The No. 7 Houston Cougars and their at-large BCS hopes are put on the line against the No. 24 Southern Miss Golden Eagles in the Conference USA championship on Saturday in Houston.
The Cougars have only played three games this year that have been within a touchdown. Their average margin of victory has been 31.7 points this season as they have averaged 52.7 points per game. These two teams met last year with Southern Miss taking a 59-41 victory, although Houston's Heisman trophy candidate Case Keenum didn't play in last years' game due to a season-ending injury.
It's almost impossible to talk about this game and not have the focus be on the Cougars' starting quarterback Case Keenum and the season he has been having. He's thrown for 4,726 yards this season on a 73% completion percentage, throw in 43 touchdowns and just three interceptions and you have the reason why he is a Heisman trophy hopeful.
The Golden Eagles are led by their quarterback Austin Davis, who has had a great year for Southern Miss as well. He's thrown for over 3,000 yards and has 28 touchdowns on the season. Running back Jamal Woodyard has 643 yards rushing on a 6.4 yards per carry average for the Golden Eagles, including three rushing touchdowns. But it's the Golden Eagles defense that is going to have to find out a way to slow down Keenum and the Cougars.
Two of the Cougars games this season that finished within a touchdown were against UTEP (49-42) and Louisiana Tech (35-34). Both of those teams also played Southern Miss this year as the Golden Eagles beat UTEP 31-13 and Louisiana Tech 19-17 earlier this season.
Houston sits at No. 6 this week in the current BCS rankings trailing LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma State, Stanford and Virginia Tech. The Cougars must win to keep their at-large BCS hopes alive.