UH learns life as 'overdog' under Herman with SMU next

DALLAS (AP) — Houston followed its first loss of the season to Navy with a narrow victory against Tulsa, a three-touchdown underdog that fell inches short of tying the score in the final seconds on the road.

If the 11th-ranked Cougars want to regain the dominance that carried them into the top 10, coach Tom Herman figures they have to recognize that they will get the opponent's best effort. And that includes SMU on Saturday night.

"We are learning to be the overdog instead of the underdog," Herman said. "It is interesting, you are drawing on different senses to motivate yourself. It's all pride when you are the underdog that is disrespected. There is the pride of the, 'Hey, I'm going to prove all of you wrong.' Now it's the pride of, 'Hey, we have to prove everybody right.'"

The realistic playoff chances for Houston (6-1, 3-1 American) ended with the loss to Navy. If quarterback Greg Ward Jr. and the Cougars want to rekindle those hopes, they'll need some convincing victories leading into a late-season nonconference showdown with Louisville.

And SMU (2-4, 0-2) is another three-touchdown underdog.

"There is a little rivalry being that we are the only two teams in our conference in the state of Texas," Herman said. "They're going to give us their best shot, and their best shot is good enough to beat us if we're not hitting all our cylinders."

Things to consider in the resumption of a series that Houston leads 15-3-1 since the Mustangs returned from the so-called death penalty in 1989 and lost to the Cougars 95-21.

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