1. QUARTERBACK QUESTIONS
For the second consecutive game, Tulane coach Curtis Johnson hasn’t given a clear indication of who will start at quarterback. The shoulder injury suffered by starter Tanner Lee in a 31-6 loss to Rugers on Sept. 27 is still affecting the redshirt freshman, and forced Johnson to turn to Nick Montana in a 12-3 victory over UConn last week. While Montana played efficiently enough to win, he was rarely challenged to throw down field as part of an overall conservative approach. If Lee is healthy enough to play, he will start, but if he’s unable to go, will Johnson give Montana free reign to throw all over the field?
2. SIZE MATTERS
Johnson basically described Saturday’s matchup as the little people against giants when it comes to the pure size advantage held by UCF, particularly on offense. Tulane’s defense is built around speed, instinct and aggression. Even though the Knights are more apt to pass than run between the tackles, there’s still a significant concern to Tulane’s defensive staff that it could simply get bullied in the front-seven. If UCF can run successfully, it makes its already dynamic passing game into a lethal weapon.
3. DUAL THREAT
What makes UCF’s passing game so dangerous is the ability of quarterback Justin Holman to both run and pass. Holman ranks fourth in the American Athletic Conference in passing efficiency (134) and will get outside the pocket when no receiver is open. He’s thrown just four interceptions in five games, which could potentially starve Tulane’s turnover-hungry defense. However, Green Wave cornerback Lorenzo Doss said he’s not going to focus on Holman’s dual-threat ability, since it could distract him from covering receivers downfield, leaving Tulane’s youthful linebackers to spy the quarterback and keep him from escaping the backfield.
There are a lot of streaks working against the Green Wave on Saturday, starting with the Knights riding three consecutive wins since opening the season 0-2. UCF has won all nine of its AAC games in Bright House Networks Stadium dating to last season and has won 10 consecutive conference games, the fourth-longest active streak in the country. Meanwhile, Tulane has lost its last 11 games outside of Louisiana, dating back to a 49-10 win at Alabama-Birmingham on Sept. 17, 2011. In the past two matchups between the two schools (2010 and 2011), UCF outscored Tulane 110-14.