DALLAS (AP) -- Anthony Alridge ran for a career-high 225 yards and scored two touchdowns to lead Houston to a 37-27 win over Southern Methodist on Saturday.
Houston (8-3, 6-1 Conference USA) clinched a berth in the conference title game Dec. 1.
Quarterback Kevin Kolb scored on a two-yard run to finish a 14-play, 94-yard drive which gave Houston a 31-27 lead with 6:52 left in the game. The key play on that drive occurred when Kolb completed a 26-yard pass to Donnie Avery on third-and-19 from the Houston 7-yard line.
On the next possession by the Mustangs (5-5, 3-3), the Cougars' Cody Pree recovered James Mapps' fumble at the SMU 46-yard line with 4:42 left. On the next play, Jackie Battle scored on a 61-yard touchdown run.
Kolb completed 12 of 21 passes for 147 yards and one touchdown. Houston had 357 yards rushing for the game, 200 yards more than its season average.
Alridge's second 77-yard touchdown run of the game tied the score at 24 with 2:05 left in the third quarter before the Mustangs briefly regained the lead on a 35-yard field goal by Thomas Morstead with 12:12 left in the game.
After falling behind 14-0 in the game's first 7 minutes, SMU scored 24 consecutive points for a 24-14 halftime lead.
The 17-yard touchdown pass to Sanders tied the game with 1:57 left in the first quarter and gave Willis, a redshirt freshman, the school record for touchdown passes in a season with 22. The previous record had been set by Chuck Hixson in 1968.
Sanders led all receivers with 151 yards on nine receptions. ore.