Art Briles and Kevin Kolb debut at UH

The day the UH resurgence began

Art Briles and Kevin Kolb debuted at Houston with a 48-14 win over crosstown rival Rice. In the first game of his true freshman season, QB Kevin Kolb threw for two TDs and ran for two more in the blowout. Kolb found out he was the starter just before kickoff, then led the Coogs to their second-straight Bayou Bucket win.

“We decided two or three days ago,” said first-year head coach Art Briles. “The main thing is (Kolb’s) consistency. Kevin has been a little more consistent in practice.”

Briles watches Kolb in the final preseason scrimmage // Houstonian Yearbook Archives

Kolb went 17/22 for 246 yards and no INTs just three months after graduating from Stephenville High School. Brandon Middleton caught four passes for 122 yards and two scores, while Vincent Marshall had eight for 95 yards.

Cougar fans got their first dose of the Briles discipline problem in the first quarter. On what would be the first touchdown drive of the Art Era, the Cougars took over at their 24-yard line after stopping Rice on fourth down.

But thanks to penalties, the Cougars had 102 yards of offense in five plays, ending with a TD bomb to Middleton. The drive was officially five plays for 76 yards, but in reality was five plays, 26 yards in penalties, and 102 yards in offense.

First TD in the Briles era

The game was the college debut for the Briles ‘multiple’ offense. No offense has done more to transform football in the last 20 years than the one that debuted that day at Robertson Stadium.

“A lot of it was little quick screen stuff, and the guys blocked really well,” Kolb said.

August 30, 2003, will go down as the birth of the UH resurgence. UH is 12-3 since 2003 against Rice, winning by an average of 23.4 ppg, and the Coogs have gone 133-98 overall in those 20 seasons. In the previous 20 years, UH went just 79-141-2.

Kevin Kolb throws a screen pass against Rice.

Art Briles and Kevin Kolb debut at UH

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