HOUSTON -- Houston's Case Keenum threw nine touchdown passes to set the Football Bowl Subdivision record for career TD tosses as the 18th-ranked Cougars overcame a slow start in a 73-34 victory against Rice on a rain-soaked Thursday night.

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Houston senior quarterback Case Keenum established the FBS record with his 139th career touchdown pass as the 18th-ranked Cougars routed Rice 73-34 on Thursday night. Check out all the FBS players with at least 100 career touchdown passes.

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Keenum threw an interception and had a fumble returned for a touchdown in the first quarter in heavy rain as Rice built a 17-7 lead.

The rain subsided and Keenum and the Cougars got going after that. They outscored Rice 45-3 to take a 52-20 lead by early in the third quarter and cruised to the easy victory to remain undefeated.

Keenum, who became the FBS career leader in total offense last week, has 139 career touchdown passes.

On Thursday, Keenum abused Rice's 115th ranked defense by throwing TD passes of 57, 21, 64, 18, 41, 20, 37, 22 and 47 yards to break former Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell's record of 134.

Patrick Edwards had seven receptions for 318 yards receiving and five touchdowns for Houston (8-0, 4-0 Conference USA).

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.

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.

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).

Rice at Houston
 
First Downs 18 26
Rushing 359 122
Passing 116 534

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.

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.

Rice took advantage of the miscue on a 1-yard touchdown run by Smith that made it 10-7.

With the rain coming down at its heaviest, Houston couldn't get its offense going early and had to punt after Rice went ahead. The Cougars next possession ended when Keenum was intercepted by Bryce Callahan.

The Owls came up empty on the ensuing drive when Boswell slipped on the rain-slicked grass and missed a 38-yard field goal attempt.

The wet conditions continued to be a factor on Houston's next drive when the wet ball slipped out of Keenum's hand as he tried to pass. Cameron Nwosu scooped it up and ran 12 yards for a touchdown to push Rice's lead to 17-7.

The rain had let up when Houston got the ball back and Keenum found Edwards for his first touchdown pass.