HOUSTON (AP) — Backup quarterback Kyle Postma rushed for the go-ahead score and threw for a touchdown to rally No. 16 Houston from 20 points down to a 35-34 win over No. 25 Memphis on Saturday night.
Postma came in just before halftime when Greg Ward Jr. left with what appeared to be a left ankle injury. Postma went 21 of 33 for 236 yards and carried six times for 49 yards.
His 7-yard touchdown run with 1:27 left capped a nine-play, 77-yard drive to give undefeated Houston the lead. Jake Elliott missed a 48-yard field goal wide right with 19 seconds left to seal the win for Houston.
DeMarcus Ayers had 13 catches for 127 yards, and Kenneth Farrow had 10 carries for 46 yards and two touchdowns for Houston (10-0, 6-0 American, No. 24 CFP), which trailed 20-0 to the Tigers (8-2, 4-2, No. 21 CFP) before Postma entered.
Paxton Lynch was 20-of-31 passing for 278 yards and two touchdowns for Memphis. Alan Cross caught a TD pass of 38 yards and Doroland Dorceus grabbed another for 61 yards, both in the second quarter. Lynch also rushed for 43 yards.
With 12:56 remaining, Farrow punched it in from 10 yards out to cut the Tigers' lead to 34-21.
Houston had a chance to narrow the gap following a Memphis fumble, but the Cougars had a touchdown negated by offsetting penalties, and Postma overthrew his receiver on fourth down from the 6.
Following a Lynch interception, Javin Webb cut the lead to 34-28 on a 1-yard touchdown run with 5:49 left. After a Memphis three-and-out, Postma led the drive to give the Cougars the lead.
Elliott had made field goals of 41 and 30 yards in the first half before missing in the final seconds.
Dorceus had 116 yards on 26 carries with a 6-yard touchdown run halfway through the third quarter. Tevin Jones also had a 25-yard TD run to give the Tigers a 34-14 lead to start the fourth quarter.
Postma completed 4 of 5 passes, including a 30-yard score to Linell Bonner with 37 seconds left in the first half to cut the lead to 20-7.
Farrow sliced the Memphis lead to 20-14 with a 7-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
Houston did not get a first down until five minutes to go in the first quarter. The Tigers outgained the Cougars 273-99 yards in the first half.
Memphis sacked Ward five times, and he hobbled off the field with 1:21 left in the first half after being sacked by Wynton McManis. Houston had 11 rushes for minus 13 yards as a team in the first half. The Cougars finished with 96 rushing yards.