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Houston Cougars vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane Game Preview

Tulsa needs a win, and Houston’s getting reps for younger players.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 16 Memphis at Houston Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Date: Saturday, November 23rd
Start time: 6:30pm CT
How to watch: ESPNU
Line: Tulsa -3
Location: Chapman Stadium

Players to watch

Houston Cougars

WR Marquez Stevenson
CB Damarion Williams
C Jack Freeman
RB Kyle Porter
LB Zamar Kirven

Tulsa Golden Hurricane

LB Cooper Edmiston
QB Zach Smith
RB Shamari Brooks
LB Zaven Collins
WR Keylon Stokes

Houston Cougars Outlook

If you’re still paying attention to Houston Cougars football, your interest quickly turned into the future after last week. Dana Holgorsen’s staff continues to look towards 2020, and that means we’ll see younger players on the field more often. We saw Patrick Paul get his first collegiate start at left tackle, and a number of other players saw their first reps as well.

Winning is still the goal, but creating depth and finding starters for next year almost takes more precedence. Clayton Tune figures to get another start, but we’ve yet to see much progress from him. We know what we’re getting from a handful of players (see: Marquez Stevenson, Josh Jones, etc.), but the offense has plenty of issues to address. If they can show improvement like the defense has all year, fans might feel more positive about next year.

That defense, believe it or not, has improved. Yes, there are flaws to fix, but that comes with time. If you look back to the two previous years, this group’s playing with a lot more discipline, and they refuse to quit. It’s tough to see the strides this group’s made with all of the losing, but they are better than last year. These next two weeks might be rough if there’s a rotation, but it’s all a part of the plan.

Tulsa Golden Hurricane Outlook

The biggest question facing Tulsa: how do they respond after pulling off a massive upset? They just stunned UCF, but that can’t be the end of it. Finishing 3-9 or 4-8 seems unacceptable, even though 4-8 is technically an improvement. We’ve said it here numerous times, this is a much improved Tulsa team, but the record doesn’t show that. Two wins to end the year will smooth things over.

Zach Smith can take a lot of the credit for Tulsa’s improvement. The biggest thing holding the Golden Hurricane back was the quarterback position, and Smith elevated the offense. Shamari Brooks and Corey Taylor II were ready to shoulder most of the load themselves, but Smith’s emergence relieved some of that pressure. Now, they’re the favorite against Houston, which isn’t something anyone could have guessed coming into the season.


Houston’s trending in the wrong direction, but they’re looking towards next year. Tulsa needs these next two games to end in the win column, so the urgency is on their side. Surprisingly, it doesn’t look like Houston can keep up with the Golden Hurricane offense. That is, unless the Coogs defense steps up big. TULSA 30 HOUSTON 24