The Cougars (4-3, 3-1), one week after a lackluster loss to Rice, looked like a completely different team vs. the Mustangs (4-4, 3-1). True freshman quarterback David Piland, a graduate of Southlake Carroll, made the game a personal homecoming with an efficient 19-of-32, 223-yard perfomance (with one TD).
Piland did a nice job of throwing high-percentage, short passes to his receivers, and running backs Bryce Beall and Michael Hayes each scored two TDs for the Cougars. Speedster Tyron Carrier returned a kickoff 91 yards to squelch SMU's hopes of a second half comeback.
Houston struck first on a one-yard plunge by Beall, who ran for 85 yards on 17 carries. Shortly thereafter, play was halted for approximately 2 1/2 hours due to inclement weather conditions.
When action finally resumed, Kyle Padron (26-46, 318 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INT) drove the Mustangs down the field to knot the score at 7-7.
The sophomore QB sustained the march by converting on consecutive third downs, nimbly running for one first down and finding Cole Beasley (7-80, TD) for another. Padron fired a perfectly-placed 31-yard strike to Aldrick Robinson (5-101, 1 TD) that evened the score.
Houston regained the lead, however, early in the second quarter on Piland's 30-yard TD pass to WR Patrick Edwards (6-88, 1 TD) and after the teams traded field goals, the Cougars held a 24-10 advantage at intermission after a two-yard scoring run by Hayes.
SMU answered the bell in the third, cutting the margin to 24-17 on a 29-yard pass from Padron to Beasley, but the fleet-footed Carrier immediately swung the tide back in Houston's favor by returning the ensuing kick 91 yards for a TD.
Beall and Hayes each added scoring jaunts in the fourth quarter.
Zach Line led all rushers with 106 yards on 19 carries, including a 22-yarder in which he broke several tackles.
The teams combined for over 800 yards of total offense (and 46 first downs), with the Mustangs accounting for 445 yards. Darryl Fields returned 8 kicks for 172 yards, including a long of 40 yards.
Matt Szymanski booted two field goals and averaged 41.3 yards per punt on four attempts.