It's too bad I couldn't be in Houston to see this one. The Coogs finally put together a complete, four-quarter game and steamrolled the Tulane Green Wave at Robertson Stadium Saturday night. It was Houston's sixth consecutive victory over Tulane.
The Cougars played sloppy football: they turned the ball over three times, they missed a field goal, they muffed (but fortunately recovered) a punt reception, they gave up two sacks and they committed a horrendous 143 yards in penalties (although, according to Chronicle reporter Michael Murphy, the officiating for this game was miserable; they threw flags when they shouldn't have, didn't throw flags when they should have, and couldn't even manage the game clock correctly).
But that sloppiness was offset by a UH offense that simply could not be stopped by Tulane. The Cougars threw for 394 yards and rushed for another 299 (so much for those early-season predictions of a one-dimensional offense under Kevin Sumlin) to total almost 700 total yards of offense. Quarterback Case Keenum accounted for all but ten of those passing yards, distributing the ball to nine different receivers and completing four touchdown passes. The rushing attack was led by Bryce Beall, who gained 176 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries; that's in addition to the 49 yards and one touchdown he notched as a receiver. Beall's offensive production against Tulane set a new record for a UH freshman; he has become one of the great stories of the season.
Tulane managed over 400 yards in total offense of their own, but they simply couldn't find the endzone. The UH defense held the Green Wave to 5-of-17 on third down conversions and 0-for-3 on fourth down conversions. It didn't help that Tulane missed three field goal attempts; the way the Cougars were scoring, however, those extra nine points wouldn't have mattered.
The Coogs are now 5-4 on the season and, with all of their last three games in Houston, still control their own destiny in the Conference USA western division. Next week's showdown against division-leading, 25-ranked Tulsa looms large. The Cougars, who were pummeled 56-7 by the Golden Hurricane last season, will likely need to play their best football of the year: while they were able to overcome their penalties and turnovers to beat Tulane; they simply won't be able to make the same mistakes against a tough Tulsa team and be able to win.
Unfortunately, I'm going to have to miss that one as well. I will, however, make it back to Houston to see the last two games of the season against UTEP and Rice.