Houston 35 ... at Louisiana Tech 34

Posted Sep 17, 2011

Week 3 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - Houston at Louisiana Tech

2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 3 - Houston at La Tech

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Sept. 17 Houston 35 ... at Louisiana Tech 34
CFN Analysis: COMING

(AP) RUSTON, La. -- Case Keenum led Houston to 28 unanswered points in a furious second-half rally that kept the Cougars undefeated with a 35-34 win over Louisiana Tech on Saturday night.

Trailing 34-7 near the end of the third quarter, Keenum found Patrick Edwards for a 50-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 34-14. Touchdown runs of 2 and 4 yards by Bryce Beall cut it to 34-28.

With less than two minutes remaining, Keenum connected with E.J. Smith for 26 yards, then found Edwards again for a 32-yard scoring catch that put the Cougars (3-0) ahead to stay.

The senior quarterback completed 25 of 40 passes for 351 yards and three touchdowns.

After Keenum's 54-yard scoring pass to Michael Hayes in the second quarter brought Houston within 10-7, Louisiana Tech (1-2) scored the next 24 points, including two rushing touchdowns by Ray Holley.

Houston (2-0) at Louisiana Tech (1-1) Sept. 17, 7:00, ESPN3.com

Here's The Deal … Although it took a while to get the offensive engine cranking, Houston eventually got on track in Week 2 to cruise past North Texas, 48-23. The Cougars executed far better in the passing game than in the opener with UCLA, generating 563 yards and five touchdowns from Case Keenum and his backup, Cotton Turner. Residing on the outskirts of the Top 25, the program is after more national respect, which will be difficult to garner against a soft remainder of the schedule. For the second straight week, Louisiana Tech took part in a nail-biter, surviving in overtime against Central Arkansas, 48-42. The offensive outburst tied a program-best under head coach Sonny Dykes, lending hope that the team is digesting his passer-friendly system. The Bulldogs are about to start a wicked three-game stretch that includes Saturday's game with Houston, a trip to Mississippi State and visit from Hawaii.

Why Houston Might Win: Louisiana Tech had all kinds of problems shutting down Central Arkansas QB Nathan Dick, which does not bode well for this weekend's game. The Cougars are a souped-up version of the Bears that features Keenum and a cadre of playmaking weapons. Houston leads the country in passing through two games, and Keenum looked like his old self against North Texas on Saturday. The toughest part of defending the Cougs is that so many gifted athletes, from backs Bryce Beall and Michael Hayes to receivers Tyron Carrier and Patrick Edwards, are capable of being the MVP on a given day.

Why Louisiana Tech Might Win: While the Cougars harbor quality athletes on the defensive side of the ball, consistency is not their trademark. Houston has yet to notch a sack in 2011, and is especially vulnerable to balanced attacks. Enter the Bulldogs. Tech will lean on RB Lennon Creer, who's fresh off a 177-yard, three-touchdown effort in the Central Arkansas win. Plus, true freshman QB Nick Isham is gradually learning the ropes, going 22-of-37 for 318 yards, two touchdowns and a pick on Saturday. With Coffeyville (Kans.) Community College transfer Quinton Patton lighting it up at wide receiver, the Bulldogs have enough firepower to match the Cougars' scoring drives.

What To Watch Out For: The Cougars did a solid job against the run last week, limiting star North Texas RB Lance Dunbar to 62 yards and a score on 18 carries. Can Houston maintain that level of toughness against an even better runner, Tech's Creer? It depends on how well the Cougars linebackers are able to sift through the traffic and make plays near the line of scrimmage. As always, leading tackler Marcus McGraw and rush specialist Sammy Brown will help form the first line of defense, selling out in order to prevent Creer from dictating the tempo of the game.

What Will Happen: Louisiana Tech is getting close to becoming a feisty team out of the WAC. The offense is moving north, and the D has front seven stoppers in LB Adrien Cole and DE Matt Broha. However, the Bulldogs are catching Houston at an inopportune time. The Cougars generated momentum, especially on offense, in the North Texas win that'll carry over into Week 3. Keenum will continue his ascent up the all-time passer rankings, throwing three touchdown passes and outshining Tech's Creer.

CFN Prediction: Houston 45 … Louisiana Tech 28
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: Houston -8    O/U: 58.5

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