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Wednesday, October 4, 2023


Cougars come back against Mustangs to win 44-38

DALLAS – Houston never held a lead in its game against Southern Methodist University until sophomore quarterback Case Keenum found redshirt freshman wide receiver Tyron Carrier from 26 yards out to give the Cougars a 42-38 lead with 24 seconds left to play.

Keenum hit senior tight end Mark Hafner for two points after the touchdown as the Cougars stunned the Mustangs 44-38 and completed the comeback win in front of 18,972 at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on Saturday.

The Cougars (4-3, 3-0 C-USA) went into the locker room down 14 points as freshman quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell threw three touchdown passes in the first two quarters to give the Mustangs (1-7, 0-5 C-USA) a 21-14 lead at halftime.

Houston cut the lead to 21-17 when junior kicker Ben Bell connected on a 23-yard field goal attempt with 11:30 left in the third quarter.

Mitchell completed a 9-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Aldrick Robinson and senior kicker Thomas Morstead completed the PAT to put the Mustangs up 28-17.

Houston freshman running back Bryce Beall ran it in from three yards and Bell hit the extra point to put the score at 28-23, but Mitchell hurled the ball 70 yards down the field to Robinson to give the Mustangs another touchdown before going into the final quarter with a 35-23 lead.

The Cougars were the first to strike in the fourth quarter when Keenum rushed nine yards for a touchdown and Houston pulled within 35-30 with 9:23 left to play.

The Mustangs scored on a 23-yard field goal by Morstead, but it would be SMU’s last score of the night.

Beall completed the 1-yard touchdown run to put the score at 38-36 after the Cougars’ two-point conversion attempt failed with 2:34 left to play. He led the team with 105 yards on 22 carries ane three touchdowns against the Mustangs.

Keenum went 29-of-36 for 404 yards and two passing touchdowns and also ran for a score on the night.

SMU jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead when Mitchell hit junior wideout Emmanuel Sanders on a 17-yard touchdown strike on the game’s opening drive.

The Mustangs’ defense held the Cougars on the ensuing drive, and the offense quickly went in search of more points. SMU was forced to punt after being stopped on fourth down, but Cougar sophomore wideout Kierrie Johnson muffed the punt and the Mustangs regained possession.

Mitchell made the Cougars pay for that turnover, running it in from 4 yards out to increase SMU’s lead to 14-0.

The Cougars reduced that lead to 14-7 when Keenum hit redshirt freshman wide receiver Patrick Edwards for a 29-yard touchdown pass on the next drive to put Houston’s first points on the board.

The Mustangs quickly moved ahead 21-7 when Mitchell found Sanders on a 10-yard touchdown pass with 8:35 left in the first half., but the Cougars answered with Beall’s 5-yard touchdown dive with 2:17 left in the first half, reducing SMU’s lead to 21-14.

The Mustangs had a chance to put more points on the scoreboard, moving to the Houston 28 with just over a minute remaining. The drive, however, ended when Mitchell was interecped by Cougars safety Kenneth Fontenette with 55 seconds remaining in the first half.

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