Tulane suffered its first road loss of the season, 49-31, at Houston in American Athletic Conference action Thursday evening.
Making his first career start, freshman quarterback, Michael Pratt, accounted for two touchdowns and threw for 141 yards, but Houston (1-0, 1-0 AAC) racked up 476 total yards in the game and held the Green Wave to just 211.
Tulane (2-2, 0-2 AAC) forced five turnovers on the night by way of two interceptions by junior safety, Macon Clark, and three fumble recoveries.
The defensive unit also racked up seven tackles for loss and three sacks. The Green Wave defense seized early momentum from the Cougars by producing two touchdowns in the first six minutes of the game. Clark returned an interception 64 yards to the end zone on Houston’s first possession to draw first blood despite the Cougars responding with a touchdown drive on their subsequent possession.
However, Tulane created another turnover less than two minutes after Houston’s score when graduate linebacker, Kevin Henry, forced a fumble on a strip of Houston quarterback Clayton Tune deep in his own territory. Junior nose tackle, Jeffrey Johnson, scooped the ball off the ground and carried it into the end zone to give the Green Wave a 14-7 advantage.
The Wave created their third turnover of the first quarter and continued the scoring run with a field goal, followed by a one-yard rushing score by Pratt, to give Tulane a 24-7 lead just over one minute into the second quarter.
Houston’s defense was able to turn the tide by forcing the Green Wave into three consecutive punts and score two touchdowns to cut its deficit to just three, 24-21, before halftime. The Cougars continued their surge midway through the third quarter and took their first lead of the night on a three-yard touchdown rush that capped a 10-play drive.
Tulane provided a counter punch exactly two minutes later when Pratt completed an eight-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wideout, Jha’Quan Jackson. to pull back in front, 31-28, with 5:53 remaining in the third quarter. Houston responded immediately however by returning the ensuing kickoff 97 yards, which proved to be the first of three consecutive touchdowns, as the Cougars pulled ahead, 49-31, early in the fourth quarter and seal the victory.
Tulane returns home to host SMU in a conference clash on Friday, October 16. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Yulman Stadium and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN.
Tulane sports information contributed to this story.
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