TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- John Parker Wilson threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third Saturday, but it took a big defensive play by Simeon Castille for Alabama to put away Houston 30-24 on the final play.
Faced with criticism from fans after the Crimson Tide lost to Georgia and Florida State, Wilson responded with a pair of 23-yard touchdown passes to Nikita Stover and Mike McCoy and a 1-yard sneak to give Alabama (4-2) a 23-0 lead after one quarter.
Houston's unorthodox no-huddle offense finally broke through, and the Cougars (2-3) found themselves with a chance to tie the game on the final play.
Brandon Brinkley picked off Wilson and the Cougars drove to the Alabama 15 with 5 seconds remaining. Facing fourth-and-3, Case Keenum scrambled away from pressure and threw a rainbow into a crowd on the left side of the end zone.
Castille came down with the ball to preserve the win and was mobbed by teammates.
Glen Coffee led Alabama with 122 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries. D.J. Hall caught three passes for 19 yards to become Alabama's all-time receptions leader with 153, breaking the old mark set by Freddie Milons.
Houston made it a game despite early breakdowns on defense.
Alabama built its lead to 30-10 on Coffee's run, which was set up by a fumbled punt, but things got tight for the Tide after that.
Keenum scored on a 2-yard run to cap a 75-yard, 12-play drive early in the fourth quarter, and Anthony Aldridge caught a 30-yard touchdown pass from Keenum.
The Cougars got the ball back on their own 39 with 2:56 remaining, but Castille's interception killed the comeback.
Houston averaged better than 33 points a game coming in, but it was allowing more than 30 points. The numbers wound up working in favor of Alabama, even though Houston outgained Alabama 404 yards to 347.
Wilson completed 15 of 27 passes for 157 yards.
Nike Youth Alabama Crimson Tide #3 Crimson Football Game JerseyShop
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher hopes quarterback Sean Maguire is ready to go full speed by the middle of June.
Graduate transfer quarterback Davis Webb has officially joined California, giving the Golden Bears an experienced option to replace No. 1 overall NFL draft pick Jared Goff.
First-year football coach Dino Babers, hired by former Syracuse AD Mark Coyle, is on the committee that will search for Coyle's replacement.
Hugh Freeze has some major holes to fill on offense with the departures of Laremy Tunsil and Laquon Treadwell, but there is Chady Kelly and good depth.
After transferring in from Montana State, Dakota Prukop has a checklist he's working from as he prepares to compete for the Oregon job.
The destination for Week 6 of the Big 12 Ultimate Road Trip is unanimous, as all three conference reporters would head to the Red River Rivalry.