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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Football

AAC Championship hopes come down to one game


The Tigers defeated the Cougars last season, and now UH will look for payback in Tennessee. | Thomas Dwyer/The Cougar

On Monday, head coach Major Applewhite met with the media at a press conference to speak on the storylines leading into this week’s game against Memphis.

After beating Tulane in last week’s game, the Cougars now have a chance at reaching the conference championship. This task will not be easy, however, as UH has to defeat the Tigers without junior star quarterback D’Eriq King.

King suffered a season-ending knee injury in the game against Tulane.

“You hate to see that happen,” Applewhite said. “He’s going to bounce back from it. I know it.”

While the Cougars will miss King’s production, there are several other quarterbacks on the roster that might play against the Tigers. True freshman Clayton Tune and graduate senior Quinten Dormady are preparing to appear in the last game of the season.

Due to the new redshirt rule, however, both players still have their redshirt eligibility. Tune, the quarterback that finished the Tulane game in place of King, can play in only one more game without burning his redshirt status.

If UH was to make the conference championship, it would have two more games to play this season. The coaches will have to make a decision on which quarterback will play and which, if any, will keep his redshirt status. Both quarterbacks will have to be ready in case the coaches call their number.

“Back in the beginning of June we said, ‘Everyone is going to have to play,'” Applewhite said. “We are at that point with our roster.”

One of the main storylines going into this game is the availability of junior defensive star Ed Oliver. There is speculation that Oliver will be shut down for the season to preserve his body for the NFL. Applewhite is giving Oliver and the team doctors full control over whether he plays or not.

“If he wants to be able to play, or can play, and is healthy to play and wants to play, great,” Applewhite said. “If he can’t, then we have won games without him before. That is just the facts of the matter, and those are the things I am going off of. As long as him and I are on the same page, that is all that really matters.”

Houston plays Memphis Friday, Nov. 23 at 11 a.m. in Tennessee.

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