An upside-down peace sign, a 9-TD night and Case Keenum's record-setting career at Houston

Patrick Edwards and Case Keenum were a dominating combo at the University of Houston. Thomas Campbell/US Presswire

Long before Case Keenum and Adam Thielen were leading the way for the Minnesota Vikings' offense, the Minnesota quarterback lit up scoreboards with a different favorite target.

From 2007-11, Keenum birthed his legend at the University of Houston, setting nine individual NCAA passing records that remain untouched to this day. It's the place where he and former Cougars receiver Patrick Edwards became one of college football's hottest duos, throwing up major numbers that turned into milestone achievements by the end of their senior season.

Edwards walked on at UH in 2007 and redshirted. Although he didn't start catching Keenum's passes for another year to start his journey toward becoming Houston's all-time leading receiver, Edwards credited his quarterback with molding him as soon as he stepped on campus.

"He took my game to the next level," Edwards said. "He actually taught me football. Coming in, I'm young, just going off talent and hadn't really been around anybody with the knowledge of the game like he has. He taught me there's more to the game than just playing."

Their chemistry was off the charts. By 2011, when Keenum was granted a sixth year of eligibility after he tore his ACL the previous season, the quarterback was given freedom to make calls and checks at the line of scrimmage. When Edwards got a look or a signal pre-snap from Keenum, he knew his quarterback was setting him up for a big gain.

Picture this. Against Penn State in the 2012 TicketCity Bowl, Edwards was lined up in the slot on the Cougars' first series of the game. He was set to run an inside curl route, but Keenum saw a flat-footed safety playing about 10 yards off from Edwards.

"At the last minute before he hiked the ball, he signed me the peace sign upside down," Edwards said. "That was our 9-route. He believed I could run past him, and I ran past him. Scored a 40-yard touchdown."

Perhaps no story better paints the picture of how these two brought out the best in each other than Houston's 73-34 win over Rice in October 2011.

After scoring on the game-opening kickoff, Houston was quickly outscored 17-0. The skies gave way to heavy rainfall, which caused the football to slip out of Keenum's hands as he dropped back to pass and resulted in a scoop-and-score for Rice's defense.

Early on, Rice's secondary was locked up in man coverage, something Edwards felt showed a lack of respect for Houston's air-raid spread offense. The Owls didn't appear to have a desire to dial up coverages to stop what they had seen on film from the Cougars' prolific passing offense.

"It was like a slap in the face," Edwards said. "We just went to work on them."

On one final untimed play at the end of the first quarter, Keenum launched a deep ball that ignited a magical night for both him and his top receiver. Edwards, out of the slot, ran a post route for a 57-yard touchdown. His defender had no chance, a scenario that repeated itself over and over again.

Keenum broke the NCAA career passing touchdown record that game by throwing for 534 yards and nine touchdowns. Edwards averaged 45 yards per catch, finishing the night with seven receptions for 318 yards and five touchdowns. All of his receptions were at least 20 yards.

"Every pass he threw was on the money, as always," he said. "When he saw I had man coverage ... I was a fast receiver, and I could run past anybody. If [a defender is] 5, 6, 7 yards off me, he's going to signal me a go-route. He just put it up, and I'd go get it.

"[Keenum] always said once you get an opportunity, take full advantage of it. Everything else will fall in line. It did that game."

The Case Files: Each day leading up to the Minnesota Vikings' divisional-round matchup, get to know more about Minnesota quarterback Case Keenum with a series of stories told by those who have been part of his journey.

Monday: The inner kid and a life-long friendship.

Tuesday: How virtual reality transformed Keenum’s preparation.