Saturday, October 22, 2011

Houston Cougars Thump Marshall 63-28: Where Do They Go from Here?

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2011 TexSport Publications

Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loco Photography, 
Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.
HOUSTON, TEXAS (October 22, 2011) What can one say after a football game that ends in a 35-point win for the home team and raises the team’s season record to 7-0?

Some may think that the score says it all and that nothing more needs to be said.

If the world was so simple that above statement would simply be enough.

More precisely, if the game of college football was so simple it might make for an easier time of understand the game as a whole.

But college football is not that simple. One must indeed look at what else happened in the game.

Yes, the Houston Cougars are now 7-0 after their 63-28 thumping of the Thundering Herd of Marshall.

Marshall came into Robertson Stadium sporting a 2-1 Conference USA record and leading the East Division of the conference.

The Thundering Herd controlled the ball for 42 minutes of the game. That means the Cougars’ defense was on the field for nearly 3/4 of the game.

No matter what one thinks about the Houston defense, that fact definitely had an impact on the game.

Add that to the realization that Houston has been struggling with their defense all season makes for a dangerous situation if their opponents offense ever gets on the move.

Case Keenum threw for 376 yards and six touchdowns in Houston's 63-28 win over Marshall. Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loco Photography, Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved
Houston gave up 506 total yards to Marshall. That is way too much.

Holding them to 28 points was a factor in the game, but the fact is Marshall failed to capitalize on their offensive drives and Houston scored easily when they did have possession of the ball.

Case Keenum had a very successful day. He competed 24 of 28 passes for 376 yards and six touchdowns.

That performance did enable him to become the NCAA's career total offense record holder.

If he keeps this up, he should have no problem breaking both the NCAA all-time passing yardage record and the NCAA all time touchdown passes record.

The Cougars should have their next game against cross-town rival Rice. The Owls
sport a 2-5 record and should be no match for the Cougars. But the way college football is, nothing is guaranteed.

Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin needs to evaluate the defensive performance from today’s game and continue to tweak and refine where the defense is going.

To his credit, the Houston defense has shown improvement this year and is steps above when it was this time last year.

However, if he hopes to build on what has dome so far and continue to see improvement, he must expect…no, he must demand that the defense step up and do a better job than it did against Marshall.

After all, he has at least five games to go in 2011 and possibly two more if he gets to the C-USA championship game and the eventual bowl game that may come at the season’s end.

Add that to all the speculation of a possible move to the Big East Conference and all that implies makes the defensive situation crucial.

After all, this is college football and anything can happen.

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