A Smashing Debut In Houston

By Yolande Lezine
Updated: September 3, 2008

HOUSTON — The Kevin Sumlin era started in great fashion as Cougar quarterback Case Keenum threw for 359 yards and five touchdowns to lead Houston to a 55-3 victory over the Southern Jaguars at Robertson Stadium.

Everything seemed to click for the Cougars, who enjoyed the highest-scoring coaching debut in school history, eclipsing the 54 points Bill Meek’s first UH team put up against Montana in 1955.

11 Cougars had at least one reception. Receiver L.J. Castille and tight end Mark Hafner both caught two touchdown passes in the game. Castille’s first touchdown happened to come from a tipped pass.

“I just happened to be in the right place at the right time,” Castille said. “On the second touchdown, I told Case to throw it up and I just went and got it.”

The offense sparkled but the Cougars defense did too. They held the Jaguars to 252 total yards and kept them out of the end zone. Southern’s only score came on a 36-yard second quarter field goal by Josh Duran.

Despite winning by such a large margin, coach Sumlin impressed upon his team the need to keep focused on winning.

“It’s one game at a time. That’s where we are.”, Sumlin said. “This one’s over and we will enjoy it but we have another tough game next week at Oklahoma State.”

Cougars/Jaguars Notebook:

– Senior safety Kenneth Fontenotte looked good fielding punt returns for the Cougars. He also recovered a fumble in the game.

– Freshman, Nick Saenz from Pearland also had an interception in the game for Houston.

– A crowd of 26,555 came out to see the Cougars/Southern Jaguars game.

– The Cougars led 38-3 at halftime as Keenum was 25-of-31 for 334 yards at the half.