UH dominates SMU, Houston one step closer to BCS glory
The chances of the Houston Cougars football team playing in their first ever BCS bowl game are now two wins away.
With BCS hopes on the line and ESPN Game Day taking its first trip to the UH campus, the undefeated 10-0 Houston Cougars routed the 6-4 Southern Methodist Mustangs 37-7 in their last home regular season game at Robertson Stadium Saturday afternoon.
If the Cougars are able to win their last game of the season at Tulsa next Friday, it would set up the potential BCS bowl bid clincher two weeks away in the Conference USA championship game.
The Cougars have scored 302 points the last five weeks. That’s more than 58 teams in college football have scored all season.
Houston dominated time of possession in the first quarter 10:21 to 4:39, but the crowd saw little action as the Cougars came out with an early 3-0 lead. Their defense held the Mustangs offense to a total of 39 offense yards on eight plays in the first quarter.
The Mustangs used some trickery early in the second quarter to keep their drive alive on a 4th down fake punt run, which led to a missed 35 yard FG by Mustang kicker Mike Loftus.
Just before halftime, Houston’s RB Michael Hayes capped off a seven play, 62 yard drive with a 26 yard rush TD.
Despite being unable to kick start Houston’s high scoring offense in the first half, QB Case Keenum completed 16 of 23 along with 166 passing yards to give the Cougars a 13-0 lead at halftime.
Back-to-back turnovers marred SMU at the start of the second half as Mustangs QB J.J. McDermott led a promising third quarter six minute drive 74 yards before being intercepted by UH linebacker Phillip Steward.
Houston had no turnovers in the game. Its defense ranks No. 13 nationally in turnover margin (0.8) and paces Conference USA.
Keenum threw his first touchdown of the game late in the third quarter on a drive that took 5 minutes and 33 seconds off the clock covering 13 plays and 55 yards, ending in a 12 yard touchdown pass to WR Justin Johnson , making the lead 23-0.
At the time the six minute mark hit the fourth quarter the Cougars had scored once more and had a commanding 30-7 lead.
Keenum left the game with two minutes remaining and back up QB Cotton Turner entered the game and threw a TD pass to WR Ronnie Williams on the very next play of the game to make the final score 37-7.
The game’s attendance of 32,207 was the largest crown in Robertson Stadium history.
Keenum passed former Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell’s record of 1,403 completions and tied former Hawaii QB Timmy Chang with three 4,000-yard seasons.