No. 21 Tulane visits East Carolina looking to stay unbeaten in AAC race

No. 21 Tulane (7-1, 4-0 American Athletic Conference, No. 24 in CFP) at East Carolina (1-7, 0-4), Saturday at 3:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

Line: Tulane by 17 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: ECU leads 12-7.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

The Green Wave's current ranking is the highest of the season and the third straight week of being in the AP Top 25 since returning Oct. 15. Tulane is the league's only ranked team, yet it finds itself in a three-way tie atop the league (with Atlantic Coast Conference-bound SMU and UTSA) and can't afford a stumble. As for the Pirates, the goal is just to find any type of positive momentum.

KEY MATCHUP

Tulane's offense against ECU's defense. Tulane ranks ranks fifth in the AAC in scoring (30.6) and seventh in total offense (405.9). The Green Wave's offense has put up five straight outings of 30-plus points since two games in the 20s in September. The Pirates' defense has been the strength for ECU, holding opponents to 354.3 yards per game (fourth in AAC) while ranking near the middle of the conference in scoring defense (26.3).

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Tulane: RB Makhi Hughes. The freshman leads the AAC in rushing at 96.5 yards per game. He missed last season due to injury but has been particularly strong of late with four straight 100-yard games. He's averaging 131.8 yards rushing in those four games and has run for four scores.

ECU: DB Julius Wood. Wood has 60 tackles and averages 7.5 tackles to tie for fourth in the league. He's had three games with at least 10 tackles, including 21 tackles and an interception in the past two games.

FACTS & FIGURES

The Pirates are 0-7 against Bowl Subdivision opponents, with their only win coming against Gardner-Webb of the Championship Subdivision. ... East Carolina is averaging just 15 points per game against FBS opponents. ... The Pirates rank 117th nationally by averaging 169 passing yards per game and 129th in total offense at 288.0 — making them one of only eight teams averaging fewer than 300 yards. ... Tulane has won four of the last five meetings but has lost nine of 11 games at ECU overall. ... Green Wave QB Michael Pratt is ninth nationally in completion percentage (71.3%) and third in passing efficiency (180.7). ... East Carolina has started Alex Flinn at quarterback in five games and Mason Garcia in three. They've combined to throw five touchdown passes with nine interceptions. ... Scoring catches by Jaylen Johnson and Chase Sowell in last weekend's loss to UTSA marked the first TD catches by a wide receiver for the Pirates this season. ... Tulane is 19-3 in its last 22 games and has won eight straight road games, the nation's third-longest active streak.

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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football