Keeping Score

C-USA Top 5: Keenum's senior year is best individual performance

This is the 10th installment of a 20-part series marking Conference USA's 20 years of existence:

There have been some gaudy offensive statistics in Conference USA's 20-year history, so it should come as no surprise that the league's best performances have come on the offensive side of the ball.

This C-USA Top 5 honors the five best seasons by an individual player in league history.

The man who tops this list is Houston quarterback Case Keenum, the best passer in FBS history based on statistics. His Heisman Trophy campaign came up short in 2011, but he was at his best that year.

Former Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry's 2010 season and the 2002 campaign for former USM linebacker Rod Davis both received serious consideration for this list as defensive players, but neither quite made the cut.

Here are the five best seasons by an individual player in C-USA history:

1. QB Case Keenum (Houston, 2011): Keenum seemed to set a new standard for himself with each season, and he was at his best as a senior in 2011. A loss to USM in the C-USA title game ended his Heisman Trophy hopes, but he was still outstanding that year. He completed 71 percent of his passes for 5,631 yards, 48 touchdowns and amazingly just five interceptions. Keenum had a passing rating of 174.0 in 2011.

2. RB Kevin Smith (UCF, 2007): With a whopping 450 carries for 2,567 yards and 29 touchdowns, no C-USA team has relied on a single running back more than than the Knights did in 2007. UCF was a run-first team in a pass-first league, and Smith led the way. The Knights went 10-4 in 2007 with a C-USA championship.

3. QB Shaun King (Tulane, 1998): The Green Wave went 12-0 in 1998 and King served as the MVP of that squad. He was nearly perfect as a passer that year, hitting 67.2 of his attempts for 3,508 yards for 38 touchdowns and six interceptions. His passing rating of 178.71 is one of the best in FBS history.

4. WR Jarett Dillard (Rice, 2008): Dillard is the NCAA all-time leader in touchdown receptions and he closed out his career with a particularly strong season. In 2008, he caught 87 passes for 1,310 yards and 20 touchdowns. What's amazing is the 20 the scores isn't even his best season. He caught 21 as a sophomore.

5. RB Matt Forte (Tulane, 2007): The only player on this list who had his great year during a losing campaign for his team, Forte ran 361 times for 2,127 yards and 23 touchdowns for the 4-8 Green Wave. He also showed good hands out of the backfield with 32 catches for 282 yards.

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