HOUSTON -- Ryan Jackson rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns to lead Houston to a 62-13 win over Southern in the season opener for both teams Friday night.
David Piland was 15 of 23 for 148 yards and a touchdown and John O'Korn threw for 107 yards and three touchdowns in a backup role. Kenneth Farrow added 97 yards on the ground for the Cougars, which piled up 627 yards of offense -- 372 on the ground -- in their first game in the American Athletic Conference.
Daniel Spencer caught nine passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a third score for Houston, which was penalized 14 times for 126 yards.
Southern's Dray Joseph finished 27 of 36 for 268 yards and two touchdowns. Samuel Altman caught four passes for 74 yards and a score and Willie Quinn had six catches for 77 yards and a touchdown.
Jackson rushed for an 8-yard touchdown less than three minutes into the game to begin the scoring, and after the Jaguars cut Houston's lead to 13-6 on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Joseph to Altman with 8:26 left in the second quarter, the Cougars took just over two minutes to up the lead to 14 on Jackson's second touchdown of the game, this one from 15 yards out.
The Cougars extended the lead to 27-6 with 2:34 remaining before the half on a 10-yard pass from Piland to Deontay Greenberry that followed a Southern turnover on a punt return.
Spencer extended the lead to 34-6 with a 45-yard touchdown run on a reverse down the right sideline just 39 seconds into the second half.
Joseph would close the Jaguars back to within 21 on a 38-yard touchdown pass to Willie Quinn with 12:47 to go in the third.
Following a Tomme Mark interception of Joseph, O'Korn found Spencer for a 9-yard touchdown pass with 9:37 left in the third. O'Korn found Spencer again for an 11-yard score to begin the fourth. He added a touchdown pass of 9 yards to John Leday late in the fourth.
Justin Hicks went in from a yard out midway through the fourth for Houston's fourth rushing touchdown of the game.