Houston 42, Tulane 7: Guerry Smith’s three and out _lowres

Houston wide receiver Demarcus Ayers (10) makes a touchdown against Tulane during the NCAA college football game in New Orleans, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)

1. WHAT WE LEARNED

Tulane is in trouble. It’s one thing to lose to a superior opponent. It’s another to look that bad in defeat. It was the same old story from the Green Wave’s blowout losses to Duke, Georgia Tech and Temple, with the offense looking inept and the defense giving up too many big plays and long third-down conversions. This time, you can add a breakdown of discipline to the list. Tulane committed a series of personal fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in the second half and had an impromptu sack celebration while trailing 42-7.

2. TRENDING NOW

Prayers for Tanner Lee’s return. Coach Curtis Johnson used those words after the game, and anyone who watched backup quarterback Devin Powell throw low and high more often than he was on target would agree. Tulane has enough trouble against good defenses when the offense is at full strength length. Without Lee, the Wave never had a chance against Houston, finishing with the same number of punts as first downs (11) and more penalties (12). To have any shot at Navy, the Wave needs his concussion symptoms to clear.

3. FINAL THOUGHTS

The four-game stretch against Temple, Houston, Navy and Memphis shaped up as major trouble when it started, and it has been even worse than expected. After being outscored 91-17 on the first two legs against two undefeated teams, the Wave has to go on the road the next two weeks to face teams that have lost once between them. Memphis remained undefeated by beating SEC power Ole Miss on Saturday. The end of October cannot come soon enough for Tulane.