(Thursday, October 9th)
Final Score: Houston 45, UAB 20
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Houston scored 42 unanswered second-half points and Case Keenum threw two touchdown passes as the Cougars upended the UAB Blazers, 45-20, in a Conference USA showdown at Robertson Stadium.
Keenum rebounded from an awful first half for a normally potent offensive squad and led the team on five second-half scoring drives. He finished with 360 yards on 24-of-36 passing.
Bryce Beall racked up 177 all-purpose yards, 107 rushing on 12 attempts and 70 receiving for the Cougars (3-3, 2-0 C-USA), who were idle last week but upended then 23rd-ranked East Carolina, 41-24, in its most recent contest. Tyron Carrier caught seven passes for 108 yards and a score while Patrick Edwards also reeled in a score among a five-catch, 93-yard effort.
UAB's Joe Webb pained the Cougar defense with his arm and his legs in the first half, finishing with 234 yards through the air on 24-of-40 passing and 72 yards rushing on 25 attempts. Webb tossed a touchdown and rushed for another but threw three interceptions to let Houston back in the game.
Zach Lankford hauled in Webb's TD pass while Frantrell Forrest had eight receptions for 84 yards for the Blazers (1-6, 0-3), whose lone win came against a Football Championship Subdivision program in Alabama State.
Things shifted dramatically in the second half as UAB lost 12 yards on its first drive and Swayze Waters fumbled away the punt, giving Houston new life at the Blazer eight-yard line. Three plays later Keenum hit Carrier for a 14- yard score just under five minutes into the second half to cut the deficit in half at 20-10.
The Houston offense started to roll and took the next possession 89 yards, with Andre Kohn making it a 20-17 game on a three-yard run with just over 6 1/2 minutes to play in the third.
The Cougar defense struck the next blow as Brandon Brinkley picked off a Webb pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown with just under 1 1/2 minutes to play in the third, giving Houston its first lead at 24-20.
The Cougars continued their surge with Keenum connecting with Edwards on a 70-yard TD for a 31-20 game just 13 seconds into the final stanza.
The UAB offense continued to go south in the second half, gaining just two yards on the ensuing possession and on Houston's next turn, Beall turned on the jets and rumbled 78 yards to the Blazer two-yard line. After an incompletion, Beall found the end zone for a 38-20 lead.
Following another three-and-out from the Blazers offense, Houston embarked on a back-breaking 99-yard scoring drive, which Keenum capped with a QB-keeper from the one-yard line to account for the final score.
UAB took its opening drive 49 yards and Waters nailed a 50-yard field goal. The Blazers had a chance for more shortly thereafter when Houston coughed up a punt return on its own 17. Webb, however, was intercepted in the end zone on the Blazers' first play.
Webb atoned, though, by capping a nine-play, 61-yard drive with a three-yard score just 37 seconds into the second quarter for a 10-0 lead.
The Cougars continued to struggle mightily on offense and Keenum returned with three straight incompletions leading to a punt.
Webb again marched the Blazers downfield, this time 57 yards, to help set up a 23-yard field goal to take a 13-0 lead with 9:36 to go in the half.
Houston came back late in the quarter with its first sustained drive, a 49- yard trek that allowed Ben Bell to put the Cougars on the scoreboard with a 35-yard field goal with a little under 1 1/2 minutes until halftime.
The Blazers used 1:06 of that time to take the ball 80 yards and Webb found his tight end Lankford wide open, fading towards the left corner of the end zone for a 21-yard score and a 20-3 advantage at the break.
10/10 00:42:43 ET