DALLAS (AP) — A grim-faced Tom Herman could hear the whoops and hollers of SMU players as the Houston coached tried to explain a shocking 38-16 loss to the Mustangs on Saturday night.READ MORE: Texas Legislature Could Make COVID-19 Liability Lawsuits Harder To Win
Was it hard to listen to that celebration?
“More than you know,” Herman said.
Ben Hicks threw for three touchdowns and ran for another score in SMU’s first win over a ranked team in five years.
The Cougars (6-2, 3-2 American) lost for the second time after a 5-0 start that included a season-opening win over then-No. 3 Oklahoma that vaulted Houston into the Top 10.
The last time the Mustangs (3-4, 1-2) beat a team ranked 11th or higher, they were No. 4 and finishing off a near-perfect 1982 season (11-0-1) with a 7-3 victory over sixth-ranked Pittsburgh in the Cotton Bowl. SMU tied No. 7 Texas A&M in 1994.
“Shocked is a good word,” Herman said.READ MORE: I-Team: 3 Ways To Avoid Becoming Victim Of Savvy, Sophisticated Scams
Greg Ward Jr. couldn’t shake a persistent SMU pass rush or find receivers for big plays, finishing with 241 yards passing — almost 100 below his average — and just 3 yards rushing on 17 carries thanks to seven sacks.
One of the sacks was for an 18-yard loss to the Houston 22 when coach Tom Herman went for it on fourth down trailing 28-14 early in the fourth quarter.
Herman got conservative moments later, choosing a 19-yard field goal attempt on fourth down from the SMU 2. Ty Cummings hit the right upright for his second miss.
Hicks was 16 of 31 for 228 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown to a wide-open James Proche for a 28-7 lead in the final seconds of the first half. SMU appeared content to run out the clock before a 40-yard run by Braeden West, who had 115 yards rushing and a punctuating touchdown late.
The Cougars lost two fumbles in the first quarter and never got their high-powered offense going. Houston was outgained 406-303.
“When you play a team at their place that’s fresh, that’s hungry, motivated, to give them life like that,” Herman said. “You’re playing catch-up the whole game from that point on.”
SMU defensive end Jarvis Pruitt recovered one of the fumbles and had three sacks in the Mustangs’ first win over a ranked team since beating No. 20 TCU 40-33 in overtime in 2011.MORE NEWS: Suspects In Custody And Hospitalized Following Chase, Shootout In Johnson County
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