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The Big Tulane vs. Houston preview

The Green Wave look for their first conference win, and Houston finally gets on the field.

Phat Watts of the Tulane Green Wave reacts after a score against the Navy Midshipmen at Yulman Stadium on September 19, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The American Conference has the entire non-baseball sports world to itself tonight as the Tulane Green Wave heads to The 713 to face the Houston Cougars, who are finally playing their first football game of 2020 after many cancelations.

#RollWave is 2-1 this season, with a 27-24 win over South Alabama and a 66-24 destruction of Southern Miss two weeks ago. Their loss came in via a brutal 24-point blown lead to Navy, losing 27-24 and not scoring in the second half.

Tulane runs the ball as well as anyone, using a part-pistol-part-option offense that blends some Bob Stitt with some academy triple option. They’re averaging 6.7 yards per carry, and are one of the rare teams that actually throws it for less yards per attempt (5.8) than they rush it. Tyjae Spears and Cameron Carroll have combined for 525 yards rushing out of the backfield so far this season, whereas starting quarterback Keon Howard has accounted for just 356 yards via both passing and rushing.

Houston football has had more stops and starts than the METRORail that runs outside TDECU Stadium. A total of FIVE games have been canceled this season, with Rice, Washington State, Memphis (rescheduled for December 5th), Baylor, and then North Texas have all pulled the plug before facing UH.

With D’Eriq King off to Miami, Clayton Tune will be the signal caller for the Coogs, but his 11 TD’s and nine interceptions last year after King left raises concerns. Kyle Porter will be the lead back after 130 carries for 615 yards, and his offensive line returns 43 career starts from last season. Despite holding players out for redshirt purposes last year, Dana Holgorsen returns ten previous starters on offense and nine on defense. 2020 will be a test of the semi-tanking the team did last year, and there are certainly pieces in place for UH to compete for a conference championship again.

Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming

You can watch this game on October 8th at 7:30 ET on ESPN. Streaming is also available via the ESPN app.

Point Spread, Totals, Odds, Trends

Point spread: Tulane +7
Point Total: O/U 60 -110
Money line: Tulane (+220), Houston (-278)

Pick: Under 60

Despite the projected breakneck pace of the Coogs offense, Tulane has only run 71 plays per game. And the team that has the most in-game experience this season. We’d expect Houston to go for some big plays early, but once the game settles into a rhythm, the scoring should come down a bit. We’ll fade the points here, with the Wave trying to grind out the clock to keep the scoring down.