On November 28, 1987, David Dacus knocked Billy Joe Tolliver off his perch.
The Cougars visited the Rice Owls to finish the 1987 season and wrap up Jack Pardee’s first seasons since replacing Bill Yeoman in third ward. Pardee brought the run-and-shoot to the run-happy league with offensive coordinator John Jenkins.
Houston found some apt pupils in Dacus and brought in some top-flight talent in receiver Jason Phillips. Dacus came to Houston from Kingsville by way of Cisco Junior College. Dacus adapted to the offense, night and day compared to Yeoman’s veer, quickly. “The hardest part is deciding who to throw to because somebody is always open.” Phillips arrived in the fall from Taft College in California and quickly made himself at home. He led the NCAA in receptions (99) and yards (1,444) in 1987. He just missed becoming the fourth NCAA receiver with 100 catches in a season.
As to the game, underdog Rice hung around, pulling within three at 25-21 at the half. Houston pulled away for a 45-21 win. Dacus completed 34 of 58 passes for a SWC record 450 yards, besting Tech’s Billy Joe Toliver’s mark of 422 set in 1985.
Phillips caught twelve passes, and Kimble Anders added two rushing touchdowns. Dacus’ day overshadowed a pretty good day by Rice’s Mark Comalander who added 316 passing yards.
Houston finished the season 4-6-1 while Rice ended up 2-9.