Midseason Report: Houston

Houston Cougars

Record: 3-2 (2-0 Conference USA)

A season that started with incredibly high expectations has turned into one of survival. Case Keenum came into the year with Heisman buzz and the hope that he would become the NCAA career passing leader after back-to-back 5,000 yard seasons. But his season came to an abrupt end against UCLA when he tore his ACL trying to make a tackle following an interception he threw. Backup Cotton Turner broke his clavicle in the same game, leaving the Cougars with two true freshmen at quarterback. Terrance Broadway has started a game, and David Piland has started a game. Coach Kevin Sumlin says he will stick with Piland, who threw for 300 yards in a loss to Mississippi State last week. Meanwhile, a defense that is transitioning to the 3-4 is still struggling against the run, giving up an average of 212 yards a game, ranking No. 112 in the country. What once was going to be a fight to win the conference has now turned into a fight just to get to a bowl game.

Offensive MVP, RB Bryce Beall: He had his worst performance of the season last week against Mississippi State with 17 yards on eight carries, but there probably is a reason for it. Teams are now going to be keying in on him to make Piland beat them through the air. Beall has had a nice season, running for 435 yards and nine touchdowns.

Defensive MVP, LB Marcus McGraw: McGraw leads the team in tackles for the second straight year and has 47 so far, with 15 sacks and two forced and recovered fumbles. He topped 300 career tackles last week against Mississippi State. Mention also goes to cornerback Loyce Means, who has three interceptions this season.