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Case Keenum vs. Rice: Riveting record or ridiculous ‘running it up’?


Case Keenum seems to be setting records on a weekly basis. Houston’s senior quarterback is in his sixth-year of eligibility and is lighting up Conference USA scoreboards each game. Against Marshall two weeks ago, Keenum became the FBS career leader in total offense when he broke former Hawaii quarterback Timmy Chang’s record. Last week against Rice, Keenum set the all-time FBS touchdown pass record at 139 – breaking former Texas Tech gunslinger Graham Harrell’s mark of 134. However, many observers around college football were shaking their heads that Keenum was still tossing touchdown passes in the fourth quarter of the blowout win over the Owls. In a 73-34 rout, Keenum threw nine touchdowns against a Rice defense that ranks 118th (out of 120) in the nation.

Keenum’s nine-TD night: record-setting or ‘running it up’?

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven
Keenum might have been in the game a little longer than was necessary, but Houston's defense did give up 34 points and I can't blame coach Kevin Sumlin for wanting to make sure no comeback could have occurred. Also, since this is Keenum's final year and he had a chance to make headlines in the record book, Sumlin and his staff want to make sure the senior gets a shot to enjoy the final few games of his collegiate career. The Cougars easily could have run the ball, but this is the offense they use. Houston can't easily get into the I-formation and run out the clock. I don't like when any team runs up the score, but it is Rice's job to stop Houston. If the Owls are going to give up a 10-yard pass and let the Cougars run 40 yards for a score, then that's on the defense. Houston probably could have pulled Keenum at the end of three quarters, but Rice also needs to do a better job on defense and not allow the Cougars to score so easily.

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Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman
It was definitely running up the score, especially throwing downfield that much after the game was decided. Case Keenum has had an amazing career, and it’s good to see him bounce back after last season’s painful injury. His stellar play and Houston’s undefeated record were enough to get national attention; beating up on poor Rice does not impress anyone. Unfortunately, this was the third game in a row where Keenum has thrown a fourth-quarter touchdown pass in a blowout contest against a losing team. I lost a little respect at the end of the Rice game for Houston coach Kevin Sumlin, who must have been channeling his inner-John Jenkins from the David Klingler era. Most around college football did not notice or will forget quickly when Sumlin most likely moves on to a bigger BCS job after this season, but there was nothing to be gained with nine touchdown passes against defenseless Rice.

Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden
Probably a little bit of both. From a philosophical standpoint, I firmly believe in letting the game play out. If you, as a defensive player or coach, don't appreciate someone running up the score, then it's your responsibility to stop them. So I never fault anyone for trying to score points – especially not a player who has accounted for more yards and more touchdowns than any player in NCAA history. But Kevin Sumlin and the Cougars know they can't just win every game to reach a BCS bowl game, but they have to win big. So it is tough for me to blame them for looking to post big numbers every time out there.

Of course, it makes things a bit easier when you have a quarterback who is posting the biggest numbers in NCAA history.