Keenum has 5 TDs as Houston beats Memphis 55-14Nov 21, 2009 - 10:22 PM By KRISTIE RIEKEN AP Sports Writer
HOUSTON(AP) -- Houston needed a win to stay alive in the Conference USA race.
Case Keenum engineered it in record-setting fashion.
Keenum threw for 405 yards and five touchdowns in just more than two quarters as Houston beat Memphis 55-14 on Saturday. The quarterback also set a school record for career touchdown passes with 94, surpassing David Klingler's 91.
"We felt that we haven't played our best football game yet and honestly I'd say that we're still striving for that," Keenum said.
Keenum gave way to Cotton Turner after an 18-yard pass to L.J. Castile put Houston (9-2, 5-2) ahead 49-14 early in the third quarter.
It was an easy win for a team trying to get back on track after last week's surprising loss to Central Florida, which left the Cougars in second place in the West division. Houston must win next week against Rice and hope for at least one loss by SMU to make it to the conference championship game.
"We can't be worried about what everybody else is doing or what's going on," Houston coach Kevin Sumlin said. "If they feel pressure, they feel pressure.
"If we come out next week and play like we did (Saturday), then there will be some good stuff out there for us if we handle our business and worry about us."
Memphis (2-9, 1-6) was led by Curtis Steele, who had 160 yards rushing and two touchdowns. He has 1,007 yards rushing this year to become the second player in school history to reach the mark in more than one season.
Charles Sims ran for 90 yards and two scores and Chaz Rodriguez had 98 yards receiving and a touchdown for Houston.
The scoring didn't stop after Keenum and most of the starters went to the bench. Turner completed his first eight passes and made it 55-14 with an 18-yard toss to Fendi Onobun with about 6 minutes left in the third quarter. The Cougars missed the extra point.
"I thought that we came out and had some intensity from the beginning," Sumlin said. "I don't know if a coach is ever completely happy with a game, but our guys responded well coming off of last week."
The struggling Tigers, whose difficult season has already led to the dismissal of coach Tommy West, were overmatched from the start of this one.
Keenum's first scoring throw came on a 7-yard pass to Castile with almost 13 minutes left in the first quarter. The pass extended his streak with at least one touchdown throw to 27 straight games.
Sims' first score, a 13-yard run, made it 14-0 less than 3 minutes later, and his 5-yard touchdown run just before halftime made it 42-14.
Houston pushed the lead to 21-0 when Keenum found Tim Monroe for a 9-yard score later in the first quarter. That drive was kept alive when an interception by the Tigers was wiped out by defensive holding.
The Tigers didn't get a first down until there were about 5 minutes left in the first quarter, when they started direct snapping to Steele in a wildcat formation. Steele put Memphis on the board with a 2-yard run that made it 21-7 late in the first quarter.
"We wanted to continue to run the ball to try to keep their offense off the field because they have a high-powered offense that can score any time they want," Steele said. "We just weren't clicking on all cylinders."
Keenum broke Klingler's record for career touchdown passes when he hit Rodriguez for a 4-yard score early in the second quarter.
"It's definitely an honor with the quarterbacks that have played here," Keenum said. "We're definitely not finished yet. Anytime I get mentioned with those guys from the past that have blazed the trail ahead of us ... it's pretty cool."
His fourth TD pass came on a 57-yard pass to Patrick Edwards later in the second. It made up for what happened a few plays earlier, when Edwards was wide open but dropped what would have been a long reception.
Will Hudgens was 9 of 18 for 60 yards on a day where his receivers dropped numerous passes. The Tigers also used Arkelon Hall, who was 6 of 10 for 41 yards and an interception.
The Tigers had a chance for another score in the fourth quarter but Duke Calhoun was hit in the air in the end zone and lost the ball which was intercepted by the Cougars.
Steele said they will try to stay positive as they end the season next week at Tulsa.
"We can never give up," he said. "We just have to go into this game knowing that we can win. We've got to do whatever we can to finish with a win."
- NCAAF FINAL
1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
MEMPHIS 7 7 0 0 14
HOUSTON 21 21 13 0 55 FINAL
1ST QUARTER: HOUSTON - TD, L.J. CASTILE 7 YD PASS FROM
CASE KEENUM (MATT HOGAN
KICK), 2:16. HOUSTON 7-0
HOUSTON - TD, CHARLES SIMS 13 YD RUN (MATT
HOGAN KICK), 4:49. HOUSTON
HOUSTON - TD,
Nov 21 3:57 PM
HOUSTON 55 0:00 LEFT, 4TH QTR
Nov 21 3:57 PM
HOUSTON 55 0:00 LEFT, 3RD QTR
Nov 21 3:27 PM
HOUSTON 55 5:38 LEFT, 3RD QTR
Memphis 14, Houston(24) 55 3rd - 5:38Nov 21 3:17 PM
HOUSTON 49 11:04 LEFT, 3RD QTR
Memphis 14, Houston(24) 49 3rd - 11:04Nov 21 3:04 PM
HOUSTON 42 0:00 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Nov 21 2:34 PM
HOUSTON 42 0:39 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Memphis 14, Houston(24) 42 2nd - 0:39Nov 21 2:32 PM
HOUSTON 35 2:38 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Memphis 14, Houston(24) 35 2nd - 2:38Nov 21 2:26 PM
HOUSTON 35 6:52 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Memphis 7, Houston(24) 35 2nd - 6:52Nov 21 2:17 PM
HOUSTON 28 10:10 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Memphis 7, Houston(24) 28 2nd - 10:10Nov 21 2:05 PM
HOUSTON 21 0:00 LEFT, 1ST QTR
Nov 21 1:51 PM
HOUSTON 21 2:27 LEFT, 1ST QTR
Memphis 7, Houston(24) 21 1st - 2:27Nov 21 1:44 PM
HOUSTON 21 6:50 LEFT, 1ST QTR
Memphis 0, Houston(24) 21 1st - 6:50Nov 21 1:35 PM
HOUSTON 14 10:11 LEFT, 1ST QTR
Memphis 0, Houston(24) 14 1st - 10:11Nov 21 1:21 PM
HOUSTON 7 12:44 LEFT, 1ST QTR
Memphis 0, Houston(24) 7 1st - 12:44Nov 21 1:12 PM
- Taking the lead: Houston QB Ward learning new role for team May 14
- Texas A&M sheds some swagger and tries to change trajectory May 6
- Clemson offense set to step forward, led by Deshaun Watson May 4
- Offense a priority this spring for ACC's Atlantic Division Apr 25
- Memphis' Paxton Lynch shows off strong arm for NFL scouts Apr 6
- Clemson not shying away from high offensive expectations Mar 9
- Liberty Bowl to recognize Archie Manning with award Mar 4
- Comeback trail: Chubb, Russell among rehabbing spring stars Feb 24
- Arizona State hires Seumalo as defensive line coach Feb 16
- Pac-12 football recruiting team capsules Feb 3
- Arizona State keeps commitments despite turnover Feb 3
- Big 12 signing day capsules Feb 3