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Houston Takes Care Of Business Against Tulane, Now 6-0

The Cougars weren't at their best, but it was enough to handle the Green Wave. Houston is still undefeated, while Tulane falls to 2-4 and 1-2 in conference play.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Last year the stars aligned for Tulane to beat Houston — the defense held its own, the offense managed to put up some points and the Cougars were ripe for the poaching.

On Friday night at Yulman Stadium, the defense kept Houston at bay as long as possible, but like most games this season, the offense struggled mightily and these are different Cougars.

Houston had no trouble dispatching the Green Wave in a 42-7 win and improved to 6-0. Tulane had more penalties than first downs and fell to 2-4.

It seems as if all of the Green Wave's losses follow the same script and Friday was no different.

  • Tulane got off to a slow start. The Cougars scored on the first play from scrimmage on a 49-yard pass and then again on the first play of the second quarter to increase its lead to 14-0.
  • The Green Wave's offense was nowhere to be seen. Until Tulane moved the ball a bit late in the fourth quarter against Houston's second-string defense, the Cougars' punt returner (Demarcus Ayers) nearly had more return yards (175) than the Green Wave had total offense (180).
  • Stupid penalties extended dead drives by an opponent. Tulane committed 12 infractions for 133 yards and most of them were for late hits or unsportsmanlike conduct. Head coach Curtis Johnson used the word "discipline" about 1,000 times in his post-game press conference. Right now, the Green Wave lack it.
If the Green Wave ever had a chance to turn the tide on Friday, it would have happened following its only touchdown. Johnson rolled the dice on fourth down and Tulane ran a well-executed fake punt. One play later, Dontrell Hilliard punched in a 3-yard run.

Any momentum from that touchdown went out the window when Houston responded with seven points of its own. The Cougars drove 69 yards in 2:05 and quarterback Greg Ward Jr. capped it with a 5-yard run of his own to put them up 21-7.

Ward showed why he is one of the best quarterbacks in the American Athletic Conference on Friday. The Green Wave had no answer for his speed (77 rushing yards) or his arm (completed 17 of 25 passes for 222 yards).

Houston will look to keep its undefeated season alive next week when it visits hapless UCF. Tulane's Stretch From Hell continues against the United States Naval Academy next Saturday.