HOUSTON (AP) -- Case Keenum threw for 323 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another in the first half and No. 25 Houston cruised to a 73-14 win over Rice on Saturday night to capture the Conference USA West division title.
The win avenges last year's 56-42 loss to the rival Owls which kept the Cougars out of the C-USA championship game.
Tyron Carrier returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a score and Houston tied a school record with 59 first-half points to get its place in next Saturday's title game at East Carolina. With this one wrapped up at halftime, Keenum and many of Houston's other starters didn't play after the break.
Charles Sims added a pair of scores for Houston (10-2, 6-2) and Carrier scored on a 37-yard run in the second quarter to break a two-game winning streak for Rice (2-10, 2-6) which opened the season 0-9.