KEENUM VALIDATES HEISMAN HYPE
By mark rogers
September 13, 2009
I even argued about it with a friend of mine named Shaun. I thought that it was too early in the year for the Cowboys to get caught off guard. I was wrong.
Shaun? You were right. And I'm happy.
But what a game that was.
Houston scored the first TD of the game off an OSU fumble deep in its own territory. They added a FG a few possessions later, and it was a pretty close game for most of the half. In fact, the time of possession was nearly identical.
Then UH went on a 96 yard drive with 5 minutes left in the 2nd quarter. On the ensuing kickoff ( I think the UH kicker was just trying to squib kick it), the ball caromed off a Cowboy and the Cougars recovered.
They scored another TD right before the half. 14 points in five minutes. A pivotal stretch in the game.
But the really impressive thing was what Houston was able to do in the second half.
Oklahoma State came out of the locker room with their grease hot, down 24-7, and scored three touchdowns. 21-0 was the third quarter score including an electrifying punt return by Dez Bryant.
Normally, a team ranked in the top 5, at home, that goes on a run like that, will end up running away with the game.
But that didn't happen.
So what was the turning point? How did Houston get the momentum back in its favor?
Oklahoma State was finally stopped late in the third and had to punt. They were deep in their own territory and had the Cougars placed at their own 35 yard line after a fair catch.
But there was a penalty, and they had to kick it again.
On the ensuing punt, Houston got a great return back to the Cowboys' 30 yard line. A swing of 35 yards.
The third quarter ended during the next drive, and Houston ended up scoring the first points of the fourth quarter on a fourth and goal plunge from the one yard line to retake the lead, 31-28.
The momentum OSU gained in the third quarter wouldn't have been stopped so quick had they not given up 14 points in the final 5 minutes of the half.
If that hadn't happened, the score could have been 28-10, a Houston TD in the fourth would have made it 28-17...not enough to get them back into Momentum's good graces.
But when that TD gives you the lead? Momentum here we come.
OSU answered with a 60 yard scoring drive, but what happened next will live in Houston lore forevermore.
OSU should have put the Cougars away early in the game, but when you let a good team hang around (even if you're at home) crazy things can happen.
And Houston needed crazy things to happen to win the game.
They'd already scored a TD on fourth and goal, so why not try it again on the next drive?
A fourth and goal that was tipped by an OSU defender...right into the hands of Houston. Mere inches away from falling incomplete and keeping the Cowboys in front. During the play, Keenum dodged and darted around Cowboy defenders until he could make a throw. They nearly had him more than once.
Instead, they're down three points needing a scoring drive to tie or take the lead.
So what happens? Another costly fumble. And although the Cougars didn't turn it into points, it was a lost opportunity for OSU to score. They started that drive inside UH territory.
OSU gets the ball back with 3:24 to go, down three. Plenty of time.
But then yet another crazy thing happened. A tipped ball, picked off by UH and returned for a TD. Game over.
Keenum played a magnificent game and has truly validated himself as a legitimate Heisman contender.
But if I'm on the OSU coaching staff? All I can do is shake my head at the dozens (seemed like hundreds) of missed tackles, costly penalties and untimely fumbles that led to the loss.
It just goes to prove that even really good teams can get beat at home if they don't wrap up, play disciplined defense and let good teams hang around for too long.
A great win for Houston. If they beat Texas Tech and win the conference? Case Keenum will get a free trip to NYC at the end of the year.
He is must-see-TV.
And once again, Shaun? Good call...maybe I'll start listening to you more often...about anything but the Dallas Cowboys. You hater.