- Associated Press - Friday, September 12, 2014

PROVO, Utah (AP) - If Taysom Hill needs to take off running 26 times every game, so be it. As long as BYU is winning.

The dual-threat junior quarterback ran for 160 yards on 26 carries with one score, and threw for 200 yards and another in No. 25 BYU’s 33-25 victory over Houston on Thursday night.

“My mindset is, whatever it takes,” he said.

Jamaal Williams rushed for 139 yards and two TDs for BYU, which has won its opening three games for the first time since 2008. BYU moved into the rankings after a 41-7 victory over Texas last weekend.

But it wasn’t pretty.

BYU jumped out to an early 23-0 lead, but Houston (1-2) scored 15 straight points before halftime. Overall, BYU had 11 penalties for 98 yards, had a player ejected, and committed three turnovers.

“I’m glad that we continues to battle, continued to fight,” coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “We had some offensive momentum in the first half, and we moved it when we needed to. Overall, it was a hard fought win. There’s plenty to work on, but a lot of things that I was pleased with.”

Houston’s John O’Korn passed for 307 yards and three touchdowns, including a 45-yard desperation heave to Daniel Spencer as time ran out in the first half. Deontay Greenberry made a pair of touchdown catches.

“You have to give a lot of credit to our team for not giving up and not folding. We just kept fighting,” linebacker Derrick Matthews said. “When we were down 23-0 early it could have been easy for us to lay down, but that’s not who we are. I feel like we showed a lot of passion and a lot of heart.”

The teams met last season with BYU pulling out the win on Hill’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Skyler Ridley with less than two minutes to go for a 47-46 win.

BYU’s fake punt to cap its opening drive of the second half Thursday failed and the team was also hurt by a personal foul penalty on Tejan Koroma, who was ejected from the game.

Trevor Samson kicked a 26-yard field goal to extend BYU’s lead to 26-15 late in the third quarter. Williams added a 2-yard touchdown run early in the final period.

BYU appeared to score on its first drive of the game, but Hill’s 32-yard pass to Devon Blackmon was called back by an illegal formation penalty.

Houston’s Ryan Jackson later fumbled in the end zone, and the ball was recovered by Zac Stout for the safety to put BYU up 2-0. Williams’ 11-yard touchdown run pushed the lead to 9-0 before Hill scored on a 5-yard keeper.

Houston’s Kyle Bullard attempted a 38-yard field goal early in the second quarter but the ball barely got off the ground because of a muffed hold.

Hill hit Mitch Matthews with a 6-yard scoring pass to make it 23-0 with 8:57 to go before halftime.

Houston rallied, and after Bullard made a 29-yard field goal, defensive tackle Joey Mbu intercepted Hill at the BYU 29. Houston capped the ensuing series with O’Korn’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Greenberry.

Hill found Mitch Juergens with a 38-yard pass, but safety Adrian McDonald forced a fumble and ran the ball back 28 yards to the BYU 45. With time running out, Spencer pulled down O’Korn’s 45-yard heave to make it 23-15 at the break.

“It was one of those unbelievable plays that worked out. That’s what happens when you give your guys a chance,” O’Korn said.

Bullard missed the extra points after both Houston touchdowns.

“We started out great. We just come off the gas a little bit,” Williams said. “We weren’t used to getting up so quickly in the first half. Defense always holds up, but the offense just can’t take the foot off the gas.”

Hill had 360 yards of total offense, and he and Williams combined for nearly 300 of BYU’s 323 yards rushing.

Hill, who has been popping up as a Heisman Trophy contender, has been chosen as the FBS Independents’ player of the week after each of the season’s first two weekends.

He rushed for five touchdowns and threw for three more and accounted for an average of 342.5 yards in total offense in those first two games.

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