Texas State stayed in its football opener at Houston for about ten minutes Saturday, but the Bobcats weren’t about to stand in the way of Houston’s resurgence.
The Cougars, who are on the verge of entering the national ratings, won their 16th straight game at Robertson Stadium, crushing Texas State, 68-28.
Houston struck quickly and often, jumping to a 54-7 halftime lead before removing quarterback Case Keenum, who completed 17 of 22 passes for 274 yards and five touchdowns in the first half.
The largest Cougar crowd in the history of Robertson Stadium, 32,119, watched the home team torch Texas State for 342 in only 29 offensive snaps in the first half. That performance continued a bit of a theme for the Cougars, who blasted out fo a halftime lead of 59-0 in their home finale against Rice last season.
Keenum connected with Michael Hayes for a 40-yard touchdown on Houston’s first possession, then me completed a 63-yard touchdown to Patrick Edwards on its second.
Texas State quarterback Tyler Arndt, the freshman from Cuero, drove the Bobcats to a touchdown, finishing the job with a 14-yard touchdown run with 4:26 left in the first quarter to bring them within 13-7.
But that moment of possibility soon went away. The Houston offense scored five straight touchdowns, three on touchdown passes by Keenum and two on runs by Bryce Beall. The Houston defense got in on the act with 2:10 left in the half, when Matt Nicholson picked off Texas State quarterback Tim Hawkins and took it back 42 yards for a touchdown to make it 54-7.
Right out of halftime, Houston backup quarterback Cotton Turner threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Sweeney, giving the Cougars a 61-7 lead. Five minutes into the second half, Hayes ran five yards for a touchdown, increasing Houston’s lead to 68-7.
At that point, Houston called off all the dogs and Texas State scored the remaining three touchdowns. Arndt threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Eric Gentry in the third quarter. Frank Reddic ran a yard for one touchdown in the fourth quarter, and Arndt ran five yards for another with 1:19 left in the game.
Arendt stood out as the night’s top discovery for the Bobcats. The freshman completed 14 of 22 passes for 153 yards. Hawkins, the sophomore who started the game, just didn’t have it, completing one of nine passes for 12 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns. Hawkins didn’t add a lot to the running game, either, carrying four times for seven yards.
Texas State running back Karrington Bush, who rushed for 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons before a knee injury derailed him last year, had been something of a question during fall training camp. But Bush played Saturday night, rushing for 73 yards in 19 carries with a long of 22 yards. Dexter Imade gained 73 yards in 20 carries for the Bobcats.
The Bobcats, 0-1, will play their home opener on Sept. 11 against Southern Arkansas. Houston, 1-0, plays at home next Friday night against Texas-El Paso.