(UH quarterback Case Keenum completed 30-of-45 passes for 318 yards and one touchdown in the Cougars' win over SMU. Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loco Photography, Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved)
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2011 TexSport Publications
HOUSTON, TEXAS (November 19, 2011) In a game that saw the Houston Cougars (11-0, 7-0 C-USA) facing a stubborn SMU Mustangs squad; the Cougars managed to keep their record unblemished by downing the Mustangs 37-7 in front of 32,207 fan at Robertson Stadium in Houston.
The Mustangs fall to 6-5 for the season and 4-3 in conference play.
The scene was electric on Saturday afternoon with the Mustangs facing a sea of red in the stands and a determined Houston team that get its first 11-0 start in school history.
Case Keenum continued to dazzle both the fans and the opposing team’s defense, completing 30-of-45 passes for 318 yard and one touchdown.
He also rushed for 21 yards and one touchdown.
The Houston offensive line had a bit of difficulty with the SMU defense, as they continuously pursued and pressured Keenum all afternoon.
Keenum was never caught behind the line for a loss, but he had to continually scramble and look for receivers while keeping the Mustang rushers at bay.
The Cougars scored first on a 28-yard field goal by Matt Hogan at the 9:02 mark in the first quarter to jump out to a 3-0 lead.
They came back in the second quarter with another Hogan field goal with 14:10 left in the half and a 36-yard touchdown run by Michael Hayes with 46 seconds remaining before halftime.
With those two scores, the Cougars took a 13-0 lead into the locker room at the halfway point.
Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin must have made some adjustments at halftime; or chewed a little player behind, because the Cougars came back like gangbusters and scored 10 points in the 3rd quarter.
At the 6:32 mark, Hogan nailed his 3rd field goal of the game; a 22-yard chip shot to take the score to 16-0 in favor of the Cougars.
The Cougars got another score with 30 seconds left in the 3rd quarter on a 12-yard pass from Case Keenum to Justin Johnson to make the score to 23-0.
SMU finally got on the board with 8:33 left in the game on an eight yard TD pass from J.J. McDermott to Darius Johnson.
The Cougars came right back in a bit over two minutes to allow Keenum to run the ball in for the score from the 16-yard line.
That made the score 30-7 with 6:17 left.
Houston added a final touchdown pass when Cotton Turner connected with Gino Collins on 43-yard pass for the score with 1:18 to go in the game.
The win sets up a crucial match up next Saturday when the Cougars travel to Oklahoma to face the 8-3 Tulsa Golden Hurricane for the Conference USA West title.
The Golden Hurricane is 7-0 in conference play and the winner of the game will advance to the C-USA championship game on December 3.