Houston has never won a game against Alabama, and when the two teams face each other Saturday, the Cougars will look to break that record while the Crimson Tide hopes to stretch the streak against Houston to 10.
Both Houston and Alabama are coming off of a loss. For Alabama, it’s the second week in a row.
Crimson Tide’s head coach Nick Saban is preparing his team to not make the same mistakes they did against Georgia on Sept. 22 and Florida State on Sept. 29.
"We’ve been in two really close, tough football games against good football teams the last two weeks," Saban said in a press conference Tuesday. "And we’ve got to find more ways to make plays, more ways to control vertical field position, do a better job on special teams, do a better job on third down on both sides of the ball."
Saban said that weak offensive effort contributed to their losses, but does not place any blame on junior quarterback John Parker Wilson, who has 1,091 yards on the season in addition to six touchdown passes.
Wilson threw for 240 yards on 28-of-53 passing against Florida State.
"John Parker has done a lot more good things than bad things. Technique-wise and fundamentally, he’s gotten better and better and I think that in this past game he got far too much pressure," Saban said. "Offensively, I think we lost our poise a little bit, made some errors that we haven’t been making in protection. The quarterback got too much pressure, got hit too much."
The Alabama offense will have to match Houston’s production, which averages more than 30 points per game this season.
"Houston, I think, is a really good football team, probably one of best offensive teams that we’ve played. They’re very diverse in terms of what they do on offense," Saban said.
Alabama’s struggling passing game has given freshman running back Terry Grant the opportunity to make an impact in his first season as a college player.
Grant has 519 yards on the season and has run for five touchdowns.
"We want Terry Grant to be able to carry the ball 10, 12, 15 times in a game. When we start passing it, sometimes we like to have the bigger backs in there to pass protect," Saban said. "You can’t just put them in on the passing plays, so you start playing them a little bit more when you’re passing it which means they get a few more carries in the running situations."
However, Saban also sees the experience on the Houston roster as a threat to his team, which features 56 freshmen.
"They’ve got eight starters back on offense. They’ve got two quarterbacks, both of which are playing well for them this year. They’ve got eight starters back on defense on a team that won 10 games last year," Saban said. "So, (Houston is) certainly a challenge for us and something that we can see kind of what we’re made out of – test your mettle a little bit; see how we respond relative to where we are, how we can improve and get better and play with more consistency. And that’s certainly going to be our objective."