Oct. 17, 2009
NEW ORLEANS, New Orleans (AP) - Case Keenum's lowest passing total of the season was still pretty good, and more than enough to help No. 23 Houston win its first conference game of the season.
Keenum was 30 of 43 for 334 yards and two touchdowns, and the Cougars defeated Tulane 44-16 on Saturday.
Tulane (2-4, 0-3) now has lost 37 straight to ranked teams since 1982.
Green Wave starting quarterback Joe Kemp had another inconsistent outing, going 10 of 15 for 124 yards, an interception and drive-stalling sack. For a second straight game, he was pulled in favor of redshirt freshman Ryan Griffin, who produced Tulane's only touchdown on a 3-yard pass to Antoine Duplessis in the back of the end zone early in the fourth quarter.
Houston was in command by then, however, and responded with another touchdown of its own on Johnson's 6-yard run to make it 37-13.
Tulane's Andre Anderson ran for 108 yards on 18 carries. Griffin finished 12 of 18 for 126 yards.
Cougars receiver Chaz Rodriguez had six catches for 84 yards, including a 34-yarder that was Houston's longest gain from scrimmage.
Houston entered the game averaging 569.2 yards and 40.2 points per game, but Tulane's defense, rated first against the pass in Conference USA coming in, slowed the Cougars substantially in the first half.
Clock-eating drives powered by Anderson's hard running led to Ross Thevenot's field goals of 43 and 35 yards, the second putting Tulane ahead 6-3 with 11:03 left in the first half.
Houston got going after that, though, responding with a 12-play, 66-yard touchdown drive capped by Beall's 1-yard run. The series demonstrated how quickly the Cougars can move the ball with their no-huddle attack. They consumed just 2:38 on the drive. Ben Bell's point-after try missed, keeping Houston's lead at 9-6.
Houston drove deep into Tulane territory again on its next drive, but Bell hooked a short field goal try wide left a few minutes before halftime.
The Cougars went up 15-6 on the opening drive of the second half, this time needing only 1:58 to cover 60 yards in eight plays. The drive ended with Johnson's 3-yard run for his first career touchdown.
Houston struck again after Jeremy Smith blocked Thevenot's punt deep in Green Wave territory. Two plays later, Keenum rolled right and found Cleveland in the back of the end zone to make it 22-6.
Beall's second touchdown, a 1-yard run late in the third quarter, capped a 9-play, 83-yard scoring drive that put Houston up 29-6, leaving little doubt about the result.