Coogs rout UTEP, but Keenum hurt

Houston quarterback Case Keenum (7) scrambles from UTEP's Bernard Obi, right, during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Friday, Sept. 10, 2010, in Houston. (AP Photo/Dave Einsel)

September 11, 2010 2:03:39 AM PDT
Bryce Beall rushed for 195 yards and three touchdowns to lead Houston to a 54-24 victory over UTEP on Friday night. [SPORTS BLOG: Read the latest from the Eyewitness Sports team]

Michael Hayes added three touchdowns for the Cougars, who lost quarterback Case Keenum to an undisclosed injury in the third quarter.

The Cougars (2-0) extended a school record with their 17th straight home win.

Quarterback Trevor Vittatoe was 30 of 54 for 340 yards and three touchdowns for the Miners (1-1).

Beall's touchdowns were 5, 1 and 2 yards, while Hayes' were from 4, 9 and 2 yards as the Cougars finished with 643 yards of total offense, 309 rushing.

Keenum was injured late in the third quarter with the Cougars leading 37-17. Keenum was intercepted by Travaun Nixon and he tried to make a tackle on the play, missed, and was slow to get up. He was 15 of 24 for 265 yards and an interception.

The Cougars led 31-10 at halftime, as Bell and Hayes combined for 150 yards rushing and four touchdowns.

After the Miners used a nine-play drive to take a 7-0 lead on their first possession, Houston answered with Hayes' first score of the game. That five-play drive was set up by a 61-yard pass from Keenum to Patrick Edwards on the preceding play.

The Cougars made it 14-7 later in the first quarter when Beall ran the ball in from 5 yards out to cap an eight-play stampede. After a costly pass interference call against UTEP in the end zone, Hayes and Beall needed just five plays to double the lead.

Matt Hogan made a 19-yard field goal early in the second quarter, and the Miners' Dakota Warren answered from 22 yards out to make it 17-7 with 6:04 left in the half. But the Cougars closed the second quarter with 14 straight points to take a commanding lead.

With 4:18 left, Beall scored his second touchdown from 1 yard out after Keenum hit Edwards for a 44-yard gain on the second play of the drive.

After the teams traded turnovers, the Cougars got the ball back with less than 2 minutes to go and scored as Hayes capped a five-play drive from 9 yards out with 25 seconds left in the half.

Houston outscored the Miners 23-14 in the second half as Hayes and Beall each added one more touchdown to close out the blowout.