There are bizarre college football games, and then there’s what we watched transpire in Dallas, TX on Saturday night. SMU scored its first touchdown in less than two minutes of action, and the scoring never stopped throughout the night.
Plenty of footprints disrupted both end zones in the 4-hour contest, an anomaly of a game which featured 20 touchdowns and 140 points. SMU was crowned the victor of one of the great college football shootouts of all time by defeating Houston in 77-63 fashion. With a score like that, one can only assume it was a record-setting day for many involved, so here are some interesting notes and records set in Saturday’s unfathomable barnburner.
- With 140 combined points, SMU’s 77-63 win over Houston is now the highest scoring game in regulation in college football history. It surpassed Pittsburgh’s 76-61 win over Syracuse on Nov. 26, 2016.
- SMU and Houston combined for 20 touchdowns. That is the most in an FBS game in history.
- Clayton Tune threw an interception in the end zone with 1:52 remaining. The Cougars were on the SMU 10-yard line at the time of the turnover. Had Houston scored a touchdown on that possession, the game would have surpassed Texas A&M’s 74-72 seven-overtime win over LSU in 2018 (146 combined points) for the highest-scoring game in FBS history.
- The longest possession by either team lasted 4 minutes and 17 seconds. This was a 7-play, 50-yard drive in the middle of the fourth quarter which featured seven rushing attempts. Tyler Lavine capped off the drive with a 15-yard touchdown run.
- SMU scored touchdowns on each of its first nine possessions.
- Every Houston possession consumed 4 minutes or less of clock time.
- SMU punted once. Houston never punted.
- Both teams had five different touchdown recipients. Houston had three receivers exceed the 100-yard threshold (Tank Dell 180, KeSean Carter 136, Matthew Golden 105). SMU did not have a single receiver collect more than 100 yards (Dylan Goffney).
- The last time SMU and Houston played in basketball, the Cougars won 75-61, which featured four fewer points than Saturday’s football game.
First half stats
- SMU led Houston 56-35 at halftime. With 91 collective points, is tied for the second-most first half points in an FBS game. Only the 2007 contest between North Texas and Navy (94 points) had more scoring in the first half. The 2014 matchup between Marshall and Western Kentucky also featured 91 first half points.
- Every possession of the first half resulted in a touchdown or interception, except for Houston’s final drive of the second quarter. Due to clock constraints, Houston attempted and missed a 49-yard field goal. Had the field goal been successful, it would have tied the highest-scoring half in FBS history. No field goals were made in the entire contest.
SMU quarterback Tanner Mordecai
- Tanner Mordecai is the fifth different player in FBS history to throw for nine touchdowns in a single game. The most recent occurrence was Washington State quarterback Anthony Gordon on Sept. 21, 2019. Only Houston quarterback David Klingler, who threw for 11 on Nov. 17, 1990, has more passing touchdowns in a single game. The full list of players to accomplish this feat: David Klingler (twice), Dennis Shaw, Case Keenum, Anthony Gordon, Tanner Mordecai.
- Tanner Mordecai is the first player in FBS history to throw for nine touchdowns and run for one in a single game. He is also the first player to throw for seven touchdowns and run for one in a single half.
- Tanner Mordecai tied his own record for SMU single-game passing touchdowns in the first half with seven. He eventually broke the school record in the second half with nine.
- Tanner Mordecai is the second FBS player to account for eight touchdowns in a single half (7 passing, 1 rushing). Lamar Jackson also accomplished this feat on Sept. 1, 2016 against Charlotte (6 passing, 2 rushing).
Houston quarterback Clayton Tune
- Clayton Tune set his new career-high in passing yards with 527. His previous best was 408, which occurred in the 2021 meeting against SMU.
- Clayton Tune set his new career-high in passing touchdowns with seven. His previous best was five against Navy on Oct. 22, 2022.
- Clayton Tune is now the AAC all-time passing touchdowns leader with 92. With seven touchdowns, he surpassed Brady White (90), Desmond Ridder (87), and active East Carolina quarterback Holton Ahlers (87) in one outing.
- Clayton Tune is the third Houston quarterback to toss seven touchdowns in one game, joining the likes of touchdown record-holder David Klingler, Jimmy Klingler, and former Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware.
- Clayton Tune is the only FBS player this season to surpass 500 passing yards and 100 rushing yards in the same game.