Cougars trample the Herd in 63-28 homecoming win at Robertson; Keenum breaks NCAA record
Case Keenum and the Cougars enjoyed another record-breaking day en route to a 63-28 win over Marshall on Saturday at Robertson Stadium.
With a 376-yard, six-touchdown performance, senior quarterback Case Keenum passed former Hawaii quarterback Timmy Chang to become the NCAA’s all-time leader in total offense. The six scores tied Keenum’s career high for passing touchdowns.
“I’m really, really happy for him and I think you can see that our team is really happy for him,” head coach Kevin Sumlin said.
“I can’t say enough about how he has approached this year. Seeing where he was in January to seeing him out there with that football, I’m really, really happy for him.”
Keenum was a meticulous 24-28 with no interceptions and the Cougars’ offense was unstoppable, scoring on nine of their first 11 drives. The Cougars scored quickly, amassing 621 yards on 57 plays, while having possession for just 17:45.
Patrick Edwards sparked the Cougars, hauling in a 70-yard touchdown pass from Keenum on 3rd and 11 a little more than a minute into the game.
“I thought our offensive line played extremely well tonight,” Keenum said. “I thought our tempo was really good and we were able to get them out of a couple of things they were trying to do. I think that’s what our offense is capable of doing when we get going and get rolling.
“It was a lot of fun tonight. It was fun playing and that’s what you come out to play for — times like that.”
The Cougars offensive line held Vinny Curry and the Herd sackless for the day. For the Cougars, Sammy Brown recorded three tackles for a loss, two sacks, tying Curry for the NCAA lead.
“He accepted a challenge this week,” Sumlin said.
“When you’re on the field the same time as the other guy, it becomes a contest. I think he accepted the challenge. If he can continue to be consistent and play that hard, I think he can be even better than he is now.”
The Cougars defense came up in big spots. With the Thundering Herd marching down the field in the final minutes of the first half, the Cougars came up with a goal-line stand that preserved UH’s three-touchdown lead going into the second half.
“It gave us some momentum,” Sumlin said. “It gave our defense some confidence. The score differential was important.
“For them to leave with 14 points instead of possibly 21, it was a big deal. It just shows what we’re capable of. We just have to keep playing.”
Starting safety Colton Valencia did not play again, and Bryce Beall was absent for the offense.
Without Beall, Charles Sims and Michael Hayes carried the load out of the Cougars’ backfield. On seven carries, Sims gained 75 and one touchdown, while Hayes caught three passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns.
Because they scored so quickly and often, the Cougars defense played 84 downs against the Herd.
“That’s pretty tough on our defense,” Keenum said. “We put a lot of pressure on our defense for being out there for so long.
“You got to give it our guys for playing hard.”
Marcus McGraw recorded 17 tackles, the third highest total of his career, including two for a loss.
Kelvin King and Derrick Mathews each picked off passes with Mathews returning his for his first career touchdown.
The win puts the Cougars at 7-0, their best start since 1990 when they won their first eight.