Tulane Green Wave vs. Houston Cougars Preview and Prediction


The (3-6) Tulane Green Wave are seeking to bounce back from a 4th consecutive loss last week, as they will face the (7-2) University of Houston Cougars at TDECU (Texas Dow Employees Credit Union) Stadium in Houston, Texas in an American Athletic Conference showdown in just a few short hours from now.

Here’s a quick Preview and Prediction for tomorrow’s contest:

WHO: Tulane Green Wave (3-6, 0-5 AAC) at Houston Cougars (7-2, 3-2 American Athletic Conference)

WHEN: Saturday, November 12th – 4:30 p.m. Eastern (3:30 Central)

WHERE: TDECU (Texas Dow Employees Credit Union) Stadium in Houston, Texas

TV: CBS Sports Network

ODDS: Houston by 23 and a half points

SERIES: Houston leads the all-time series, 15-5

SYNOPSIS: The Green Wave (3-6, 0-5 American Athletic), losers of 4 consecutive games; are on the road against the Houston Cougars (7-2, 4-2), who are coming off a bye week . The Green Wave are the only AAC football team without a conference win.

Tulane has been outscored 146 to 78 points, has lost the turnover war 11 to 8,  and averaged 8 penalties a game during the 4 game losing streak. The  Green Wave — who have  little margin for error — aren’t good enough to overcome sloppy play or falling behind in games.

Nov 14, 2015; West Point, NY, USA; Tulane Green Wave kicker Andrew DiRocco (42) kicks a game-winning field goal to beat the Army Black Knights 34-31 during the second half at Michie Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into this contest, Tulane’s special teams has also been a point of emphasis for Coach Fritz. Green Wave Kicker Andrew DiRocco had missed 4 of his last 5 field goals. DiRocco  previously had been named AAC Special Teams player of the week in the 4 OT win against ULL back in Week #4 by hitting 4 FG’s, but still has managed to keep Coach Fritz’s confidence and will remain a starter.

Green Wave QB Glenn Cuiellette has been struggling of late (and all season long, quite frankly) especially in conference play. Last Week against Central Florida, Cuiellette committed 5 turnovers in 6 possessions. Central Florida converted 3 of those turnovers into TD’s (1 fumble return TD, and 2 “Pick 6’s”) .

Cuiellette in conference play has completed 33% of his passes for 421 yards. Although Cuiellette is struggling and the QB is the catalysis in his offense, Coach Fritz — for better or worse — is sticking with Cuiellette.

Coach Fritz on Cuiellette:

"“We feel like Glen gives us the best chance to win, and that’s why he’s out there,” Fritz said. “The quarterback position is a little bit like the head coach. We get too much credit and too much blame when things don’t go well. He’ll bounce back. He’ll play well this week.”"

Coach Fritz on the offensive struggles:

"“It’s an offensive deal,” said Fritz. “The receivers were not running the correct route on some occasions, and we were making poor decisions on where to go with the football. We certainly need to get better as a whole group offensively. We’re not playing very well right now.”“We’ve got to really look at what we’re doing,”. “These are the same plays we replicate during practice. We feel like we should be lining up correctly, blocking the right guy, those kind of different things. When you get out there in real game situations, you’ve got to do it.“We have some guys that are having a difficult time executing and getting on the right bodies, just the simplistic things of football, the basics of football."

Can the Tulane O-Line dominate and control in the trenches?

The Green Wave’s run game averages 251 yards per game, good for 16th overall nationally. Conversely, the Houston Cougars defense only allows 92 yards per game rushing 3rd nationally.

The Green Wave offense must use ball control and win time of possession, in order for Tulane to have any realistic chance of winning.

Nov 14, 2015; West Point, NY, USA; Tulane Green Wave running back Sherman Badie (3) rushes the ball against the Army Black Knights during the second half at Michie Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Tulane — assuming that it follows the past 4 games script of committing inopportune turnovers, falling behind early, and numerous penalties — will get pounded by the Cougars if they cannot.

The Green Wave pass offense has to complete 55-60% of passes against the Cougars, for that to even take shape. The Green Wave pass offense, which has been inconsistent and at times downright futile; will have to complete passes just so the Green Wave running game won’t be facing off against a stuffed box.


Houston coach Tom Herman — who’s a rumored LSU coaching candidate — has the Cougars in position to finish strong. The Cougars who were an early college playoff candidate with a season-opening win against the Oklahoma Sooners and rose as far as #5 in the AP Poll, and #6 in the Coaches Poll, have fallen back to earth in recent weeks.

Nov 7, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Cougars head coach Tom Herman coaches against the Cincinnati Bearcats at TDECU Stadium. Houston won 33 to 30. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

In the middle of their schedule, they suddenly seemed to lose focus. Houston first lost a 46-40 heart-breaker on the road against a tough Navy Midshipman team, then followed that up with the inexplicable loss against SMU, a College Football Playoff and major bowl bid-killer for the Cougars.

This Cougar defense, specifically the Front 7, is athletic and stout. The Cougars defense is led by a trio of outstanding Front 7 players.

Defensive Tackle Ed Oliver has 51 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss and 3 sacks.  Linebackers Steven Taylor 46 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, and 1 “pick 6” (74 yds. for a TD), and Matthew Adams 49 total tackles, 6 TFL, and 2 forced fumbles. Additionally, cornerback Howard Wilson has 5 interceptions.

The Cougars explosive offense is led of course by the dynamic Greg Ward, Jr.

Ward has 22 total TD’s (14 passing, 8 rushing), and 8 interceptions. Ward — equally dangerous with his feet as well as his arm — leads Houston in rushing yardage with 432 yards.

Ward’s 3 favorite targets all average over 11 yards per catch. WR Linell Bonner has 59 catches, and fellow receivers Chance Allen & Steven Dunbar have 41 catches each.

The Tulane defense — ranked 27th nationally — will be facing another extremely productive and high-octane offense; and will need assistance from the Tulane offense to stay off the field.

Nov 8, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Cougars quarterback Greg Ward Jr. (1) runs with the ball on a keeper during the second quarter against the Tulane Green Wave at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports


Tulane hasn’t fared well against offenses like Houston, and the Cougars are the #3 rated run defense.

The Cougars start early and often and don’t look back.

The Wave  lose their 5th straight game, and Coach Fritz may finally have to throw in the towel — and bench QB Glenn Cuiellette, as he should have already done several games ago…

Houston 45, Tulane 17….