The Houston Cougars are now just one away from clinching a berth in the BCS after dsimnatling Tulsa, 48-16. It is still to be determined which game that will be, but most are expecting it to be the Sugar Bowl.
The Fiesta Bowl gets the first selection for at-large bids and if Michigan and Stanford knock off Ohio State and Notre Dame, they will likely get their names called first.
Still, just to be ranked in the top 10 and play in its very first BCS Bowl is nothing short of the most productive season in school history.
They did it in dominating fashion against a Tulsa team who was still undefeated in conference play. There were five things that jumped out to me during the woodshed beating.
Houston 48, Tulsa 16
Tulsa was just 107th in the country against the pass allowing 272 yards per game, but they were able to get some pressure early on against Keenum.
In fact, Keenum was pressured and forced to scramble for his life in the first quarter. But, Keenum eventually got some time to set his feet and he absolutely torched the Tulsa Golden Hurricane.
Patrick Edwards was the main threat hauling in eight passes for 181 yards and four touchdowns. One of the plays of the game was when Keenum hit Edwards on a fourth-and-10 deep in Tulsa's territory which resulted in a backbreaking 33 yard-touchdown.
It was just 13-10 early on in the third quarter until the Cougars offense slashed and dashed the Tulsa defense.
This is not a one-trick pony of an offense because record-setting quarterback Case Keenum has a bevy of options to throw to. Patrick Edwards is a non-aq superstar caliber of a player and Tyron Carrier has some skills as well, but that is not it.
First off, they have three BCS caliber running backs who could see significant playing time on almost any team ranked outside the top five-ten.
Bryce Beall (one carry), Charles Sims (12 carries) and Michael Hayes (12 carries) combined to only rush for 76 yards and a touchdown against Tulsa, but that is all the offense needed from the trio.
Wide receiver Justin Johnson is another no-name star for Houston that has been extremely productive this season (nine TDs).
Tulsa came in as the 19th-rated offense in total yards per game, averaging a whopping 465 yards.
G.J.Kinne is a solid quarterback, but the team relied a lot on its running game and the Cougars snuffed it out from the get-go.
Marcus McGraw, Sammy Brown and Derick Mathews are three next level caliber players at linebacker. They all run like deer and can hit you in the mouth on seemingly every play.
This defense gets zero credit because of the high caliber and mainly because the stats do not speak justice for this team.
One thing does: The scoreboard!
DJ Hayden is a player that has been playing exceptionally well at corner for Houston. He forced a turnover on downs late in the ball game which essentially ended it, but he was also the one who recovered a crucial fumble before halftime when Tulsa was going for the lead.
That was ultimately the game-changing point because Tulsa needed all the points they could get. Earlier in the first half they went for it on a fourth-and-one and got stuffed. They were later forced to kick a few late field-goals since they had no confidence against the Cougars defense.
Houston hung in their defensively for the first half and just tee'd off on Tulsa for the entire second half en route to their 48-16 beat down.
Case Keenum is a stud and throwing for 455 yards and five TDs is just another game for the star. He could be on his way to New York if he can find a way to win one more game in the Conference USA Championship at home next weekend (likely Southern Miss).
This team has had a knack for making the clutch plays time after time. Just when you think their offense is a funk or when the defense is getting gashed, they turn it up a notch where the opposing team has no shot at keeping it.
Kevin Sumlin has done one fine job as a head coach for the Cougars and he deserves some head coach of the year award whispers. This team stayed together all year long and likely Heisman invitee is the main reason why.