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Senior day victory keeps Cougars alive in AAC West

Despite a disappointing Homecoming loss to Temple on Saturday, the Cougars bounced back with a senior day victory over Tulane. | Corbin Ayres/The Cougar

The Cougars bounced back after a pair of losses with a 48-17 win against the Green Wave on senior day to keep the race for the American Athletic Conference West Division alive.

With its win over Tulane, Houston can take first in the west if Memphis defeats SMU Friday night.

Houston was forced to go three-and-out to start the game for the second game in a row.  The offense picked things up a bit on its next drive, but was still forced to after a false start penalty and a sack.

The third drive was the charm for Houston as junior running back Patrick Carr scored on a 21-yard run.

Tulane answered with a 62-yard drive headlined by a 40-yard reception by senior Terren Encalade and a 20-yard touchdown run by junior Darius Bradwell. The Green Wave missed the following field goal though to keep the score 7-6 in the Cougars’ favor.

Houston’s next drive ended with another Carr rushing touchdown, but junior quarterback D’Eriq King got the team to the 3 yard line with a 64-yard rush.

Tulane’s next drive ended in a field goal and it had a chance to take the lead with its next drive, but junior defensive lineman Payton Turner tipped a pass, which was then intercepted by by senior linebacker Roman Brown.

King threw a touchdown pass to senior Romello Brooker on the next drive to make the game 21-9 in Houston’s favor. King gained another touchdown on the Cougars’ next drive, this time on the ground to put his team up 28-6.

On the next drive, senior Isaiah Johnson made an interception to give Houston the ball on the eight yard line.

But the good luck did not last and King was injured on the next drive, which forced true freshman Clayton Tune to go into the game as quarterback. The drive stalled out and Houston came away with just a field goal.

Houston’s defense had one of its best first half performances of the season and limited Tulane to just 155 yards of total offense that half, even with junior Ed Oliver sitting out.

Tune started the second half with King out and had good showing on short notice. Tune went 4-for-5 through the air for 82 yards in the first drive of the half to get a touchdown pass to freshman Jeremy Singleton.

After that scoring drive, the second string started to get more looks on both offense and defense as the lead was too much for the Green Wave to comeback from.

Tulane scored another touchdown and made a 2-point conversion while Houston gained a field goal and a touchdown to finish the game at 17-48.

Tune finished the game with 108 yards through the air, two passing touchdowns and one interception while senior linebackers Austin Robinson and Roman Brown led the defense with nine tackles each.

When Tune went into the game, Carr gave him a few words of advice since he had played most of the first team reps this season.

“I told him that he’s the next man up and to ‘Play with confidence and have fun’ and he did just that,” Carr said.

After the game, head coach Major Applewhite said that King, freshman all-rounder Bryson Smith and sophomore defensive end Payton Turner would be evaluated overnight as all three had to leave the game early with injuries.

Houston will have some extra time to rest and prepare its quarterbacks as its final game against Memphis is next Friday night in Tennessee.

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