The Houston Cougars may be the ranked and favored team tonight, but that doesn't mean they won't be intimidated playing UCLA. Per Steve Campbell of the Houston Chronicle:
"I'd say out of the 66 guys that are traveling, probably 60 have never seen a mountain in their life," Sumlin said. "One of the reasons we want to play the game is because it's part of the experience for young men that a lot of people don't have from this area of the country."
Quarterback Case Keenum is expected to play for Houston, eight days after suffering what is determined as "mild concussion symptoms." The distinction is important, writes Campbell, as there are strict university guidelines to deal with such injuries:
It's entirely possible and plausible that in following the concussion management plan, doctors determined that Keenum's symptoms didn't actually add up to a concussion. Hence the use of "apparent concussion" in the Chronicle's subsequent accounts in tracking how the Cougars proceed in the wake of an injury to a star player who finished eighth in the Heisman Trophy voting last season.
If Keenum is unable to play, backup quarterback Cotton Turner (the perfect name for a quarterback in the state of Texas if you ask me) is ready to step in and run the same offense, writes Christopher Losse of The Daily Cougar:
“He probably got more reps than Case did, with the number of scrimmages in the spring. You try to prepare the best you can for situations like this. I think the preparation our staff has done with him, his own preparation, being with and behind Case and how he prepares every week has really taught him what to do mentally.”
Houston is listed anywhere from a three and a half to a four-point favorite over UCLA tonight.