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Tulane vs. Houston Game Preview

Houston looks to extend their winning streak against a triple option team.

NCAA Football: East Carolina at Houston Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Saturday, November 18th

Kickoff: 3:00pm CT

Location: Yulman Stadium (New Orleans, LA)

TV: ESPNNews

Stream: WatchESPN

Line: Houston -9.5

Series Record: Houston leads 16-5


Houston Outlook

When the season started, this game appeared to be one that would be difficult because of Tulane’s improvement. The Green Wave are now struggling, which makes this game hard to judge. Last year, Houston expected to dominate the game, but only won by 12. That underestimation won’t be seen this year.

One matchup that’s intriguing is the Tulane offensive line against Houston’s defensive line. The Green Wave boast the 18th best rushing attack in the nation, and don’t like to pass often. Players like Ed Oliver, Reggie Chevis, and Nick Thurman will play big roles in limiting that attack. If the Cougars can force Tulane to pass, this game could get out of hand quickly. Oliver still remains the best defensive lineman in the country, and he can expect plenty of double teams against this triple option attack. With that being said, the secondary can’t get lazy. Tulane may not pass a ton, but the Cougars secondary needs to be ready when they do. Houston’s pass defense has been a weakness mostly due to injury, but those young players need to be disciplined in their reads.

Offensively, there’s not reason why the Cougars can’t have their way with the Green Wave defense. D’Eriq King’s outstanding stretch should continue, and the offense should keep gaining momentum against a defense that struggles to stop any aspect of an opposing offense. Personally, I would like to see the rushing attack be a little more consistent for Houston. Duke Catalon and Mulbah Car have been inconsistent running the ball for various reasons, but due have the ability to go over 100 yards each in a game. However, King has shown the ability to pass the ball well, so a lack of a run game won’t do too much damage.

Tulane Outlook (Lance Charles):

The Green Wave got back in the win column last week versus ECU, ending a 4 game slide, and keeping the program’s post season chances alive for another week. Uncharacteristic turnovers by the Tulane kept the game close, but the Wave was able to secure the victory in overtime. The win was a milestone as it was the program’s first victory at ECU in its history.

The Green Wave offense got back to doing what it does last week versus the Pirates, and that’s running the football. The Wave piled up 325 yards on the ground led by the LSWA offensive player of the week, running back Dontrell Hilliard, who rushed for a career high 189 yards and 2 touchdowns. Quarterback Jonathan Banks added another 96 yards and 2 scores on the ground while passing for 110 yards as well. The Green Wave are currently ranked 18th in the nation averaging 244 yards rushing per game and the offensive line will have to continue to open holes versus one of the toughest rushing defenses in the nation. As the Cougars defense, led by Ed Oliver, is ranked 38th in the nation versus the run; surrendering only 140 yards per game. The game will hinge on Tulane’s ability to open holes versus the talented Cougar front.

NCAA Football: Tulane at Memphis
Tulane QB Jonathan Banks
Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Defensively the Green Wave are coming off of a good, if uneven, performance last week versus the Pirates. The secondary had one of their best games of the season, with Parry Nickerson recording his 14th career interception and fellow corner Donnie Lewis credited with 6 passes broken up. Yet they were unable to get a stop in the fourth quarter with the game on the line, but the defensive line and linebackers stood tall with a goal line stand to win the game in overtime. Robert Kennedy stood out amongst the defensive linemen, while Rae Juan Marbley and Zachery Harris both recorded double digit tackle totals during the game. Marbley was named AAC defensive player of the week for his efforts versus ECU. The Green Wave defense has not always performed up to their ability, currently ranked 97th in the nation in total yardage and 81st in PPG, but they do generate turnovers, with 10 interceptions and 4 fumble recoveries so far this season. And the best way to stop D’Eriq King and the Houston offense will be to keep them on the sidelines by forcing turnovers.

3 Keys:

1) Can the Tulane offensive line keep Ed Oliver from wrecking the offense? Mr. Oliver is arguably the best defensive player in the nation, and any offensive plans the Green Wave has must take him into account.

2) Make D’Eriq King a pocket passer. King has shown himself to be a dynamic playmaker with his arm and his legs but he is relatively short at 5’11 and due to time spent at receiver he may not be as adept at passing from the pocket.

3) 1Jonathan Banks, Tulane quarterback must have a great game making decisions. As the quarterback of a zone option team Banks’ decisions make the running game go, and this week he must be spot on with his reads on the option

Prediction

Saturday’s game keeps looking like a blowout, but Houston better come out swinging. Tulane may be down, but they’re not out yet. Stopping the running attack while also being disciplined will pay huge dividends for Houston’s defense, and Houston’s offense is simply too powerful for the Green Wave defense.

Houston 34 Tulane 20


Poll

Who wins this AAC matchup?

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    Houston Cougars
    (30 votes)
  • 30%
    Tulane Green Wave
    (13 votes)
43 votes total Vote Now