Redemption for Case Keenum and the Cougars

A football coach will always tell his players that you never want to play with revenge as your motivator. Revenge is in control; not you.

Saturday afternoon the Houston Cougars got the chance to exact a little revenge on the team that effectively ended their 2010 season when they knocked out quarterback Case Keenum for the rest of the year.

Rather than go for revenge though, the team and Keenum earned a little redemption when they beat the UCLA Bruins in an exciting, high scoring game, 38-34.

Houston only had the ball for about 25 minutes in Saturday’s game with the Bruins, but the team certainly made the most of it when they did have it scoring on five of their first six possessions to get out to a 31-14 halftime lead.

The Bruins managed to close the gap with a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter, down to 31-28, but then Keenum gave the Cougars a little breathing room with a touchdown pass to Tyron Carrier (that he fumbled, but Houston’s Chris Thompson recovered) with less than 10 minutes to go in the game.

Fans got what they wanted from returning quarterback Case Keenum. He began his march to the top of the record books with a solid performance completing 30 of 40 passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns.   

Keenum starts the season 3,486 yards behind Hawaii’s Tommy Chang for the all-time career passing yards mark and 27 touchdowns behind Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell’s career touchdown record. With two seasons of 5000+ yards passing and 44 touchdowns, breaking the records is not a question of if, but when.

The record breaking game may end up coming later rather than sooner if Saturday is any indication. At his current rate, he would not break the yards record till the final regular season game November 26 against Tulsa. He would need the Conference USA championship game and a bowl game in order to eclipse the touchdown mark.

A lack of talented weapons is not the issue. In fact, the team has a plethora of them, especially in the backfield. Bryce Beall and Michael Hayes proved to be a dangerous tandem last season when they rushed for 1499 yards and 20 touchdowns. Saturday the duo had 111 yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns.

If you were to ask Keenum, he would likely say that the records don’t matter to him; that he’s just glad to be back playing again. While working out with his center Chris Thompson, Keenum mentioned how eager he was to get hit again—not something that a center likes to hear.

"I said, 'I'm not a big fan of you getting hit. It's my job to protect you, and I don't think that's a good idea.' "

Call it a hunch, but it’s probably safe to say that the entire Cougar Nation will agree with Thompson.

It will be up to Thompson and the rest of the line to protect Keenum when the Cougars travel to Denton, Texas, to take on the North Texas Mean Green on Saturday, September 10.
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