Midseason report: Houston


Record: (6-0, 2-0 CUSA)

Case Keenum has returned for the Cougars, so that means one thing -- Houston is back. After missing a bowl last year thanks in large part to a knee injury to Keenum, the Cougars are off to a 6-0 start and just debuted at No. 25 in the AP rankings. The last time Houston started 6-0 was in 1990, when the Cougars got off to an 8-0 start. Keenum, of course, has been a big reason for the turnaround. Keenum leads the nation with 2,309 total passing yards as he continues his quest to set the NCAA career passing mark. He currently stands 1,178 yards behind Timmy Chang of Hawaii for that record. With him the Cougars are a totally different team. Patrick Edwards (107 ypg) and Tyron Carrier (76 ypg) have gotten of to good starts receiving as a result. Now, that is not to say things have been easy this season. Already, Houston needed the biggest comeback in school history to beat Louisiana Tech 35-34. Keenum led the team to 28 unanswered points after it fell behind 34-7 in the third quarter. Then the Cougars got into a shootout against UTEP. After trailing at various points in that game, Houston finally won 49-42 in a game that featured more than 1,200 yards of offense. But the Cougars are coming off their best performance of the season on defense, holding East Carolina to 21 rushing yards and forcing four turnovers in a 56-3 win over the Pirates. The defense remains a work in progress, but with Keenum back there slinging the ball, Houston stands a chance to run the table.

Offensive MVP: QB Case Keenum. Is there any question how valuable Keenum is to this team? The Cougars went 5-7 last season. They are 6-0 this season after he was granted a sixth year of eligibility. If he stays healthy, he will easily own the NCAA career passing mark.

Defensive MVP: LB Sammy Brown. Brown has made a living in his opponents' backfield, leading the nation with 14 tackles for loss. His 5.5 sacks also rank second in the league, which go along with nine quarterback hurries.