Down 17 in the second half on the road, there was no panic in No. 25 Memphis.
The Tigers kept their focus and finished with a victory.
Riley Ferguson threw for 471 yards and had a 21-yard TD pass with 1:28 left, Patrick Taylor rushed for a career-high four touchdowns and Memphis rallied to beat Houston 42-38 on Thursday night.
“Offensively, to go from being shutout in the first half, not playing our best ball, a lot of mistakes, everything that could probably go wrong in the first half did,” Memphis coach Mike Norvell said. “But, I came into the locker room and there was something about their eyes. No panic. They came out and absolutely responded.”
Ferguson was 33 of 53 and found Sean Dykes to cap an eight-play, 80-yard drive that took 1:49 to give Memphis (6-1, 3-1 American) its only lead.
“We said we had to stay focused,” Ferguson said. “We knew we would be able to score as long as we didn't hurt ourselves. We knew we had to regain our focus and stop shooting ourselves in the foot.”
Anthony Miller caught 10 passes for 178 yards, and Tony Pollard had nine catches for 91 yards. Memphis finished with 501 yards but only 30 rushing yards.
“It was just ground and pound,” Taylor said about his four touchdown runs. “It was taking advantage of every opportunity that they gave me when they gave me the ball.”
Houston (4-3, 2-2) was driving when Kyle Postma fumbled at the Memphis 49, with T.J. Carter recovering with a minute remaining. After Memphis punted, Postma's pass was intercepted by Carter with 24 seconds remaining to end the game.
“It came down to finishing and securing of the ball at the end of the game,” Postma said.
Dillon Birden finished with 106 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries, and Duke Catalon rushed for 65 yards and a career-high three touchdowns as Houston built a 17-0 lead at the half and 31-14 advantage with 1 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.
Michigan State running back LJ Scott has a Nov. 2 court date to face a charge of driving with a suspended license. The Lansing State Journal reported that Scott was released on a personal recognizance bond after being charged with driving on a suspended license, or a similar charge, for a seventh time.
Scott had a career-high 194 yards rushing and two touchdowns last week in a win at Minnesota.