Making the Case
Making the Case
2011-03-16 00:00:00

By Greg Tepper //

Case Keenum is both a victim and beneficiary of circumstance.

On one hand, Keenum's 2010 fifth-year senior season was cut short after just two games when he suffered a torn ACL in the Cougars' loss to UCLA. It was a devastating blow to Houston, who kind of went into a tailspin and finished the season 5-7.

On the other hand, the Abilene Wylie product now has a chance to establish himself as one of the greatest quarterbacks in college history.

As it stands now, Case Keenum ranks 5th in passing yards (13,586 yards), 7th in total offense (14,448 yards), 7th in pass completions (1,118), 8th in touchdown passes (107) and 10th in pass attempts (1,626).

It is conceivable -- maybe not probable, but conceivable -- that he could finish first in all of the categories after his sixth year, which he was declared eligible for by the NCAA in January.

In order to pass Hawaii legend Timmy Chang, the NCAA's all time leading passer with 17,072 yards, Keenum needs 3,486 passing yards next season. In his first three full seasons (not including the injury-shortened 2010), Keenum averaged 4316.6 yards passing per season. If you take out his redshirt freshman year of 2007, that average jumps to 5345.5 yards passing per season. I think Keenum is a lock to be the NCAA’s all-time leading passer.

As far as total offense is concerned, the task is actually a little easier. Chang is also the record holder there, though his record is 16,910 yards (remember: sacks count against a quarterback’s rushing total in college statistics). That means Keenum needs just 2,462. It’s hard to fathom a situation where Keenum breaks the passing record while not getting the total offense record as well.

On to pass completions, where Texas Tech and Ennis’ own Graham Harrell holds the crown at 1,403 pass completions. So, Keenum needs to complete 285 passes in 2011 to take that title. In 2008, his first big year, Keenum completed 397 passes; he completed an astonishing 492 passes in 2009. If Keenum attempted just 550 passes – 39 less than he tried in 2008 – he’d only have to complete 51.8 percent to reach Harrell. Keenum’s a lock for this one, too.

What about career touchdown passes?  This one might be a little tougher. He needs to get to 134 to reach the FBS record held by Harrell, which means he’d need 27 scoring strikes in 2011. Doable, sure; he threw for 44 in both 2008 and 2009. But to get to the all-time college football record , held by both Jimmy Terwilliger of East Stroudsburg (Div. II) and Justin Peery of Westminster (Div. III), Keenum would need to get to 148 touchdown passes – 41 touchdown passes. That one might be tricky; that’d be a heck of a season.

And finally, there’s pass attempts. The clubhouse leader is Chang, at 2,436 pass attempts. Keenum is 810 attempts away from that mark. Not only would that be a remarkable number for Keenum – he threw 700 times in 2009 – but it would be remarkable for all of college football; BJ Symons of Texas Tech has the current record for pass attempts in a season when he threw a whopping 719 times in 2003. I think this one is out of reach.

Still, it’s wholly possible for Keenum to end his career as the NCAA’s all-time leader in passing yards, total offense, pass completions and touchdown passes. That would be a nice cap on a career defined almost entirely by circumstance.

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