No. 6 Houston (3-0) at Texas State (1-1), 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
Line: Houston by 34 1/2.
Series record: Texas State leads 4-2
WHAT’S AT STAKE
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 5 1/2 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.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
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.
FACTS & FIGURES
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.