HOUSTON — Brady White threw for 341 yards and five touchdowns and ran for another score and No. 18 Memphis overcame a 10-point first-quarter deficit to beat Houston 45-27 on Saturday.
White completed 22 of 33 passes. Damonte Coxie caught four passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns, Antonio Gibson had four catches for 93 yards and a score, and Calvin Austin caught five passes for 81 yards and a touchdown.
Kenneth Gainwell finished with 99 rushing yards on 17 carries for Memphis, which outgained Houston 531-256. The Tigers (9-1, 5-1 American) have won five in a row. Houston (3-7, 1-5) lost its third straight.
Clayton Tune was 14 of 22 for 157 yards and a touchdown for the Cougars. Tune also had a 68-yard touchdown run, and Marquez Stevenson caught five passes for 89 yards and a touchdown.
Trailing 17-7 to begin the second quarter, Memphis outscored Houston 35-3 over the next two quarters. White found Coxie twice for touchdowns of 23 and 28 yards sandwiched around a White 14-yard touchdown run, a 14-yard touchdown pass from White to Austin and a 6-yard touchdown pass from White to Gibson.
Memphis: The defense allowed 143 yards in the first quarter and 113 yards over the final three quarters. The Tigers finished with nine tackles for loss and three sacks. Memphis was 9 of 13 on third downs.
Houston: The Cougars continue to start off strong but had issues keeping it going again. Houston got into the red zone and settled for field goals twice. The Cougars were 3 of 10 on third downs.
The Tigers should maintain their position in the poll following the win over Houston.
American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco spoke prior to the game on a number of topics, including the College Football Playoff rankings. Aresco was not pleased with the rankings, particularly SMU being left out of the latest rankings and the two-loss and three-loss teams being ahead of the American one-loss teams.
“In the past, they have always said `OK, we put these two and three and four-loss teams ahead of you’ . and they do it on the basis of `Oh, it’s the strength of your conference compared to so-called P5 conferences,”’ Aresco said. “I think that’s bogus because this year we’re as srong as the ACC. We’re as strong as the Pac-12.”
Memphis: At South Florida on Saturday.
Houston: At Tulsa on Saturday.