Coogs end 15-game losing streak in 2002


Joffrey Reynolds
Joffrey Reynolds scores in the 2002 Bayou Bucket

OTD in 2002: By the time the buses pulled into the Rice Stadium parking lot, the UH players knew that they now held the longest losing streak in the nation at 15 games. Duke had beaten ECU to snap their 23-game streak; now, it was up to Barrick Nealy to lead Houston to their first win in 680 days.

The Cougars came out determined: the offense put together an excellent 11-play, 80-yard drive to open the game – highlighted by a Joffrey Reynolds TD. Barrick Nealy hit Brandon Middleton for a 42-yard TD pass in the second quarter to put the Coogs up 14-0. On the ensuing Rice drive, safety Hanik Milligan broke up a fourth-down pass to keep the shutout going through the half.

After the teams traded field goals early in the 3rd quarter, Nealy scored again on a QB keeper to take a 24-3 lead, icing the game.

OTD in 2002: Cougars win the Bayou Bucket
Cougars hoist the Bayou Bucket at Rice Stadium / photo: Houstonian Yearbook Archives

“I fumbled on the same play on the drive before,” Nealy said. “I just ran out there, I looked around, I saw that little cutback, I saw a little hole, and I just took it.”

Nealy finished 11/15 for 161 yards with one touchdown pass and a TD run. Reynolds finished with 155 yards on 28 carries and a score.

Just to win a game is so crucial. We’ll celebrate tonight, take tomorrow off like usual, then get back to practice,” Dana Dimel said. In three seasons at UH, Dimel won just three road games – two at Memphis and this game at Rice.

Barrick Nealy / Houstonian Yearbook Archives
Barrick Nealy / Houstonian Yearbook Archives

At halftime, the Rice MOB performed their cringe-worthy “Salute To Zero” show. Ironically, their team was down 14 to zero at the time.

The long nightmare was over: a losing streak that began on October 28, 2000, finally came to an end. On this day in 2002.


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