(Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loco Photography, Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved)
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2010 TexSport Publications
HOUSTON, TEXAS (September 18, 2010) With less than 24 hours before game time, the question still remains, “Will quarterback Case Keenum start against UCLA on Saturday night?”
The fans want to know. The student body wants to know. The alumni want to know. And probably, Case Keenum wants to know.
The answer to these questions will come at game time; 7:00pm PT as the Cougars take the field at the Rose Bowl to face the Bruins.
Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin stated in his weekly press conference that Keenum’s status is day-to-day, while UH officials said Friday that his status remains a game-time decision.
Keenum left last Saturday’s game against UTEP with a concussion as a result of tackling a Miner ball carrier after throwing an interception.
At the weekly press conference, senior defensive back Jamal Robinson was asked if he had any advice for Keenum on tackling.
“I told him he might want to keep his head up next time. Next time we'll have him walk off the field instead of tackling people.”
Many Cougar supporters agree. If Keenum does not start, the quarterback duties would fall to backup man Cotton Turner.
Turner was the UH Offensive Player of the Week for the Cougars against UTEP. He has played in both UH games this year.
In those two games he went 17 of 21 for 141 yards and no interceptions while connecting for two touchdowns. His longest pass was 26 yards, while averaging 70.5 yards a game.
If Turner does start, he will be facing a Bruin team that is 0-2 for the season and does not want to lose their second home game in a row.
They lost to Kansas State 31-22 on the road in the season opener and dropped a Pac-10 conference game 25-0 to Stanford in the Rose Bowl.
No matter who starts, the Bruins will be bringing a barrage of attacks against whoever is leading the team on the field.
Expect UCLA to try immediately bringing as much pressure possible to see if Turner can make the quick decisions and backup those decisions by quickly delivering the ball.
The Cougars should not take UCLA lightly. They have a fine program with a fine tradition.
However, I don’t think Sumlin will risk losing Keenum for the season if he is not 100% able to perform.
After all, this is a non-conference game and plays no bearing on the Conference USA championship.
Turner is very capable of commanding the Cougars on the field and with the other players backing him up, things should go fairly well.
Keenum needs to take another week off to rest and prepare for Tulane on September 25.
In any case, everyone will know who is starting at quarterback for the Cougars on Saturday evening, about 9:00pm Houston time.