A .500 record never looked so good. Many prognosticators had UT going 0-4 or at best 1-3 in its first four games. Against what would be considered a murderers' row for any Mid-American Conference team, the Rockets have held their own. When Tim Beckman first saw his 2009 nonconference schedule and saw only one true home game — against Colorado — and three games away from the Glass Bowl against Purdue, Ohio State and Florida International, he knew his team would be challenged. He also understood the physical toll that matchups against two Big Ten schools and a Big 12 school would take on his team, capped off with a long trip to Miami.
What might be even more remarkable than the 2-2 record is the relative health of the team. UT will be missing only one starter due to injury — sophomore tight end Danny Noble (ankle) — Saturday at Ball State. Beckman said that he credits the team's medical staff for giving his players the best care possible so that the nicks and dings suffered through the course of the year don't turn into nagging injuries. He also gave plenty of kudos to strength and conditioning coach Rick Court, who spent the offseason and much of training camp getting the Rockets into great shape.
So far UT has exceeded expectations and somehow survived its meat-grinder of a schedule. Now the Rockets must find a way to sustain that momentum as MAC play opens this weekend.