Anything Andre Ware’s crew used to do, the Houston Cougars tried to do better.
With Ware and more 60 members of the UH 1989 team in the audience on Saturday night at Robertson Stadium, the current Cougars turned back the clock. The 25th-ranked Cougars conjured memories of that team of 20 years ago during a 73-14 thrashing of the Rice Owls.
While turning back the clock, the Cougars tended to the present and immediate future by capturing their second Conference USA West title in four seasons. The Cougars (10-2, 6-2) will play the C-USA title game at East Carolina (8-4, 7-1) next Saturday.
A crowd of 28,243 saw the Cougars surpass their previous season high for points (55 against Northwestern State) with 1:03 left in the first half. The Cougars took a 59-0 lead into the dressing room, matching the school record for first-half points set by the 1989 team in a 95-21 victory against SMU on Nov. 21, 1989.
Though Ware brought home the Heisman Trophy, the 1989 Cougars had to settle for a second-place tie in the SWC. The verdict remains out on UH junior quarterback Case Keenum’s Heisman candidacy, but his team has a chance to break the single-season record of 11 victories.
Keenum completed 25-of-31 passes for 323 yards and two touchdowns without taking a single snap after halftime. Keenum has passed for 4,922 yards this season, leaving him 78 away from becoming the second player in Football Subdivision (Division I) history to break the 5,000 barrier more than once in a career.
By the time the Owls (2-10, 2-6) got a first down, the Cougars had two returns for touchdowns and a 24-0 lead. The first return for a score came 15 seconds into the game, courtesy of Tyron Carrier’s third kickoff return for a touchdown of the season — this one covering 99 yards.
The Cougars took the lead to 14-0 on a 1-yard by Keenum with 10:10 left in the first quarter. Less than 90 seconds later, it was the UH defense’s turn to score. Cornerback Brandon Brinkley’s 45-yard interception of a pass from David Fanuzzi made the score 21-0 at 8:43.
The Cougars churned out five second-quarter touchdowns in assembly-line fashion. Two of them came in runs of five and 18 by Charles Sims. Two came on Keenum passes of 39 yards to Patrick Edwards and 5 yards to L.J. Castile. For good measure, Carrier took an end-around 37 yards. The five drives covered a combined 336 yards in 30 plays, with none of them taking longer than 1:55.
The score was 66-0 before the Owls got on the board with an 11-yard touchdown run by Charles Ross with 9:00 left in the third quarter. Ross added another touchdown run — from 4 yards — with 21 seconds left in the quarter to make sure the Owls wouldn’t have to endure the most lopsided beating in the history of the series.
A 1-yard touchdown run by Bryce Beall with 13:31 remaining gave the Cougars their most points since a 73-3 victory against Louisiana Tech in the 1991 season opener.
Via: Houston Chronicle