- Associated Press - Thursday, September 22, 2016

No. 6 Houston (3-0) at Texas State (1-1), 7 p.m. (ESPNU)

Line: Houston by 34½.

Series record: Texas State leads 4-2


Houston wants to keep charging up the national rankings to ensure the Cougars stay in the national playoff conversation. In other words, no slipups allowed, especially as a huge favorite, and they don’t even want to let the Bobcats stay close. Texas State and first-year coach Everett Withers will be looking to deliver an upset of knockout proportions.


Texas State pass protection vs. Houston LB Steven Taylor. Taylor already has 5½ sacks after three games and creates problems when he drops into pass coverage. Taylor had a game-clinching 74-yard interception return for a touchdown last week against Cincinnati. Bobcats QB Tyler Jones will have to account for him the entire game.


Houston: QB Greg Ward. After sitting out a win over Lamar with a sore throwing shoulder, Ward led the Cougars’ tough road win over Cincinnati with 326 yards passing. He took a few hard hits, but coach Tom Herman said he’ll play against the Bobcats. Ward has won 16 consecutive starts.

Texas State: Jones passed for 418 yards and four touchdowns in a season-opening win over Ohio before the Bobcats were overwhelmed in a loss at Arkansas. If Jones can avoid Taylor and Cougars defensive freshman DL Ed Oliver, he could open up the Houston secondary and keep the Bobcats in the game.


Houston leads the nation in run defense, allowing just 38.3 yards per game … Texas State is playing just its fifth season at the FBS level and Saturday will be its first home game against a ranked opponent … Ward’s 31 career rushing TDs rank third in school history. He needs eight to tie the school record.

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