Memphis, TN (Sports Network) - David Piland threw for 292 yards and five touchdowns, as the Houston Cougars crushed the Memphis Tigers, 56-17, in Conference USA action at Liberty Bowl Stadium.
Piland was nearly perfect, as he completed 20-of-23 pass attempts for Houston (5-3, 4-1 CUSA), which rolled up 651 yards of total offense. Patrick Edwards had four catches for 78 yards and two touchdowns, while Michael Hayes rushed for 123 yards and a score on 20 carries.
Memphis (1-7, 0-5) was led by Gregory Ray, who ran for 176 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.
The Tigers jumped out to an early lead after Paulo Henriques booted a 39-yard field goal just over five minutes into the game.
Houston responded minutes later with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Piland to Edwards.
The Cougars put the game away in the second quarter when they scored all 28 points of the frame. Hayes first rumbled one-yard for a score before Edwards returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown. Edwards then hauled in a 54-yard touchdown pass from Piland, who completed the first-half scoring with a 22- yard strike to Hayes.
Houston didn't let up much after the break, as Piland threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Justin Johnson early in the third quarter. Piland then connected with James Cleveland from 33 yards for another score.
Early in the fourth quarter, Memphis tallied its first touchdown with a five- yard run from Ray.
Backup QB Terrance Broadway then got into the mix for Houston, as he found E.J. Smith on a 54-yard scoring play.
Memphis' backup Cannon Smith plunged one yard for a touchdown to complete the game's scoring.