0 After One

Houston missed some opportunities in the first quarter due to weather conditions and the Golden Eagles' defense. While throwing into a strong wind in the first half, Case Keenum struggled to get the high powered Cougars' offense on track. 

The only score of the quarter came after a short Houston punt set up the Eagles with good field position. Austin Davis found Ryan Balentine for a 14 yard touchdown reception to cap off a seven play, 37 yard drive for the Eagles. 

Keenum completed 6 of 12 passes in the first quarter for just 29 yards. Michael Hayes rushed for 28 yards but there is no doubt that the Golden Eagles are much more concerned with Keenum getting on track rather than Hayes. 

Austin Davis was just 4 of 11 in the first quarter for 35 yards but did have the touchdown pass to Balentine. Davis also has 24 yards rushing in the game. 

For more college football news be sure to check out SB Nation's College Football Hub

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Houston Vs. Southern Miss Conference USA Championship Game 2011: TV Schedule, Odds And More

The Houston Cougars are one win away from going to their first ever BCS bowl game in program history, and it would also be the first bowl game for Conference USA. There are distractions within the Cougars locker room as their head coach Kevin Sumlin is being linked to various job openings at BCS schools.

Houston has record setting quarterback Case Keenum quarterback who is trying to achieve the only award in his record setting career and that is a Conference USA title. Keenum was the starter in the 2009 Conference title game against East Carolina which Houston lost.

Southern Miss was on track for a BCS bowl game as they were on an eight-game winning streak until they were upset by UAB, and now they are playing the spoiler roll and will attempt to keep Houston from making a BCS bowl game.

Game date, time: 11 a.m. CT on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011

Location: Robertson Stadium, Houston, Texas

TV channel: ABC

RadioCougars radio network

Spread: Houston favored by 13 points.

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Conference USA Championship: Southern Miss And Houston Battle For Title

The No. 24 Southern Miss Golden Eagles (10-2) take on the No. 7 Houston Cougars (12-0) for a conference USA championship on Saturday in Houston.

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