(Saturday, October 18th)
Final Score: Houston 44, SMU 38
Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - A 26-yard touchdown reception by Tyron Carrier with just 24 seconds remaining proved to be the difference as the Houston Cougars slipped by the SMU Mustangs, 44-38, in Conference USA action at Ford Stadium.
Carrier finished the night with just three catches for 34 yards for the Cougars (4-3, 3-0 CUSA) as they won their third straight game and remained undefeated in conference action. Quarterback Case Keenum converted 28-of-36 for 404 yards and two touchdowns, was intercepted once and sacked two times on the night.
The Mustangs (1-7, 0-5) were led by signal-caller Bo Levi Mitchell who hit on 29-of-39 for 365 yards and four TDs, but he too was taken down twice and had a pair of pass attempts picked off in the team's sixth consecutive setback.
SMU scored the only points of the first quarter as Mitchell combined with Emmanuel Sanders on a 17-yard TD pass play, followed by a four-yard touchdown run by the quarterback himself at the 1:52 mark of the frame.
In the second quarter Keenum found Patrick Edwards with a 29-yard TD strike to cut the deficit to 14-7.
Sanders, who finished with eight catches for 79 yards, caught his second TD of the night when Mitchell found him with a 10-yard effort at the 8:35 mark of the second period.
However, before the first half could end, Houston's Bryce Beall carried the ball five yards into the end zone to make the score 21-14 at the break in favor of the Mustangs.
Ben Bell's 23-yard field goal to open the second half drew Houston to within four points, but the Ponies responded with a nine-yard touchdown pass from Mitchell to Aldrick Robinson to push SMU back out to a 28-17 edge. Robinson ended the game with eight grabs fort 186 yards and two scores.
Beall scored the second of his three touchdowns on the ground with a three- yard run with less than two minutes remaining in the third, capping a seven- play, 74-yard drive that used just 2:12 on the clock.
On the ensuing possession Robinson and Mitchell locked up again, this time on a 70-yard touchdown play to make the score 35-23 with 15 minutes to play.
Keenum took the visitors into the end zone himself to begin the fourth quarter on a nine-yard effort, bringing the Cougars to within five points.
With 4:55 to play SMU kicker Thomas Morstead knocked through a 23-yard field goal to push the lead up to eight points.
Refusing to back down, Beall crossed the goal line from a yard out with barely two and a half minutes left to play, but a two-point conversion attempt meant to tie the game at 38-38 failed, leading up to the game-winning catch by Carrier in the waning moments.
With an average of more than seven yards per play, Houston finished with 535 yards of total offense, compared to 413 yards for the Mustangs.
10/19 01:13:20 ET