NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane football team will close out the Conference USA schedule on Saturday when the Green Wave travels to Houston to take on Rice.
Kickoff at Rice Stadium is slated for 2:30 p.m.
The Wave (2-9, 1-6 C-USA) are looking to snap an eight-game losing streak dating to Sept. 24. Rice (3-7, 2-4).
In other games involving Louisiana schools: Northwestern State hosts Stephen F. Austin, Louisiana Tech visits Nevada, Louisiana-Monroe hosts Florida International, and McNeese State travels to Lamar.
It’s the 34th meeting between Tulane and Rice.
“When you look at the recruiting, we recruit a lot of the same players,” Tulane interim coach Mark Hutson said of the Owls. “Houston is a hotbed for us in recruiting and it’s their home city, so we recruit a number of the same players. Our academic standards are very much in order there.
“We are similar athletically. I call it the mirror effect. When I watch them stretch and us stretch, it’s like looking in a mirror. They have similar athletes to us.”
Tulane is averaging 349.8 yards of total offense per game (121.0 rushing, 228.8 passing) while allowing opponents to tally a mark of 419.5 (172.9 rushing, 246.8 passing).
Sophomore Orleans Darkwa leads the Tulane ground game with 775 yards and 11 touchdowns on 171 carries while senior Albert Williams is next with 253 rushing yards and a score on 55 totes. Junior quarterback Ryan Griffin has completed 196 of 341 passes for 2,237 yards with 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Linebacker Trent Mackey paces the defense with 136 tackles (88 solo, 48 assists) and 12 tackles for loss. Junior linebacker Darryl Farley and junior safety Shakiel Smith are next with 59 and 56 tackles, respectively, and senior defensive end Dezman Moses headlines the squad with 6-1/2 sacks.
Rice, meanwhile, is averaging 368.5 yards of total offense per game (160.6 rushing, 207.9 passing) while allowing opponents to post 488.8 yards per contest (188.6 rushing, 300.2 passing).
Tyler Smith leads the Rice ground game with 683 yards on 116 carries, and Turner Petersen is close behind with 473 yards on 92 attempts to go with a team-leading five TDs. Taylor McHargue paces the squad with 1,072 yards and eight touchdowns while completing 100 of 174 passes and five interceptions.
Sixteen Rice receivers have caught at least one pass to date, and Vance McDonald leads the way with 36 receptions for 467 yards and five touchdowns.
Cameron Nwosu leads the Rice defense with 94 tackles (47 solo, 47 assists) while Justin Allen has 82 and Paul Porras has 75. Porras and Bryce Callahan each have seven of the team’s 34 pass break-ups while Callahan has six of the Owls’ 10 interceptions
Scott Solomon paces Rice with 10.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks, Xavier Webb has three of the team’s 12 forced fumbles, and 12 different Owl defenders have one fumble recovery.
The game at Rice is the second-to-last game of the 2011 Green Wave season as Tulane will close out the year on Saturday, Nov. 26, at Hawa’i.