Quarterback Shea Smith ran for 97 yards and three touchdowns and Air Force rushed for 380 yards, then withstood a late Houston rally for a 31-28 win Saturday in a game moved to Dallas because of Hurricane Ike.
Smith scored on runs of 2, 1 and 6 yards, and Kyle Lumpkin added 76 rushing yards for Air Force (3-0), which ran the ball 71 times and passed only seven-- without one completion.
Case Keenum completed 34 of 57 passes for 362 yards and four touchdowns for Houston (1-2). Keenum ran for 98 yards on 10 carries, and Mark Hafner had three TD catches for the Cougars.
The game was shifted to SMU's Ford Stadium because of the hurricane that made landfall early Saturday.
After monitoring weather forecasts, officials from both schools decided on Friday afternoon to move up Saturday's kickoff four and a half hours from a planned 2:30 p.m. start time.
Even with the change in venue, game conditions were rainy, and winds from the outer edge of the storm gusted to 25 mph.
Houston's offense got off to a good start as Keenum was 8-of-9 for 79 yards in the opening quarter and a 7-0 lead on Keenum's 14-yard TD pass to Hafner.
Air Force's defense, entering the game fifth nationally in average points allowed (5.0) and ninth against the pass (99.5 yards), clamped down in the second quarter. The Falcons started blitzing more, sacking Keenum once and forcing him into 10 incompletions in 19 attempts in the second quarter.
The Falcons took a 10-7 edge early in the second quarter when Smith scored from 2 yards out. Air Force expanded its halftime lead to 17-7 on Savie Stephens' 7-yard touchdown run with a bit more than five minutes remaining.
The Falcons took the second-half kickoff and advanced 59 yards in eight plays, with Smith sprinting a career-long 41 yards to the 3 and Smith scoring from the 1 to make it 24-7.
Smith's 6-yard touchdown run with 4:25 left in the third quarter extended Air Force's advantage to 31-7.
Keenum threw a 25-yard TD pass to Andre Kohn with three minutes left in the third quarter, and Hafner's 7-yard TD catch with 10:11 to play made it 31-21.
Hafner's 7-yard touchdown with 3:38 remaining narrowed the deficit to 31-28, but Air Force was able to run out the clock.