The Bearcats own an opportunity to turn a Dec. 5 against Louisville into a game with possible BCS implications. In order to do so, they'll need some help from UCF, but also must find a way to win on the road in Houston.
UC used trickeration and physical domination each of the last two weeks as the medium for victory.
This week, the path to victory will be paved in one key stat -- take care of the ball.
No team in college football feasts off turnovers more than Houston. And when we say no team in college football, we mean no team in the recent history of college football.
That's right, no school since 2005 has enjoyed a better turnover margin than the 2013 Houston Cougars. They are winning the turnover battle by an average of 2.2 per game. The next closest in FBS is Buffalo at plus-1.45 per game -- a full six total turnovers created less.
Look no further when analyzing how a Houston team ranked 43rd in offense and 83rd in defense played its way to the conference title discussion in recent weeks. As two quality opponents came calling the last two weeks, the word was out. Hold on to the ball and the Cougars are beatable.
Can the Bearcats do that? In the last two games they lost the turnover battle by an average 1.5 per game.
Houston proved their susceptibility against both UCF and Louisville.
Louisville and UCF only lost the turnover battle by one in their defeats of the Cougars. The Cards won by seven and Knights used a goal-line stand in the final minute to preserve a 19-14 victory.
For Brendon Kay and company, avoiding defeat by turnover will be a test of what has been one of the few concerns amid the offensive resurgence. Despite the surgical nature of the team's offense the penchant for untimely interception and fumble have haunted them in the past. It caused their defeat at South Florida when the Bulls scored 26 points without an offensive touchdown.
A fumble by Tion Green in the red zone nearly allowed SMU to come back two weeks ago at Nippert Stadium.
Houston's three losses this season came by a combined 14 points. All were decided by one possession.
Consider in those losses, their average turnover margin is plus-0.67. In their seven victories they are plus-2.86.
Hold onto the ball, hold onto the win.
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