Austin Davis threw four touchdown passes and No. 24 Southern Mississippi ruined Houston's perfect season and Bowl Championship Series hopes with a 49-28 victory against the seventh-ranked Cougars on Saturday.
It was star quarterback Case Keenum's last home game for Houston for sure, and could've also been the finale for coach Kevin Sumlin, who has been mentioned as a top candidate for virtually every higher-profile job opening.
Houston (12-1) was poised to impress a national television audience and representatives from the Orange and Sugar Bowl, who attended Saturday's game.
Instead, the Golden Eagles (11-2) turned it into their big day, shackling Houston's high-powered offense and striking with several big plays of their own to win their first league title.
Tracey Lampley caught two touchdown passes and the Golden Eagles became the first team to hold Houston, averaging more than 50 per game, below 35 points this season.
Keenum completed 41 of 67 passes for 373 yards and two touchdowns. He became the first quarterback to reach 5,000 yards passing in three seasons.
The only goal left to reach was to carry the program to its first undefeated season and first BCS berth. Now, all the Cougars have to look forward to is a disappointing, lower-tier bowl and an uncertain future without Keenum and, maybe, without Sumlin.
Speculation intensified this week when Mike Sherman was fired at nearby Texas A&M, where Sumlin worked as an offensive assistant for R.C. Slocum in 2001-02.
NO. 9 BOISE STATE 45,
NEW MEXICO 0
Kellen Moore threw three touchdowns in the final home game of his brilliant career and Doug Martin ran for two more as Boise State (11-1, 6-1 Mountain West) rolled over New Mexico (1-11, 1-6).
Moore was 28 of 33 for 313 yards before heading for the sideline midway through the third quarter. His three touchdowns give him 41 for the season, setting a new school single-season record. He also set a new school record for completions in a season with 300.
Martin rushed for 110 yards on 19 carries. His 40-yard touchdown run in the third quarter gave the Broncos a 38-0 lead.
NO. 16 KANSAS ST. 30,
IOWA STATE 23
John Hubert ran for 120 yards and the go-ahead touchdown as Kansas State beat Iowa State.
Collin Klein ran for a touchdown and threw for another, and Anthony Cantele was perfect on three field-goal attempts, allowing the Wildcats (10-2, 7-2) to reach 10 wins for the first time since 2003.
Jeff Woody ran for 85 yards and two touchdowns for the Cyclones (6-6, 3-6).
NO. 18 TCU 56,
Greg McCoy returned a kickoff 99 yards and Kris Gardner had a 16-yard interception return for a touchdown in a 12-second span, and TCU beat UNLV to clinch its third consecutive outright and undefeated Mountain West championship.
Waymon James, Matthew Tucker and Ed Wesley all ran for touchdowns for TCU (10-2, 7-0), which won its last 24 games in that league before moving to the Big 12 Conference next season. Casey Pachall and Matt Brown both scored on quarterback keepers on the rain-soaked field.
UNLV fell to 2-10, 1-6.
NO. 19 BAYLOR 48,
Robert Griffin III ran for two touchdowns and passed for two more to lead Baylor (9-3, 6-3 Big 12) past Texas (7-5, 4-5), capping the Bears' best regular season in 25 years and perhaps doing enough to persuade Heisman Trophy voters he's the best player in college football.
Baylor's defense gave up a 14-0 lead but also forced six turnovers, three of them setting up Baylor touchdowns.
Case McCoy passed for 356 yards and three touchdowns for Texas but had five turnovers.