Junior quarterback Case Keenum did not put up the spectacular numbers that UH fans have grown accustomed to but was solid and efficient on the night, completing 25-of-36 passes for 233 yards and one touchdown. As an offensive unit, the Cougars produced 394 yards on 73 plays.
Freshman running back Charles Sims passed the century mark in rushing for the first time in his collegiate career, piling up 106 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.
After Houston was forced to punt on its opening possession of the night, senior linebacker C.J. Cavness quickly gave the ball back to his offense by forcing a fumble that was snapped up by UH's Marcus McGraw.
Houston did not let the SMU miscue go unpunished as Sims put the game's first points on the board as he darted straight up the middle of the Mustang defense from 20 yards out. The score capped off a six-play, 55-yard drive.
A second takeaway for the Cougar defense set up another score as a Tyrell Graham forced a SMU fumble that was pounced upon by Cavness on the SMU 1-yard line. UH's Bryce Beall made it 14-0 Houston as he covered the short distance to the end zone at the 1:58 mark of the first quarter.
Cavness was a major force on the night for the Cougar defenders, recording a career-high 18 stops while forcing a fumble and recovering two others.
A 22-yard field goal by Matt Hogan stretched the lead to 17-0, but the Mustang offense finally got in gear on their subsequent possession. SMU drove deep into UH territory and broke the ice on its side of the scoreboard with a 27-yard field goal from Matt Szymanski at the 8:05 mark of the second quarter.
Keenum would tack another touchdown onto the Cougars' lead as with just 5:14 left before intermission, he connected with sophomore wide receiver Patrick Edwards on a 7-yard scoring strike.
Edwards put together a season-best nine reception, 122-yard night to lead all receivers.
The touchdown pass marked the 23rd consecutive game in which Keenum has thrown for at least one score.
Following halftime, it took just 14 seconds for Houston to put more points on the scoreboard when Tyron Carrier took the half's opening kickoff and raced 92 yards down the sideline to make it 31-3.
The Mustangs were able to reach the end zone in the opening minute of the fourth quarter as Shawnbrey McNeal scored on a 4-yard rumble.
SMU's comeback hope got a little brighter as quarterback Kyle Padron found Aldrick Robinson on a 32-yard touchdown pass. The Mustangs' two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful, leaving the score 31-15 Houston with 9:48.
Sims added his second scoring run of the night with 5:44 remaining in the contest to give the game its final score and end the SMU comeback hopes.
Houston is back in action next Saturday when they play host to Southern Miss in a noon contest at Robertson Stadium.