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November 24, 2009

Inside the stats: Keenum could pass Harrell

Each week, we'll look at some statistics involving individuals and/or teams that we find intriguing.

1. Not just a passing fancy. Assuming Houston QB Case Keenum returns for his senior season - and given that he's not a top-flight NFL prospect, that seems a good assumption - he seems likely to finish his career as the major-college leader in career TD passes. The NCAA record for career TD passes is 134, held by Texas Tech's Graham Harrell (2005-08). Keenum has 94 heading into Saturday's game with Rice. If Houston beats the Owls, it advances to the C-USA championship game. After that, the Cougars will be in a bowl. That means Keenum is likely to have three more games this season to add to his total, then all of next season to try to catch Harrell.

2. These defenses never rest. Florida, Alabama and Texas are first, second and third, respectively, in this week's BCS standings. Alabama, Florida and Texas are first, second and third, respectively, in total defense. Florida, Alabama and Texas are first, second and seventh, respectively, in scoring defense. Texas, Alabama and Florida are first, second and seventh, respectively, in rush defense. Florida, Alabama and Texas are first, fifth and 22nd, respectively, in pass defense. Alabama, Florida and Texas are first, second and ninth, respectively, in pass-efficiency defense. And Texas, Florida and Alabama are first, second and sixth, respectively, in third-down conversion defense.

3. Block party. SMU redshirt freshman DE Margus Hunt is in his first year of football, but he already has developed a big-time knack for blocking kicks. Hunt has blocked four field-goal attempts and three point-after attempts this season; one more block and he ties an NCAA single-season record for blocks, held by Memphis' Ken Irvin (1992) and Central Michigan's James King (2001). SMU plays Tulane on Saturday - and Tulane has had six kicks (four punts, two field goals) blocked this season. Hunt, who is 6 feet 8 and 267 pounds, is at SMU because he is an elite track athlete. Hunt, an Estonian who won gold in the shot and discus at the 2006 World Junior Championships at Beijing, trains with SMU track coach Dave Wollman. He hopes to represent Estonia in the 2012 Olympics.

4. Is it something in the water? The top three and five of the top seven in first downs per game are Texas schools. Houston leads at 31.2 first downs per game, with Texas A&M second (26) and Texas Tech third (25.6). Texas is tied for fifth (24.7) and TCU is seventh (24.6).

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.

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