Introduction to the game: Birmingham Bowl – University of Houston Athletics

# 21/21 Houston (11-2) vs. Auburn (6-6)

December 28, 2021 | 11:00 am HC | Protection stage | Birmingham, Alabama.
Broadcast: ESPN
Radio: KPRC 950 AM

“Houston has appeared in 14 bowl games in the past 17 seasons (2005-present), a mark that ranks second in programs in Texas (Texas A&M – 15). Houston’s 89 wins since 2011 also rank second among FBS schools in Texas (Texas A&M – 92).

“Houston hasn’t faced an SEC program since Oct. 31, 2015, when he beat Vanderbilt, 34-0 at TDECU Stadium. Since 1999, the Cougars are 5-4 against the SEC, including wins over LSU (1999), Mississippi State (2003, 2005, 2009) and Vanderbilt (2015).

“Houston makes its 28th appearance in a bowl. The Cougars are 11-15-1 all-time in bowl games and have lost the last four (2016-present). Houston’s last bowl victory was a 38-24 victory over Florida State No. 9/8 at the Peach Bowl on December 31, 2015.

“The Cougars are making their second appearance at the Birmingham Bowl. In its only previous appearance on Jan. 4, 2014, against Vanderbilt, Houston came back 24 points to tie the game before losing 41-24. The Cougars scored 24 points in the third quarter, the most points in a period in Birmingham Bowl history.


“For the most recent information on Birmingham Bowl events, click here. To purchase bowl tickets and reserve your spot in the Houston Allocation, click here.

Houston Pep Rally5 pm-5:30pm
Uptown Entertainment District – Birmingham

Houston Alumni Association Reception – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The southern kitchen and bar
(2301 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. Suite 300, Birmingham, AL 35203)
Free entry – Aperitifs provided
To register click here

Houston Alumni Association Tailgate ($ 40)

8:30 am-10:30am
Chic neighborhood cantina
(2301 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd N Unit 200, Birmingham, AL 35203)
To register click here
Includes food, 2 drink tickets and 1 commemorative gift


“Houston has won more than 11 games in a season on five occasions in the history of the program (2021, 2015, 2011, 1979, 1973). Houston’s five-plus-10-winning seasons since 2006 are tied for second on FBS programs in Texas, behind only TCU (8).

“Houston ranked # 21 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and # 21 in the Top 25 AP. This is the sixth consecutive week with a national ranking in both polls. Houston is ranked # 20 in the latest CFP selection committee poll, its highest score since November 22, 2016 (also # 20).

Called the ‘third quarter defense’, the Cougars unit leads the country in third-down conversion defense percentage (0.256), ranks fifth in team sacks (3.38), sixth for total defense (297.2), seventh for defense against first tries (195), 11th in red zone defense (.733), 12th in ground defense (105.7) and 14th in won turnovers (23).

“Houston is one of six FBS Top 15 teams nationally for offense and total defense, joining Alabama, Cincinnati, Coastal Carolina, Georgia and Michigan. The Cougars average 37.3 points per game (15th) and keep their opponents at 297.2 yards per game (6th).

“Twelve Houston student-athletes have been named to the American all-conference team, the most since there were so many in 2015. All-conference team winners for the program since 2011 as a member of Conference USA.


“Auburn ended his season 6-6 after losing four straight games, including a 24-22 four-overtime loss to Alabama in the season finale. The Tigers played the second toughest schedule in the country according to ESPN FPI.

“The Tigers are under the management of first-year head coach Bryan Harsin. Harsin has spent the previous seven seasons as a head coach at Boise State, where he set a 69-19 record while winning three Mountain West Conference titles.

Auburn ranks seventh nationally in blocked punters (3), 12e in defensive touchdowns (3), 14th in team tackles for loss (7.2), 24e on kickback defense (18.33) and 25e in defense of return from punt (4.12).

“The Tigers make their 46th appearance in the bowl and their ninth consecutive bowl. Auburn is 24-19-2 all-time in bowl games. The Tigers are chasing their first bowl win since Dec. 28, 2018, when they beat Purdue, 63-14, in the Music City Bowl.


“Auburn leads the all-time series 5-1 over Houston. Tuesday marks the first clash between the teams since October 27, 1973, in Auburn.

“Two of Houston’s longest games in program history were against Auburn. Joe Lopasky’s 82-yard punt return touchdown (Sept. 21, 1963) was the second longest punt return in program history. Paul Sweeten’s 89-yard intercept return touchdown (Oct 26, 1957) was the sixth longest interception return of all time.

“Houston limited Auburn to 1 rushing yard in the 1969 Bluebonnet Bowl, the least allowed by the Cougars in bowl history. The Cougars won the contest, 36-7, on December 31, 1969, in the solo match between the two teams.


“Mark the third time Houston has won more than 12 games in a season (2011 – 13; 2015 – 13).

“Click on a four-game losing streak in the bowl (2016-present) and move the Cougars to 12-15-1 all-time in bowl action.

“Move Houston to 2-5 all-time against Auburn and 2-0 in bowl games.


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