Smith finished 21-of-27 for 253 yards and four touchdowns. He threw a Hail Mary from midfield, the ball was tipped at the goal line and Johnson caught it to end the game. Smith, who completed his final 16 passes, also ran for a touchdown as Houston (3-3, 1-2 Big 12) earned its first Big 12 win.
Johnson caught four passes for 96 yards, and Stacy Sneed rushed for 78 yards on seven carries.
Garrett Greene threw for 391 yards and two touchdowns. Greene, who was 20-of-38 passing, also rushed for 47 yards and two touchdowns for West Virginia (4-2, 2-1). The loss snapped West Virginia’s four-game win streak.
Devon Carter caught five passes for 116 yards. West Virginia outgained Houston 546-393 total yards.
Trailing 35-24, West Virginia cut the lead to three on an 8-yard touchdown run and a 2-point conversion pass to Traylon Ray. After Houston was forced to punt, Greene found Hudson Clement for a 50-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-10 to give the Mountaineers a four-point lead with 12 seconds left.
The teams combined to score 42 fourth-quarter points.
The Mountaineers, who entered ranked 11th nationally with nearly 33 minutes per game, owned time of possession, holding on to the ball 37 minutes. West Virginia was able to keep drives going, finishing 13-of-19 on third downs. The Mountaineers, who entered averaging 3.6 penalties per game, were whistled for eight penalties for 84 yards.
The Cougars’ offense struggled to stay on the field, converting 3-of-9 third downs. … Houston scored a second half touchdown for the first time in conference play after not scoring in the second half against TCU or Texas Tech in their first two conference games. Houston scored on four of their six second-half drives, and Smith did not have an incompletion in the second half.
Reporting by The Associated Press.
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