Imagine scoring 63 points and losing by two touchdowns.
It should be no surprise that Houston had the low score in a 140-point game in what has been a wild season for the Cougars. Houston continues to supply some of the most memorable games for fans this year, if not for the Cougars themselves.
While college football fans are always looking forward to the next game, it’s well worth dissecting the past game between SMU and Houston.
It was a fan’s delight and a defensive coordinator’s nightmare.
Final score – SMU 77, Houston 63.
To put this in perspective, the last time the two teams met in basketball, where points are easier to come by, the score wasn’t this high. For the record, the last basketball game between the two ended with Houston winning, 75-61. And that was a Houston team that advanced to the Elite Eight.
Back to football, Saturday’s offensive explosion was the highest-scoring regulation game in FBS history.
In one of many records that Houston wishes it could use white-out – the Cougars’ 63 points matched the most in regulation by a losing team in FBS history. This is a Houston team that has played many interesting games this season, including a triple overtime win, a double OT loss, and a single OT loss.
Enough about Houston for now.
SMU’s Tanner Mordecai threw nine touchdown passes, breaking the single-game American Athletic Conference mark. The old record holder? A familiar name – Tanner Mordecai. That’s right, he broke his previous conference record of seven touchdown passes against Abilene Christian on Sept. 4, 2021.
In addition to his nine touchdown passes, Modecai also scored on a 2-yard run.
Houston’s Clayton Tune probably also had to ice his arm afterward. He became the first player in school history to throw for 500 yards and rush for 100 in a single game. His final totals were 527 yards passing and 111 yards rushing. He tied Houston’s school record with seven touchdown passes, while also scoring on a 55-yard run.
Both quarterbacks spread things around – with 10 different players catching at least one TD pass, five from each team.
The combined 16 touchdown passes by the two gunslinging quarterbacks set a single-game FBS record, surpassing the old mark of 15.
For the game, Mordecai completed 28 of 37 for 379 yards, nine touchdowns, and zero interceptions. That means he threw a TD pass for every 4.1 attempts and 3.1 completions.
Tune completed 36 of 53 for 527 yards and seven touchdowns, but he gets points subtracted for throwing three interceptions.
Both senior quarterbacks entered the season considered two of the best in the conference and each has certainly lived up to that billing.
Mordecai (6-3, 214), who began his career at Oklahoma, has thrown 64 touchdown passes in his 20-game career at SMU.
Tune (6-3, 220) has thrown 92 touchdown passes during his 43-game career at Houston. It’s interesting to note that he had only thrown four interceptions in his first eight games this season before the Mustangs picked off three more passes.
Lost in the win was the performance by SMU kicker Collin Rogers, who was 11-for-11 on PATs. Houston’s Kyle Ramsey was 9-for-9 on PATs.
Just your typical 20-for-20 day from both workhorse kickers.
What is amazing is that both schools, with such shoddy defenses, are still mathematically in the running for a berth in the AAC championship game, where the top two teams from the 11-team league will compete.
They are both 3-2 in the American, two games behind first-place Tulane and one behind both second-place UCF and Cincinnati.
SMU visits South Florida (0-5 AAC) and Tulane (5-0) and then finishes at home against Memphis (2-4). Houston hosts Temple (1-4), travels to East Carolina (3-2), and finishes at home against Tulsa (1-4).
Both would likely have to pick it up defensively.
SMU is 119th among FBS schools in scoring defense, allowing 33.67 points per game while Houston is 123rd (36.2). (Our usual disclaimer – there are 131 FBS schools).
On the positive side, SMU is 10th in scoring offense (40.2 PPG) while Houston is 20th (36.8 PPG). Both will try to outscore their opponents in the final three games, although as Houston proved, even that strategy isn’t always a full-proof one.