CINCINNATI, Sporting Alert – No. 6 Houston goes in search of a third successive victory in Week 3 of the College Football schedule on Thursday night.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Houston -8.5, Streaming: ESPN3, WatchESPN
The Cougars (2-0), who have won 16 of their past 17 games, have made a very impressive start to the new season and travel to Ohio, full of confidence ahead of the clash with Cincinnati at Nippert Stadium.
The men from Texas effectively put away preseason No. 3 ranked Oklahoma 33-23 in Week 1, before easily routing Lamar 42-0 in Week 2 at the weekend.
In their last outing, the Cougars held back Heisman Trophy-hopeful Greg Ward Jr. and running back Duke Catalon to allow them to recover from small niggles, but the pair are expected to return for the midweek clash.
Starting quarterback Ward Jr., who passed for 321 yards on 23 of 40 and two touchdowns in a season-opener win against the Sooners, sat out the win over Lamar with a shoulder injury, but has been cleared to return.
Head coach Tom Herman assess his star QB during Tuesday’s practice and said: “Everything seems to be normal,” according to Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle.
The report also said the shoulder injury has not hampered the throwing accuracy or velocity of Ward Jr. in practice.
Kyle Postma started in Ward Jr. place against Lamar and threw for 125 and ran for another 106 yards and two touchdowns.
In the meantime, Catalon, who ran for 88 yards on 22 carries against Oklahoma, before sitting out the Lamar clash, is still being bothered by his sprained ankle, but practiced on Tuesday, despite some discomfort.
The sophomore is still experiencing soreness in his ankle, but coach Herman says he will play against Cincinnati on Thursday – adding: “He has to fight through it.”
Kevrin Justice and Mulbah Car both rushed for over 100 yards in the win over the Cardinals.
Meanwhile, Cincinnati heads into this game on good form as well and has won its opening two games to start the season.
The Bearcats (2-0) opened with a 28-7 victory over Tennessee-Martin in Week 1 and then took down Purdue 38-20 last weekend.
Quarterback Hayden Moore passed for 250 yards and three touchdowns and ran for two more scores, and linebacker Mike Tyson finished with three interceptions against Purdue in the easy victory.
“We were not looking ahead to Houston, but it’s hard not to because we hear so much about them,” Cincinnati’s running back Tion Green said after the weekend contest.
When these two teams met last season, Houston won the clash 33-30, but the Bearcats tallied 589 totals yards in their defeat, including 523 passing.
However, Cincinnati has won four of the last five meetings.
Oddsmakers currently have the Cougars listed as 8.5 point favourites.