At least this week there won’t be any pre-kickoff drama.
Because of an injury suffered to his right knee in the Week 8 win over Navy, Ed Oliver has missed the past three games as he works through the issue. With a key AAC West matchup with Tulane looming Thursday night, head coach Major Applewhite confirmed Tuesday that the standout defensive lineman will be sidelined for the Green Wave game because of the same injury issue.
Double-teamed most times — and even triple-teamed on occasion — Oliver was held sack-less through the first six games of this season. The last two in which he played, however, he was credited with three — two against East Carolina, one against Navy.
In March of this year, Oliver announced that the 2018 season would be his last at the collegiate level as he will leave the Cougars early and make himself available for the 2019 NFL draft, where he is widely projected to be a Top Five selection at worst.
After a consensus Freshman All-American season that saw him land on numerous first-team All-American squads, Oliver was a consensus All-American in a 2017 season that saw him become the first underclassman to win the Outland Trophy in the 70-year history of the award.
In his first two seasons with the Cougars, the 6-3, 290-pound Oliver had totaled 39.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. In addition to the three sacks, Oliver has 13.5 tackles for loss this season; his 1.9 tackles for loss were tied for third nationally prior to his injury.
At 4-2, Houston is currently tied for first place in the AAC West with SMU and Tulane. Houston has already lost to SMU this season, while they’ll face Memphis in the regular-season finale. Whether Oliver will (or should) play in that game, or any other for the Cougars for that matter, remains to be seen.