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Tyler Smith had 170 yards rushing and two rushing and one receiving touchdown for Rice (2-6, 1-4). That included a 97-yard scoring run which was the longest TD run in school history.

“(Keenum) made plays every time they had to, and we couldn’t make plays that we needed to stop them,” Rice coach David Bailiff said. “We had some opportunities but didn’t get it done.”

The Owls were ahead 17-7 late in the first quarter before Keenum threw his first touchdown pass for 57 yards to Edwards. The teams exchanged field goals at the beginning of the second quarter to leave Rice up 20-17.

Keenum then threw three touchdown passes in a six minute span at the end of the first half to put Houston on top 38-20 and tie the touchdown passes record.

He set the record on a 41-yard pass to Charles Sims early in the third quarter to push the lead to 45-20. Keenum smiled and flashed the Cougar hand signal when he appeared on the jumbotron on the sidelines after setting the record. His teammates clapped and cheered while fans gave him a standing ovation.

He was 24 of 37 for 534 yards before he was replaced by backup Cotton Turner with eight minutes remaining.

“Those are video game numbers, something we couldn’t get stopped,” Rice linebacker Justin Allen said of Keenum’s performance. “The rain slowed down a little bit … I wished it would have rained all game. It stopped, and they got things cranked up. There was no looking back for them.”

Keenum, who was granted a sixth year of eligibility after tearing a knee ligament early last season, needs 267 yards passing to become the FBS’s all-time leader in passing yards which is held by Hawaii’s Tim Chang (17,072).

Tyron Carrier tied the NCAA record for career kickoff returns for touchdowns with seven by returning the opening kickoff 100 yards for a score. Carrier dashed down the right sideline and darted around the defense virtually untouched before outrunning the kicker for the score.

Actually, Carrier said no one got a finger on him on the return.

“Not a touch,” he said. “That’s the way it should be.”

He shares the record with C.J. Spiller of Clemson who had seven kickoff returns for touchdowns from 2006-09.

Carrier also had a touchdown reception, Sims had two and Justin Johnson added one for the Cougars.

Rice made it 7-3 with a 51-yard field goal by Chris Boswell early in the first quarter.

The Owls used a squib kick on the ensuing kickoff to keep the ball away from Carrier and defensive lineman Austin Lunsford fielded it and fumbled and Rice recovered.

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