Up, Down, Up, Down, Left, Right, Select…
By Paul Myerberg // Oct 28, 2011
I think Sam Kahn Jr., who covers Houston football for the Houston Chronicle, put it best: the Cougars “regularly put up video game-like statistics,” Khan wrote in his game story from last night’s 73-34 win over Rice, and that sounds just about right. The numbers resemble your video game totals, with a twist — 12-minute quarters, on rookie, against your little brother, all while doing your best to run up the score. Case Keenum’s Playstation-like evening against the Owls involved one N.C.A.A. record, a handful of near school records, nine touchdowns and, from top to bottom, a night to remember. For Keenum, it may be time to upgrade his game’s level of difficulty.
It’s just coming too easy for the senior, who toppled former Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell’s N.C.A.A. record for touchdown passes early in the third quarter — and then destroyed it, ending his night with a career-best nine scores. Keenum, who broke the N.C.A.A. mark for total offense last Saturday against Marshall, still has at least five more games to continue his assault on the record books.
This is Houston. What is Houston? The Cougars are the team you choose with your buddies on Friday night: the Cougars are a Playstation team come to life. Three touchdown passes in a tad more than six minutes? Done and done. Four more touchdown passes in the third quarter? This is getting ridiculous.
I’m pretty sure I saw Kevin Sumlin enter a cheat code entering the second quarter — up, up, down, down, left, right, select, start. Keenum was cold early, tossing a pick and losing a fumble in the first quarter, but rolled off a nice string of completions heading into the second frame — He’s heating up!
His final line defies rational explanation: 24 of 37 for 534 yards and 9 scores — He’s on fire! Four touchdowns came in the third quarter, seven coming over a span of 19 minutes, turning a close game — Rice held an early 17-7 lead — into another Conference USA laugher.
Harrell held a four-touchdown lead heading into the evening; it was tied one touchdown into the second half; and when the night ended, 60 minutes later, Keenum held a five-score edge. Good morning, good afternoon and good night.
These numbers can only happen at Houston, where the console might change but the results remain the same. This is the school that dropped 95 points and an N.C.A.A.-record 1,012 yards of total offense on poor S.M.U. 21 years ago, after all. Andre Ware tossed five touchdowns in the second quarter alone that night; Keenum threw four in the third quarter, as noted.
Houston is where David Klingler threw an N.C.A.A.-record 11 touchdown passes in one game against Eastern Washington in 1991. Only at Houston — only, only at Houston — could nine touchdown passes be the third-most in program history. Only at Houston would Keenum not hold every single passing mark in the school record book.
And only Houston, more often than not, makes you double-take, peer closer and question your vision: 73 points? Another nine touchdowns? The Keenum-led Cougars just make it look so easy, taking an in-city rival’s best shot, a torrential downpour and a sloppy start yet still rolling to another lopsided win. N.C.A.A. record after N.C.A.A. record, touchdown after touchdown… are you sure we’re not playing on rookie?
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Tags: Case Keenum, Houston, Kevin Sumlin, Rice
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