Birmingham, Ala. Case Keenum is taking aim at another NCAA passing record against one of the nation’s most porous defenses.
The quarterback for No. 14 Houston enters tonight’s visit to UAB needing just 267 yards to become college football’s most prolific passer. These days, that’s a good half for Keenum.
Barring injury, Keenum should have no problem overtaking the NCAA career passing yards mark of 17,072 held by Hawaii’s Timmy Chang against the Blazers (1-7, 1-4 Conference USA).
Using this game to impress poll voters might be much harder for the Cougars (8-0, 4-0), who are 28-point favorites and easily the lowest ranked of college football’s six remaining unbeaten teams. The others hold down the top five spots in the rankings.
A win gives Houston its first 9-0 start.
“We try not to look at the big picture too much,” Keenum said. “We obviously know that there is something special out there, but a lot of these guys were around in 2009 when we got up pretty high in the rankings (No. 12) and fell off towards the end of the year. We know that was fun, but we also know there is a lot more out there.
“We’ve been to this point and fell off so we know the importance of taking it one week at a time and we know the importance of winning.”
And if records fall along the way, all the better.
Keenum posted the best numbers of any major college quarterback this season in his last outing against Rice, when he threw for 534 yards and nine touchdowns. That performance gave him the NCAA career mark for TD passes.
Now, he’ll face a UAB defense that ranks 116th nationally in pass efficiency defense, 115th in total defense and 112th in scoring defense. The Blazers are coming off a 59-14 loss at Marshall after securing their first win of the season against Central Florida.
Now comes a much more daunting challenge: The Cougars’ offense leads the country in passing and total yards and scoring, averaging 612.4 yards and 52.3 points a game.
“Offensively, they have as many or maybe more weapons than I have ever seen on a college football team at receiver, quarterback and running back,” UAB coach Neil Callaway said. “You name it, they have it.”
However, it starts with Keenum, who is set to add to a resume that already includes career records for total offense (17,692), touchdown passes (139) and touchdowns responsible for (159).
Wide receiver Tyron Carrier said the Cougars hope to savor the records someday, especially the ones involving wins and losses.
“None of that really matters unless you win,” said Carrier.