Posted by Adam Jacobi
There can't be many positives that come out of a 31-13 loss for a ranked team -- especially when the victor is UCLA -- but Houston's loss yesterday is going to hamper the Cougars for the rest of the season.
During the game, All-American quarterback Case Keenum tore his ACL while trying to make a tackle (incidentally, not the first time he's been hurt like that this season), and is done for the year. His backup, Cotton Turner, then broke his clavicle one quarter later. He's also out for the balance of the season. And just like that, one of the best positional units in the country is now one of the most unstable. Freshman Terrance Broadway is expected to take the majority of snaps now, but there's really no telling how he'll perform.
Ironically, if Keenum were singularly focused on setting collegiate passing records, this injury might actually be something of a blessing; Keenum's injury came during the third game of the 2010 season, meaning he's almost assured of receiving clearance for a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA. The NCAA's cutoff for medical hardship waivers is 30% of a season, after all, and our trusty calculator here tells us Keenum participated in only 25% of this season.
Further, ACL tears aren't the catastrophes they used to be; while Keenum's season is most certainly over, an 8- to 9-month recovery period puts him on the practice field by the start of summer. That means Keenum only needs 4,122 yards to break the record next season, rather than the 4,758 he needed coming into this year. While we wouldn't recommend "season-ending injury in the middle of senior year" as a path to statistical glory, of course, we are just sayin' -- three extra starts never hurt anyone's stats.
Oh, and this injury has no relation -- karmic or otherwise -- to the poor decision Houston made in starting Keenum so quickly after suffering "concussion-like symptons" (NOTE: this is, effectively, a concussion, and Houston was trying to draw a distinction without a difference in obfuscating the matter). Keenum should not have started, but an extra week of recovery for his brain would have had no bearing on whether his knee was injured.