College Football
Preview
Tulane at Houston
When: 3:30 PM ET, Saturday, November 12, 2016
Where: TDECU Stadium, Houston, Texas

Houston used a bye week to get healthy before hosting Tulane - winless in American Athletic Conference action - on Saturday. The Cougars are focused on that task and not looking ahead to next week's showdown with Louisville, a matchup that has lost some luster after Houston lost two games in October.

The Cougars rank 10th in the country in total defense (299.1 yards per game) but the Green Wave comes with a twist on the triple-option offense. Houston struggled to stop Navy's triple option - giving up 306 yards in a 46-40 loss - and Tulane runs the offense out of different looks. "Their offense is very unique," Houston coach Tom Herman said Monday. "It will be a great test for our defense. We don't need to change our defense completely ... but on every snap on defense we have to ensure that we have someone for the pitch and quarterback if they run triple option." Houston has won 13 straight at home while Green Wave haven't won a road conference game since a visit to Houston on Nov. 8, 2014.

TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network. LINE: Houston -24

ABOUT TULANE (3-6, 0-5 AAC): The Green Wave are third in the conference in total defense (360.7 yards) and tied for fifth nationally with 21 turnovers gained (12 fumbles, nine interceptions). Tulane's ground attack averages 251.6 yards and has tallied 20 touchdowns, led by Dontrell Hilliard's 80.4 yards and nine touchdowns and Josh Rounds' 63.4 yards and five scores. Terren Encalade (28 catches, 397 yards) has caught six of the eight TD passes thrown by quarterback Glen Cuiellette (885 yards, seven interceptions).

ABOUT HOUSTON (7-2, 4-2): Greg Ward Jr. - who is 25-4 as Houston's starter - has 2,419 passing yards with 14 TDs and eight interceptions to go with a team-high 432 rushing yards and eight scores. Duke Catalon adds 361 rushing yards and two scores while Linell Bonner has caught 59 passes for 677 yards and two TDs. The Houston defense - ranked third nationally in rush defense (92.0) - forced four turnovers in its last game and has 14 takeaways.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Tulane is tied for 16th nationally in turnover margin (plus-7) despite losing five turnovers to Central Florida - including three returned for touchdowns - last week.

2. Houston freshman DT Ed Oliver (team-high 51 tackles) is second in the AAC with 15 tackles for loss while Tulane senior LB Nico Marley (team-high 67 tackles) is tied for seventh with 9.5.

3. Ward needs two rushing touchdowns to tie Bryce Beall's school record of 39 (2008-11).

PREDICTION: Houston 42, Tulane 13
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Tulane 3-6 L4 25.9 28.7 2-3 1-3 0-1 0-0 0-5
Houston 7-2 W1 38.4 21.7 5-0 2-2 1-0 4-0 4-2
Last Meeting
Tulane Houston
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
10/16/15 HOU 42 TULN 7 262 112 150 461 239 222
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Tulane D. Powell 39.3 88 0 0
Houston G. Ward Jr. 68.0 222 1 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Tulane D. Hilliard 11 53 4.8 1
Houston K. Farrow 14 77 5.5 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Tulane D. Breaux 3 88 29.3 0
Houston D. Ayers 6 93 15.5 0
Touchdowns Player TD
Tulane D. Hilliard 1
Houston G. Ward Jr. 3
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Tulane G. Cuiellette 40.2 885 8 7
Houston G. Ward Jr. 69.4 2419 14 8
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Tulane D. Hilliard 122 724 5.9 9
Houston G. Ward Jr. 139 432 3.1 8
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Tulane T. Encalade 28 397 14.2 6
Houston L. Bonner 59 677 11.5 2
Touchdowns Player TD
Tulane D. Hilliard 9
Houston G. Ward Jr. 8
Quickchart Matchup
Tulane Tulane Off vs  Houston Houston Def
Tulane 354.8 yards
Houston 299.1 yards
Tulane 4.9 yards/rush
Houston 2.8 yards/rush
Tulane 5 yards/attempt
Houston 6.8 yards/attempt
Houston Houston Off vs  Tulane Tulane Def
Houston 470.8 yards
Tulane 360.7 yards
Houston 3.9 yards/rush
Tulane 4 yards/rush
Houston 7.8 yards/attempt
Tulane 7.3 yards/attempt