HOUSTON -- — Third-string quarterback Kai Horton tossed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Tyjae Spears in overtime to give Tulane a 27-24 victory over Houston on Friday night in an American Athletic Conference opener.
Bubba Baxa kicked a 36-yard field goal for Houston (2-3, 0-1) in the opening possession of overtime.
Horton forced overtime after leading a 75-yard, 11-play drive capped by his 3-yard touchdown shuffle pass to Tyrick James that tied the game 21-21 with 39 seconds remaining.
Horton, who entered having thrown just one pass this season, took over for Justin Ibieta after Tulane's first series of offense. Horton completed 11 of 21 passes for 132 yards that included a 13-yard TD pass to Duece Watts early in the second quarter.
Spears finished with six catches for 85 yards and added 54 yards rushing on 14 carries.
Tulane (4-1, 1-0) jumped ahead 14-7 midway through the third quarter when Houston quarterback Clayton Tune dropped the ball while diving for extra yardage. Jadon Canady then scooped it up and ran untouched 57 yards into the end zone. It was the Green Wave's first fumble return for a touchdown since Nov. 14, 2020 against Army.
Houston's Brandon Campbell bullied into the end zone from the 1 that tied it 14-14 with 10:04 remaining. Tune completed a 41-yard pass to KeSean Carter before Campbell scored three plays later. Tune's 14-yard touchdown pass to Nathaniel Dell gave the Cougars a 21-14 lead with 3:04 to play.
Tune was 22-of-33 passing for 208 yards with two touchdown passes.
Tulane last won at Houston on Nov. 8, 2014.