The Houston Cougars only get three opportunities in the 2010 regular season to showcase their squad against a school from a BCS AQ conference. One of those opportunities is against the UCLA Bruins on Saturday night in the Rose Bowl.
After receiving a big hit on an interception against UTEP on Friday night, quarterback Case Keenum "displayed symptoms of a mild concussion" and was held out for the rest of the game. All week, Keenum has been listed as day-to-day and his status was unknown against the Bruins.
Houston, currently ranked No. 23 in the AP poll, relies on Keenum to lead the high-octane offense that is currently first in the nation in total points and ninth in passing yards. Luckily for Houston, Keenum has been cleared to play.
As part of the University of Houston's concussion management program "an athlete would take approximately one week to proceed through the full rehabilitation protocol once they are asymptomatic at rest and provocative exercise."
The UCLA game is outside the minimum requirements UH guidelines provide for its athletes to overcome symptoms related to concussions.
However, there is no guarantee Keenum will actually see action against the Bruins.There are still variables that can trigger the recurrence of concussion-like symptoms according to Dr. Walter Lowe, who is one of the University of Houston's team doctors and is on the school's concussion management team.
So while there is no guarantee that Keenum will start against UCLA, the fact that he has been medically cleared at this point is a great sign for Houston. The Heisman hopeful has been stellar even in very limited action, throwing for over 500 yards and five touchdowns in what amounts to about a game and a half.
Keenum's backup, junior Cotton Turner, played well in Keenum's absence against UTEP. Stepping in to complete 17 of 21 passes and throw for a pair of touchdowns himself. However, UCLA will present a more formidable defense than the Miners, and having Keenum under center will help ease any concerns of a potential upset from the Bruins.