MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Led by a dominating defensive effort, highlighted by a key interception from Efrem Oliphant with under two minutes to play, Houston Football was able to force five turnovers en route to a 28-24 road win at Memphis Saturday evening to earn its first American Athletic Conference victory of the year.
The win marked the program's 400th career victory after earning win No. 300 back on Sept. 4, 1999 vs. Rice.
With the victory, the Cougars improve to 3-3 on the year and 1-1 in conference action, while Memphis fell to 3-3 and 1-1 in league play.
The five turnovers forced was the second most by the Cougars this season after forcing six in a win against Grambling. Houston has now forced a turnover in 29 straight games and has also forced multiple turnovers in 24-of-the-last 27 games.
Tonight's game also marked the fourth time this season Houston has forced at least three turnovers in a game.
Houston totaled 354 offensive yards in the win, led by sophomore quarterback Greg Ward's 168 passing yards on a 14-of-25 effort with one passing touchdown in his first career start at quarterback for the Cougars.
Ward also rushed for 95 yards on a team-high 17 carries, marking all career-bests, while notching a rushing touchdown as well becoming the second quarterback this season to have a rushing and passing touchdown in the same game as John O'Korn accomplished that feat against UNLV.
Defensively, Houston was led once again by Oliphant, who notched double-digit tackles for the 15th time in his career with 12 stops. He has also notched at least 10 tackles in all six games this season.
Oliphant went on to also record two tackles for loss and racked up two interceptions for a total of 23 yards, including the game-sealing interception with 1:02 left in the game.
Following Oliphant in the tackles category was Eric Eiland with a career-high seven tackles.
Memphis jumped ahead of Houston 14-0 before a minute escaped the second quarter, but the Cougars quickly responded with their first score of the night on a 64-yard run, the longest rush of the year and longest scoring play of the year to make it 14-7.
With 9:44 left in the first half, Farrow took a 2-yard run into the end zone to even the score for his third touchdown of the season and 11th of his career.
Memphis then used a 20-yard pass from Paxton Lynch to Daniel Montiel with 1:01 left in the second quarter to go ahead 21-14.
Coming out of the half, Houston held Memphis without a score and evened the game at 21-21 on a 3-yard run by Ryan Jackson for his third touchdown of the year and 12th of his career.
A drive that lasted 83 yards and nearly three minutes to open the fourth quarter resulted in a 25-yard touchdown reception by Markeith Ambles from Ward for his first score of the year and second of his career for the Cougars to make it 28-21 Houston with under 14 minutes to play.
The Houston Defense held Memphis without a score in the third quarter and to just three points in the entire second half on a field goal with 7:27 left in the game.
Houston Football will return home to host Temple in an American Athletic Conference showdown inside TDECU Stadium on Friday, Oct. 17. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. on ESPNU.
2014 FOOTBALL MINI PLANS
For those Houston fans who are unable to make it to TDECU Stadium all season, three-game mini plans are available for purchase for $99.
The three-game mini plans give Houston Football the ability to secure tickets for the Oct. 2 game vs. UCF, the 2014 Fiesta Bowl champion, and any other two games this season. The remaining four games for UH fans to pick from consist of 2013 bowl game participants UNLV and Tulane along with Temple and Tulsa. Fans can purchase mini plans here or by calling 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647).
SINGLE GAME TICKET INFORMATION
Single-game ticket sales for the inaugural season in TDECU Stadium start at $36 per person for reserved seats and $25 for general admission at any of Houston's seven home games, including 2014 Fiesta Bowl champion UCF, and can be purchased by calling the Houston Athletics Ticket Office at 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or by clicking here.
YOUNG ALUMNI TICKET INFORMATION
University of Houston alumni from the last five years (2010-14) can purchase season tickets for just $125 (upper levels) and $175 (lower level) in specially designated Young Alumni sections with a multiplier of four times donations to Cougar Pride giving levels for the first five years after graduation. Each ticket consists of a $25 Cougar Pride donation with the four times Young Alumni multiplier, resulting in a $100 donation credit and a Cougar Pride parking pass in the TDECU Stadium Garage. Young Alumni can purchase tickets here or by calling 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647).
GROUP TICKET INFORMATION
Single-game group ticket sales for the inaugural season in TDECU Stadium are now on sale via the Houston Athletics Ticket Office. Groups of at least 10 or more can purchase tickets starting at just $21 per person to any of Houston's seven home games, including 2014 Fiesta Bowl champion UCF, by calling the Houston Athletics Ticket Office at 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or by clicking here.