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 today’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.
Using this game to impress poll voters might be much harder for the Cougars (8-0, 4-0 Conference USA), 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.
“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.”
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 (1-7, 1-4) 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.
“Obviously they have probably the best offense in the country,” UAB coach Neil Callaway said. “They are averaging over 600 yards a game. In conference play, they are averaging over 60 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. You name it, they have it.”
However, it starts with Keenum and wide receivers Patrick Edwards and Tyron Carrier. Edwards posted the biggest numbers of any receiver this season when he had 318 yards on seven catches and scored on five of them in that 73-34 victory over Rice.
He’s second nationally with 1,069 yards and first with 11 touchdown receptions. Carrier, who has returned seven kicks for touchdowns in his career, already holds the school record with 277 career receptions.
Keenum, though, 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).