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NCAA Game Summary - Rice at Houston



(Saturday, November 28th)

Final Score: (25) Houston 73, Rice 14

Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Case Keenum threw for 323 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score, as 25th-ranked Houston walloped the Rice Owls, 73-14, to claim Conference USA's West division and a spot in the league championship game.

Keenum was an efficient 25-of-31 passing and led the Cougars' offense to scoring drives on each of their first eight possessions, stretching into the second half.

Charles Sims ran for 87 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries, and Bryce Beall carried the ball six times for 65 yards and a score.

Tyron Carrier rushed for a score, caught three passes for 54 yards and set the tone for the blowout by taking the opening kickoff back 99 yards to the end zone for Houston (10-2, 6-2 C-USA), which racked up 684 yards of offense.

L.J. Castile, Patrick Edwards and Kierrie Johnson each topped 65 yards receiving and scored in the win.

Houston will square off with East Carolina next Saturday for the Conference USA championship.

"We worry about what we can control. Our team has played really well over the last couple weeks, and we needed that. You have to keep getting better, especially when you're involved in a championship type run. We're on the right track with how well we're playing and how many guys we're playing," remarked Cougars head coach Kevin Sumlin.

Nick Fanuzzi completed 16-of-30 passes for 132 yards and was intercepted twice while Ryan Lewis also threw an interception amidst three pass attempts.

Charles Ross rushed 10 times for 105 yards and two TDs while catching four passes for 30 yards. Tyler Smith ran for 113 yards on 21 carries for Rice (2-10, 2-6), which had won its only two games of the season in each of the last two weeks.

Carrier's 99-yard kickoff return was a harbinger of things to come as Houston held leads of 24-0 after the first quarter and 59-0 at halftime.

"They were ready to go, and we weren't. So much of football is attitude, and we got on our heels and never recovered," said Rice head coach David Baliff. "The hardest thing for me is that I feel like I let a bunch of seniors down. They have invested four or five years here at Rice, and you do everything you can as a man to let them go out there and win it."

Keenum's one-yard keeper and a 45-yard interception return by Brandon Brinkley for a score had Houston out to a quick 21-0 lead. Matt Hogan's 22-yard field goal closed out the first frame for a 24-0 difference.

Sims scored two rushing touchdowns in the second and Carrier scored on a 37- yard reverse while Edwards and Castile hauled in TD tosses from Keenum to build up an incredible 59-0 advantage at the break.

It became a 66-0 affair shortly into the third quarter as Johnson's 19-yard TD grab from backup quarterback Cotton Turner capped a blurring scoring stretch for the Cougars, who punted for the first time with seven minutes left in the frame. That followed the Owls' first score of the contest -- an 11-yard scoring run from Ross.

Ross found the end zone again from four yards away for a 66-14 game entering the final 15 minutes, in which Houston tacked on another TD on Beall's one- yard plunge.

Game Notes

Rice had 377 yards of offense and held the ball five minutes more than Houston in the lopsided loss...Castile totaled 76 yards on six catches, Edwards 68 on four grabs and Johnson gained 66 yards with three receptions...Turner completed 8-of-10 passes for 112 yards and a score in relief of Keenum.

11/29 02:21:41 ET