The Tulane Green Wave will hope to stay on the winning track when they host the Houston Cougars at Yulman Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Tulane had lost four games in a row before beating East Carolina this past weekend. The Cougars have won two straight at the expense of South Florida and East Carolina. They most recently enjoyed an off week.
Back from a bye
Houston has not taken the field since hammering East Carolina 52-27 on Nov. 4. In that contest, the Cougars churned out 472 yards of total offense–including 330 through the air. Quarterback D’Eriq King completed 15 of 21 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for one of Houston’s three scores on the ground. Five different players had multiple carries for the Cougars, who finished with 142 rushing yards. On the defensive side of the ball, the bye week may have paid off at just the right time. Outside linebacker Khalil Williams could return on Saturday after missing one game with a sprained ankle.
“I feel like he should be able to get back possibly this week, if not this week next week,” head coach Major Applewhite said. “Everybody else is back to some degree,” Applewhite said.
Defense getting recognized
Tulane used its defense to outlast East Carolina 31-24 last week. The Green Wave limited East Carolina to 25 completions in 53 attempts just one game after the Pirates had broken school and American Athletic Conference records with 52 completions on 68 attempts at Houston. Tulane was credited with 12 deflections as a team and junior cornerback Donnie Lewis had six pass breakups by the end of the third quarter. East Carolina averaged a mere 4.2 yards per pass attempt.
Cornerback Perry Nickerson and defensive end Ade Aruna were recently selected to participate in the 2018 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, the premier postseason all-star game for any draft-eligible college football players. Nickerson has 48 tackles (two for loss) and four interceptions and six pass breakups. His four picks rank tied for first in the AAC and are tied for ninth in the entire FBS. Aruna has 18 tackles and three sacks this season. He has also one fumble recovery, one pass breakup, and three quarterback hurries.
The Houston Cougars are:
- 21-7-1 ATS in their last 29 road games
- 6-1 ATS in their last seven road games against teams with losing home records
- 20-8 ATS in their last 28 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game
The Tulane Green Wave are:
- 1-3-1 ATS in their last five overall
- 2-8 ATS in their last 10 home games against teams with winning road records
- 2-5-1 ATS in their last eight games in November
King has four touchdown passes and no interceptions in two games as Houston’s primary quarterback. The off week should only help rather than putting a dent in King’s progress. Houston took care of Tulane 30-18 last season and something similar may be in the cards for the 2017 rematch. The Cougars are 21-7-1 ATS in their last 29 on the road, 6-1 ATS in their last seven on the road against opponents with losing home records, 20-8 ATS in their last 28 after scoring more than 40 points in their previous outing, 9-4-1 ATS in their last 14 following a win by more than 20 points, 11-2 ATS in the last 13 meetings between the two teams, and 6-0 ATS in their last six on the road against the Green Wave. Tulane is 1-3-1 ATS in its last five overall, 2-8 ATS in its last 10 at home against opponents with winning road records, and 2-5-1 ATS in its last eight in November. Expect those trends to continue.