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Tuesday, October 3, 2023


Good, bad and ugly: Cougars sweep the Green Wave away


The Cougars had a solid outing against the Tulane Green Wave, but will they be able to play up to their coming competition? | File photo/The Cougar

After getting revenge for last season’s week nine upset loss by walloping Tulane University 42-7 Friday night, the Cougars are sitting pretty at the midway point of the season at 6-0 with three conference wins.

Before the second half of the Cougars’ schedule gets underway though, let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly from UH’s win over the Green Wave.

The good: three phases of dominance

It took just 2:24 seconds for it to become clear which team at Yulman Stadium in New Orleans was the better of the two.

After a quick three-and-out, including an illegal blocking penalty on the first play from scrimmage, from the Green Wave offense, the Cougars needed only nine seconds and one 49-yard catch-and-run from wide receiver Chance Allen to set the tone for the rest of the game.

From there, the offense coasted to a comfortable lead after scoring on nearly half of its possessions and was able to put in backup players before the end.

Defensively, the Cougars were able to hold Tulane to 262 total yards and gave up fewer first downs than the Green Wave had penalties on the night.

The “Third Ward Defense” practically lived in the Tulane backfield, coming up with seven tackles for a loss – including two sacks – and kept their opponent to a scoreless second half.

The only score that the Tulane offense came away with was the result of a gutsy fake punt that resulted in a huge 43-yard gain on fourth down.

The special teams unit for UH shined through Friday night too, with receiver Demarcus Ayers taking a 73-yard punt to the house, the first of his career, and the kick coverage team holding Tulane to 19.8 yards per return.

The bad: penalties…again

Penalties are still one of the biggest issues for this team halfway through the season.

UH committed 10 more for 99 yards in Friday’s contest and now rank 97 in the nation with an average of 7.5 per game.

While some of the blame can be attributed to the injuries on the offensive line, with three holding calls on offensive linemen, the other seven are spread out across the team.

The offense was responsible for the bulk of the penalties but those were from the tight ends, receivers and running backs as well as the O-line.

While the defense had only one accepted penalty in the game, that personal foul call resulted in an automatic first down that kept Tulane’s only scoring drive alive.

Special teams, not to be outdone, had two penalties of its own – one of which negated a 63-yard punt return for a touchdown.

The ugly: beating up on a bad team

There is no other way to put this, Tulane is not a good football team.

Name a statistical category in the AAC and the Green Wave are either at or near the bottom of it.

The Tulane offense has scored more than 10 points in a game just twice this season, with one coming against a division II school and the other against the winless UCF Knights.

Conversely, they have given up an average of 38.5 points a game, good for 118th in the country.

In the last 10 years, Tulane’s football program has posted a winning record once and looks to be on its way to another losing season and a possible coaching shakeup.

So, while UH deserves credit for getting the job done in New Orleans and not falling into a possible trap game, Friday’s win over a down-team should not be used as evidence that the Cougars should be higher in the polls or that Ward deserves more Heisman votes.

The Cougars simply did what good teams do against bad ones: win.

Speaking of winning, it will be Groundhog Day for UH when they travel to Orlando to face UCF this Saturday.

For the second game in a row, the Cougars will be on the road looking to avenge another 2014 loss against a down-and-out opponent and, barring any wild upsets, we will all be right back here again next week.

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