Shane Buechele threw for 203 yards and two touchdowns, Xavier Jones ran for 133 yards and two touchdowns and No. 16 SMU held off Houston 34-31 on Thursday night.
Buechele was 20 of 38. James Proche caught seven passes for 83 yards and a touchdown, and Kylen Grayson had six receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown for SMU (8-0, 4-0 American).
Jones had a career-long 62-yard rushing touchdown with 10:41 left in the second quarter and added a 2-yard scoring run 47 seconds into the second half after SMU forced a Houston fumble and Richard McBryde recovered it.
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Houston's Clayton Tune finished 18 of 35 for a career-high 407 yards and two touchdowns. Mulbah Car rushed for 136 yards on 18 carries. Marquez Stevenson had five catches for 211 yards and two touchdowns, including a 75-yard score.
Bryson Smith added a 1-yard TD run to start the second quarter.
Houston (3-5, 1-3) outgained SMU, 510-385 yards.
Houston closed to 34-31 on a 96-yard touchdown pass from Tune to Stevenson and added a 2-point conversion with 4:47 left. After Houston forced an SMU punt, the Mustangs forced a turnover on downs at the Houston 45. Houston forced another SMU punt, but Tune was sacked at midfield to end the game.
SMU should maintain its position in the poll following the win over Houston.
ROBINSON EJECTED FOR TARGETING
SMU's Delano Robinson was ejected for targeting late in the first quarter after hitting Christian Trahan after Trahan missed Tune's pass. Robinson was called for unnecessary roughness with targeting and the play was confirmed after review.
SMU: SMU kept its hopes of playing in a New Years' Six bowl alive. The Mustangs took advantage of Houston's three turnovers, converting them into 14 points. SMU had seven sacks for 51 yards and 13 tackles for loss.
Houston: The Cougars played well defensively, but committed three turnovers and 11 penalties for 129 yards. Houston had 22 first downs and had the ball for almost 32 minutes, but also had issues holding on to the ball, with five fumbles, losing the ball twice.
SMU: At Memphis on Nov. 2.
Houston: At UCF on Nov. 2.