ECU Wins Shootout Over Houston

Chris Johnson rushed for 147 yards and two touchdowns to lead East Carolina to a 37-35 win over Houston on Saturday night.

East Carolina (2-3, 1-1 Conference USA) led 34-21 in the third quarter and held on late as Houston (2-2, 1-1) missed two field goals in the game's final two minutes.

Houston's Donnie Avery returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown to cut East Carolina's lead to 37-35 on the final play of the third quarter.

Avery also caught nine passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns.

But Houston's comeback fell just short as T.J. Lawrence missed a 37-yard field goal with 1:55 left. His 38-yard attempt with three seconds remaining went wide right.

East Carolina trailed 21-20 at halftime, but took the lead for the good on its first possession of the third quarter.

Rob Kass threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Lee to put East Carolina ahead 27-21 with 13:24 left in the third.

Johnson scored his second touchdown of the game on a 43-yard run that gave the Pirates a 34-21 cushion.

Houston cut into the lead on a 4-yard touchdown run by Anthony Alridge with 4:26 left in the third.

Alridge rushed for 89 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.

Houston's Case Keenum threw two interceptions in the first half that set up East Carolina's first two touchdowns.

Keenum, who threw a 64-yard TD to Avery in the first quarter, was replaced by Blake Joseph in the second quarter.

Keenum's second interception set up Patrick Pinkney's 20-yard touchdown pass to Dwayne Harris that gave the Pirates a 13-7 lead early in the second quarter.

Joseph, who was 24-of-29 for 250 yards, threw a 36-yard TD pass to Avery to put Houston ahead 14-13.

East Carolina took a 20-14 when C.J. Wilson blocked a 49-yard field attempt, and Zack Slate returned it to the Houston 11.

Two plays later, Brandon Simmons scored on a 1-yard run.

Joseph threw a 5-yard TD pass to Alridge to give the Cougars a 21-20 halftime lead.