HOUSTON (AP) -- Running back Anthony Alridge ran for two touchdowns and threw for another Sunday night as Houston defeated SMU 38-28.
Alridge carried 31 times for 154 yards as the Cougars won their fourth straight. Quarterback Case Keenum was 19-of-27 for a career-best 264 yards and two touchdowns as Houston (6-3, 5-1) held onto first place in Conference-USA's West Division.
SMU's seventh straight loss came even as Justin Willis had his third 300-yard passing game of the season and moved past Chuck Hixson for the school's career lead in touchdown passes. He hit 19-of-32 for 351 yards and three touchdowns to give him 43 for his career, three more than Hixson who played from 1968-70.
Willis gave the Mustangs (1-8, 0-5) a 14-7 lead the first quarter with his first rushing touchdown of the year, a 4-yarder, and a 17-yard touchdown pass to Columbus Givens.
After a 31-yard field goal by T.J. Lawrence, Alridge ran for a 36-yard touchdown to give Houston a 17-14 lead with 8:57 left in the half.
He then threw for his first touchdown, hitting Chaz Rodriguez with a 24-yard TD pass with 3:29 to play in the second quarter.
Willis fumbled four times the first half, twice on one play. He dropped the ball as he cocked his arm to throw, picked it up on the bounce and ran left, only to fumble again.
After the fumble, Houston scored on a 14-yard pass from Keenum to Jeron Harvey to take a 31-14 lead 44 seconds before the half.
Willis threw touchdown passes of 51 and 21 yards to Zack Sledge in the third quarter to pull the Mustangs to within 31-28.
But Keenum hit Donnie Avery for a 7-yard touchdown to push Houston's lead back to 10 with 12:08 remaining. Avery had 10 catches for 116 yards.