With a big win over then fifth-ranked Oklahoma State, followed by an early season bye on Sept. 18, Cougar fans are excited about the team's third outing of the year, as they face Texas Tech (2-0) in front of a sellout crowd on Saturday night at Robertson Stadium. Hundreds of students gathered Thursday for a pep-rally at UH's student center.
"Our whole campus is excited," says junior running back Andre Kohn, a junior from Jacksonville, Fla. "We can't wait to get out there!"
Across campus, students are trying to stay focused on their coursework, but it's the test the Cougars face Saturday that many students, like freshman Geffrey Syptak, are prepping for.
"It's going to be fun, I can't wait for Saturday," says Syptak. "I took a day off from work to go to the game."
"I am definitely going to be there, lined up early. I am super excited for the game, the tailgating, everything that is going on," says UH student Madeline Garcia.
Numerous elected officials will participate in a tailgate event hosted by President Renu Khator prior to the game to show the unity between UH and Texas Tech in support of Tier One access for both schools, despite their rivalry on the football field. State Sen. Dan Patrick is among them.
"This will be a great night for two high-powered offenses and two great universities, who I believe will be the next schools to reach Tier One status," said Patrick. "We need this sell-out crowd to rally around the cause of higher education as well as these two teams."
Wristbands will be handed out to the first 5,500 students with a valid central campus Cougar Card ID beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday at Gate 10. Those are the only tickets left for what will be a record-setting crowd at Robertson Stadium. For those students who don't secure a ticket, a video board will be set up for game watching on stadium grounds near the intersection of Scott Street and Wheeler Avenue.
"For our fans, for our city and for our alumni this is huge deal," said Sumlin in his weekly press conference. " We couldn't be more excited about the sellout, the national recognition and everything else that makes us proud."
The Cougars are building on the successes of last season, when the team boasted the second-highest scoring offense in the nation, a 6-2 Conference USA record and the program's first bowl win in 27 years.
"Everybody likes winners, so once you start winning, we are accepting the bandwagon," says Kohn. "We'll be honest with you, it hasn't always been sold out at our games, so we are just excited for everybody to come out and have a good time."
"It really puts us on the spotlight, puts us on the national stage," says UH student athlete Adrian Edmonds.
Cougar Quarterback Case Keenum knows a strong student presence will go a long way to enhance the team's home field advantage. The message to UH students this week is wear red and be loud.
"I'm really excited for the game and for all the fans and students who are going to be there. Hopefully, they come early and are really loud for us," said Keenum earlier this week.
"So far I have seen good school spirit," says Natalie Steavinoha. "I am a freshman, so I am all about it!"
Watch the excitement on campus:YouTube Video: Countdown to Gameday
Check out video from today's Cougar pep rally:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__7oANuX1qQ
To learn more about game day, visit the official site of the University of Houston Athletics at www.uhcougars.com.