Scores

Final

(11) Houston 73

(10-0, 6-0 American)

Tulane 17

(2-9, 1-6 American)

8:00 PM ET, November 10, 2011

Superior Dome, Marquette, MI

1 2 3 4 T
#11HOU 0 35 24 1473
TULN 0 10 0 717

Top Performers

Passing: C. Keenum (HOU) - 325 YDS, 3 TD

Rushing: C. Sims (NOR) - 10 CAR, 207 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: P. Edwards (HOU) - 5 REC, 129 YDS, 3 TD

No. 11 Houston shows off its running game in rout of Tulane

Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS -- While Case Keenum got off to an uncharacteristically slow start, running back Charles Sims broke off enough long runs to ensure 11th-ranked Houston would post yet another lopsided victory.

Sims rushed for a career-high 207 yards, including touchdown runs of 72 and 52 yards, and Houston continued its best start in school history with a 73-17 victory on Thursday night that matched a season-high in points.

"He's a special, really talented player and just a lot of fun to watch," Keenum said of Sims. "It's nice to have him in the backfield right there next to me."

Keenum passed for 325 yards, a pedestrian total by his standards, before he was given the rest of the night off in the third quarter. His three touchdown passed went for 66, 23 and 8 yards to Patrick Edwards, who also scored on a 70-yard punt return.

Houston (10-0, 6-0 Conference USA), which came in averaging 52.7 points per game, was held without a point in the first quarter, snapping a streak of 19 straight quarters with a score.

The Cougars responded with five touchdowns in the second quarter, beginning with Bryce Beall's 11-yard scoring run that was set up by Sims' 56-yard scamper.

"After the first quarter, we were able to run the ball and mix up some passes pretty well," Keenum said. "Just a good game plan, good coaching. ... It's just execution. When we are executing and not making mental mistakes, silly mistakes, we're able to roll."

Orleans Darkwa rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns for Tulane (2-9, 1-6).

Sims, the Conference USA freshman of the year in 2009, missed all of 2010 with what Houston said was a retroactive transcript matter with the NCAA. He returned this season as part of a three-man running back rotation with Beall and Michael Hayes, and came into the game second on the squad in rushing with 451 yards.

Sims' longest run through the first nine games was 50 yards, which he surpassed three times in the second quarter alone in helping Houston take a 35-10 halftime lead despite the fact that Keenum had passed for only one TD to that point.

"We just needed someone to step up and make plays," Sims said. "It felt real good just to get down field and start scoring."

Keenum, who last week became the NCAA's all-time leading passer, increased his career total 17,537 yards.

He threw for his final two TDs in the third quarter and was given the rest of the night off with Houston leading 52-10. Keenum finished 22-of-29 passing and kept alive his streak of more than 300 yards passing in every game this season.

It was also the 35th 300-yard game of Keenum's career, which ranks second in NCAA history, right behind the 36 of former Hawaii quarterback Timmy Chang.

Keenum now needs only 49 yards passing to become only the second player in NCAA history -- along with Chang -- to have three 4,000-yard seasons. Houston still has two more regular season games, and a bowl game, in which Keenum could potentially become the first NCAA player ever to have three 5,000-yard seasons.

Keenum's departure did not end the Houston onslaught, as backup quarterback Cotton Turner led two scoring drives, which included his 27-yard scoring pass and his 35-yard touchdown scramble.

Tulane interim coach Mark Hutson said the Green Wave's defense made plenty of mistakes, but would have had trouble slowing down Houston's passing game no matter what.

"Their receivers -- I watched the instant replay -- they made some unbelievable catches," Hutson said.

Damian Payne added a 76-yard punt return for a score, which was Houston's second touchdown on a punt return in the game.

Houston might have set a new season high score if coach Kevin Sumlin hadn't ordered the Cougars to run out the clock on their last offensive series, drawing groans from traveling fans wearing red behind Houston's bench.

"When you get beat 73-17, you are embarrassed, you are humiliated, you are disappointed, you are frustrated," Hutson said. "But we have two games left to take the bitterness and the disappointment out. We need to go to Houston on (Nov. 19) and play well against Rice."

Taking it all in from a suite in the Superdome was former Michigan and West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez, the offensive coordinator at Tulane under Tommy Bowden in 1998, when the Green Wave went 12-0.

Rodriguez saw firsthand how much work he'd have to do should he decide to return to head coaching at Tulane.

The Green Wave opened the game with a nearly seven-minute drive that covered 66 yards in 15 plays, including three conversions on third down and another on fourth-and-short, only to come up empty when Ryan Griffin was intercepted by Phillip Steward on an underthrown ball in the end zone.

Tulane got as close as 14-7 in the second quarter, when Darkwa muscled into the end zone from 3 yards out, one play after he had been caught from behind on a 66-yard run.

However, it took only four plays before Houston was back up by two TDs on Sims' 52-yard scoring run.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
HOU
TULN
1st Downs3016
Total Yards735331
Passing443144
Rushing292187
Penalties10-676-59
3rd Down Conversions9-1310-23
4th Down Conversions0-01-1
Turnovers01
Possession25:0035:00

Passing Leaders

HoustonC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Keenum22/2932511.230
TulaneC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Griffin19/431373.201

Rushing Leaders

HoustonCARYDSAVGTDLG
Sims1020720.7272
Turner13535.0135
TulaneCARYDSAVGTDLG
Darkwa211235.9268
Kelley7405.7016

Receiving Leaders

HoustonRECYDSAVGTDLG
Edwards512925.8366
Johnson59619.2061
TulaneRECYDSAVGTDLG
Shackleford4389.5013
Rush3299.7014

Scoring Summary

SECOND QUARTERHOUTULN
TD13:48Bryce Beall 11 Yd Run (Matt Hogan Kick) 70
TD12:53Patrick Edwards 70 Yd Punt Return (Matt Hogan Kick) 140
TD05:44Orleans Darkwa 3 Yd Run (Cairo Santos Kick) 147
TD04:46Charles Sims 52 Yd Run (Matt Hogan Kick) 217
TD02:39Patrick Edwards 23 Yd Pass From Case Keenum (Matt Hogan Kick) 287
FG00:49Cairo Santos 42 Yd 2810
TD00:18Charles Sims 72 Yd Run (Matt Hogan Kick) 3510
THIRD QUARTERHOUTULN
FG13:23Matt Hogan 23 Yd 3810
TD07:22Patrick Edwards 8 Yd Pass From Case Keenum (Matt Hogan Kick) 4510
TD06:16Patrick Edwards 66 Yd Pass From Case Keenum (Matt Hogan Kick) 5210
TD02:56Chance Blackmon 27 Yd Pass From Cotton Turner (Matt Hogan Kick) 5910
FOURTH QUARTERHOUTULN
TD12:53Orleans Darkwa 3 Yd Run (Cairo Santos Kick) 5917
TD10:56Cotton Turner 35 Yd Run (Matt Hogan Kick) 6617
TD09:39Damian Payne 76 Yd Punt Return (Matt Hogan Kick) 7317

Research Notes

Case Keenum completed 22 passes against Tulane before he was removed from the game late in the 3rd quarter. That was enough to move him past Timmy Chang into 2nd all-time in career completions. Heading into next week's game against SMU, he trails Graham Harrell by 6 completions for the NCAA record.
  [+]
Patrick Edwards touchdown catch with 2:39 left in the 2nd quarter was the 35th of his career, a new Houston Cougar career record. He passes Elmo Wright, who had 34 touchdown receptions from 1968-70.

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