By BRETT MARTEL
Associated Press Writer
|Houston running back Leif Penn dives for a touchdown past Tulane defensive backs Quentin Brown (4) and Kenan Blackmon (91). (AP Photo/Andrew J. Cohoon)|
Tulane (4-5, 2-4 Conference USA), averaging 444 yards coming in, put up 451 against Houston. Ramsey has thrown for 2,093 yards and 16 touchdowns this season.
Mewelde Moore balanced the Green Wave attack with 118 yards rushing. He had a 10-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, one play after Houston failed on a fourth-and-8 play.
The Green Wave defense, while looking typically porous in giving up 394 yards on several big plays, made enough timely stops, including five sacks, to allow Tulane's potent offense to put the game out of reach by early in the fourth quarter.
The victory means Tulane could finish a bowl-eligible 6-5 by winning its final two games, both at home, against Navy and Memphis. But Conference USA is assured only four bowl tie-ins, and the Green Wave's earlier conference struggles have left them unlikely to finish among the league's top four.
Houston (3-6, 2-3) took the lead barely more than a minute into the game after Tulane's John Wilson fumbled the opening kickoff at his own 24. Leif Penn, who would finish as Houston's leading rusher with 144 yards and two touchdowns, then put together successive run of 9, 10, and 5 yards to put the Cougars on top 7-0.
|Houston wide receiver Kendall Williams catches a pass for a first down in front of Tulane defensive back Jamal Jones. (AP Photo/Andrew J. Cohoon)|
After Houston's Mike Clark hit a 36-yard field goal to make it 10-7, both offenses sputtered until Tulane put together a six-play, 84-yard scoring drive on its last possession of the half. Kerwin Cook caught a short slant pass from Ramsey, slipped a tackler and broke free for a 39-yard play that gave Tulane a 13-10 halftime lead.
On its first possession of the second half, Tulane drove 80 yards on nine plays for a 20-10 lead, highlighted by Ramsey's 33-yard pass and Brent Hocke's 2-yard touchdown run.
Ramsey added a 14-yard touchdown pass to Terrell Harris in the fourth quarter.
Houston's Jason McKinley was effective in spurts, but had difficulty sustaining drives. He connected on 25 of 45 passes for 248 yards and one score, a 9-yard strike to KeyKowa Bell.