Houston, Tulsa, Rice tied atop C-USA
After defeating Associated Press then-No. 25 Tulsa 70-30 at Robertson Stadium Saturday, the Cougar football team (6-4, 5-1 Conference USA) was voted National Team of the Week by the Football Writers Association of America board of directors and All-America committee on Monday.
The Cougars put up a season-high 641 yards against the Golden Hurricane on the way to their biggest margin of victory this season while upsetting their second ranked opponent this year. Houston also defeated C-USA rival East Carolina, then ranked No. 23 by the AP, 41-24 in Greenville, N.C. on Sept. 27.
Houston handed Tulsa its first conference loss this season by torching the Golden Hurricane for 461 yards in the air and held Tulsa to 22 points less than its average of 52 points a game going into Saturday’s contest.
With the win, the Cougars became eligible for their fifth postseason bowl in six years and moved into a three-way tie for the top spot in C-USA with Tulsa and Rice. Houston plays Texas-El Paso at Robertson Stadium on Saturday before closing out the regular season in the annual Battle for the Bayou Bucket with the Owls on Nov. 29.
Sophomore quarterback Case Keenum, sophomore cornerback Loyce Means and redshirt freshman wide receiver Tyron Carrier were recognized for individual performances, and swept conference honors on Monday.
Keenum was named the C-USA Offensive Player of the Week after recording his third-career game with at least 400 yards on 24-of-37 passing against Tulsa. He threw for a career-high six touchdowns, including five in the first half to give Houston a 42-17 lead at halftime.
Means grabbed a career-high three interceptions, including one he returned 69 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter and added six tackles in Houston’s win.
Carrier finished the game with 127 receiving yards and two touchdowns and racked up 142 yards on four kickoff returns, including a 93-yarder into the end zone with nine seconds left in the first half to score one of Houston’s four touchdowns in the second quarter.
The Nassau County Sports Commission announced its list of semi-finalists for the John Mackey Tight End of the Year awards, whiched included senior tight end Mark Hafner.
The winner will be announced live Dec. 11 during the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show.
Hafner, who leads the Cougars with 782 yards and 11 touchdowns on 73 catches, has received the weekly honor twice this season.
It is the fans who will determine whether Keenum finishes the week with one more award under his belt.
Along with three others, Keenum was nominated for the AT’T Player of the Week on Monday.
Fans can text the word "Vote" to 51234. Each vote registers as an entry into a sweepstakes for a trip to the 2009 BCS National Championship game in Miami. Fans can cast unlimited votes through texts until 11:59 ET.
The weekly winner will be announced on ESPN’s College Football Primetime show on Thursday.