Ed Oliver sits out 2nd half of Houston's loss after rolling knee; intends to play in bowl game

All-American defensive tackle Ed Oliver's return to the Houston lineup Friday versus Memphis was cut short after he aggravated his right knee injury, but it might not be the final collegiate game for the highly regarded NFL draft prospect.

Oliver, who played in the first half of the Cougars' 52-31 loss to Memphis but did not play in the second half, told the Houston Chronicle he intends to play in Houston's bowl game.

"As far as I know right now, yeah," Oliver said when asked if he planned to play in a bowl. "I want to play every game."

Houston coach Major Applewhite said he didn't believe Friday was Oliver's last game, either.

"I don't think so," Applewhite said. "That's not the impression I've ever gotten from him."

Oliver had three tackles, one tackle for loss and a pass breakup in his two quarters of action Friday. The junior said he got his knee rolled in the first half, and would've been available for a specific third-down package that the Cougars did not wind up using in the second half. Memphis' victory clinched the Tigers a spot in the American Athletic Conference championship game, where they'll face No. 9 UCF.

It's been an eventful November for Oliver, who missed four games because of a bruised right knee he suffered Oct. 20 vs. Navy. Oliver, who in March announced that this would be his final collegiate season before entering the 2019 NFL draft, attempted to play Nov. 3 vs. SMU, and the team announced he would play, but he didn't feel comfortable on the knee after going through pregame warm-ups and sat out.

On Nov. 15 vs. Tulane, Oliver and Applewhite had a sideline dispute that was caught on camera after Applewhite told Oliver -- who was inactive -- to remove a jacket he was wearing that was reserved for active players. Oliver was seen angrily shouting at Applewhite on the way to the locker room at halftime, and didn't return to the sideline for the remainder of the game. Oliver said the next day that it was "not who I am" and he was caught in an emotional moment; Applewhite said they would learn from the incident and move forward.

Oliver participated in practice this week leading up to Friday's game and was in the starting lineup. He is currently No. 7 on Mel Kiper's latest Big Board of NFL prospects and is widely considered to be a top-10 pick in the upcoming draft. In 2017, Oliver was an All-American and became the first underclassman to win the Outland Trophy.

As Houston (8-4, 5-3 AAC) trailed in the fourth quarter Friday, Oliver appeared to be emotional on the sideline. After the game he tweeted, "SETBACKS AFTER SETBACKS I'm just tryna be great that it Lord."