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Houston Cougars complete comeback to stun Memphis Tigers

Down 19 points heading in the fourth quarter, the Houston Cougars looked dead in the water and headed to an 0-2 start in the American Athletic Conference

But Cougars quarterback Clayton Tune had a message for his teammates as they huddled in the fourth. 

Quarterback Clayton Tune #3 of the Houston Cougars looks to pass during the first half of the game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Jones AT&T Stadium on September 10, 2022, in Lubbock, Texas. 

Quarterback Clayton Tune #3 of the Houston Cougars looks to pass during the first half of the game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Jones AT&T Stadium on September 10, 2022, in Lubbock, Texas. 
( John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

“Don’t stop believing,” Tune said, according to the Houston Chronicle. “That’s what I said the entire fourth quarter.” 

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The Houston Cougars rallied from a 19-point deficit with 14:50 remaining in the game, scoring 26 fourth-quarter points to stun the Memphis Tigers. 

Houston was down 13 points with 4:04 remaining in the game, but the Cougars scored two touchdowns on passes from Tune and recovered an onside kick to move to 3-3 on the season. 

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“Just when you think it can’t get any crazier, right?” Houston head coach Dana Holgorsen said. “I don’t know what to say. I’m just so proud of our coaches and players. I’ve never been around a group that resilient.”

Houston Cougars head coach Dana Holgorsen chats with team members before the football game between the Tulane Green Wave and Houston Cougars at TDECU Stadium on September 30, 2022, in Houston, TX. 

Houston Cougars head coach Dana Holgorsen chats with team members before the football game between the Tulane Green Wave and Houston Cougars at TDECU Stadium on September 30, 2022, in Houston, TX. 
(Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Following a Memphis field goal that put the Tigers up 32-19, Tune led Houston on a 12-play, 75-yard drive, capped off by a 13-yard touchdown from Tune to KeSean Carter. 

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Down six with 1:17 left in the game, Houston went for the onside kick and miraculously recovered. 

Tune then drove the Cougars down the field, putting the finishing touches on the comeback with a two-yard touchdown pass to Carter with 18 seconds remaining in the game. 

Houston Cougars head coach Dana Holgorsen pleads his case with the official after the Cougars were called for pass interference during the overtime period during the football game between the Tulane Green Wave and Houston Cougars at TDECU Stadium on September 30, 2022, in Houston, TX. 

Houston Cougars head coach Dana Holgorsen pleads his case with the official after the Cougars were called for pass interference during the overtime period during the football game between the Tulane Green Wave and Houston Cougars at TDECU Stadium on September 30, 2022, in Houston, TX. 
(Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“We’re 1-1 in the conference,” Holgorsen said. “We’re alive.”

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Tune finished the game 36-57 for 366 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception.

FBS teams were 0-129 when entering the fourth quarter down 19 points or more this season, according to ESPN. 

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