(Note: The University of Houston athletic staff, citing potential game-planning advantages by opponents, did not allow photography during the scrimmage.)
The Houston Cougars' scrimmage on Saturday afternoon at Robertson Stadium did not start well. With Case Keenum finally back under center, an offensive lineman moved early, drawing a five-yard false start infraction. Coaches, obviously, were pissed.
But on the next true play, Keenum dropped back in the pocket and found wide receiver Patrick Edwards on a slant route. After dodging attempted tacklers, Edwards was on his way to a 65-yard score. Coaches, obviously, were thrilled, especially after Keenum and Edwards connected later for a five-yard touchdown.
Those were the highlights during a scrimmage that lasted a little over an hour on a sweaty afternoon at Robertson. Overall, Keenum, who sat out the latter half of the workout, looked capable as he played pitch and catch with fellow standout Edwards. (Keenum's other explosive target, Tyron Carrier, missed the scrimmage with a minor injury.)
Just like over at Rice Stadium earlier in the day, the Cougars' red-zone offense struggled, particularly reserve quarterback Cotton Turner, who fumbled a snap that was recovered by the defense. The senior was also intercepted at the goal line after his pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage.
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Meanwhile, sophomore quarterback David Piland made his case for playing time by leading Houston on three scoring drives that included a 65-yard march to pay dirt as well as two perfectly thrown passes to Mark Roberts and Kenneth Bibbins in the end zone.
UH's highly anticipated season opener takes place at home against UCLA at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, September 3. The game will mark the return of Keenum, who has a shot at breaking the NCAA record for passing yards, a mark that's currently held by former University of Hawaii gunslinger Timmy Chang. Keenum needs 3,487 passing yards to usurp Chang.