Tulane loss to Georgia Tech is Green Wave’s most lopsided defeat in four years _lowres

Associated Press photo by MIKE STEWART -- Tulane coach Curtis Johnson, left, speaks with Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson before Saturday's game at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta.

Tulane’s first game against a ranked team in four years was also its most lopsided defeat in four years.

No. 15 Georgia Tech’s 65-10 victory on Saturday afternoon at Bobby Dodd Stadium was nearly one for the record books. The margin was one point closer than Tulane’s 73-17 loss to No. 11 Houston in 2011 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, when the Wave was led by interim coach Mark Hutson. Tulane fired Bob Toledo a month earlier.

Coach Curtis Johnson dropped to 0-8 against teams from current “Power Five” conferences while being outscored 333-88. The good news: After getting clobbered by Duke and Georgia Tech to start the season, Tulane will not face another major conference team. The Wave faces Maine and Army in its final two nonconference contests.

The loss surpassed a 63-10 defeat to UL-Monroe in 2012, Johnson’s first season. Tulane’s worst loss ever was 70-7 to No. 5 Florida State in 1992.

The Wave has lost 38 in a row since beating No. 9 FSU at the Superdome in 1983.

No Monroe, no chance

With four-year starter Darion Monroe missing his first game — he was suspended Friday for an unspecified violation of team rules — Tulane started sophomore Tristan Cooper in his place at strong safety.

Cooper, a third-year sophomore, made three tackles. True freshman Roderic Teamer, Monroe’s top backup in practice, added two stops, but the Wave missed Monroe, a team leader whom Johnson said had the best of his career against Duke.

Monroe has made 267 career tackles, by far the most of anyone on the roster.

Backup linebacker Eric Bowie was suspended along with Monroe after both players accompanied the team on Friday’s flight to Atlanta.

Third-down futility

The Yellow Jackets converted six of nine third downs, including a 13-yard touchdown run by Qua Searcy on the their opening possession and a 4-yard run by quarterback Justin Thomas for their third score.

The Wave went 6-for-15 on third downs and was only 2-for-8 in the first half, when Georgia Tech’s starters played.

Through two games, Tulane has allowed a whopping 16 of 27 third-downs to be converted (57.1 percent) while converting 8 of 29 (27.6 percent).

‘It’s tough,” Johnson said. “We have to get in a rhythm. We have some young kids and we’ll come back and play well.”

Keeping the faith

Outscored 102-17 by Duke and Georgia Tech, Tulane’s players insisted they had not lost confidence and would fare better against opponents on their level.

The Wave plays host to Maine of the FCS next Saturday and opens American Athletic Conference action against Central Florida on Oct. 3 at Yulman Stadium.

“We try to keep everybody up and not to put your head down,” said wide receiver Devon Breaux, who scored Tulane’s lone touchdown for the second straight week. “We have a long season to go and conference is about to come up. These two games will get us ready for conference. It’s not the end of the season.”

Johnson noted Tulane still has 10 games left and he still hoped to play 11, counting a bowl. Running back Lazedrick Thompson (74 yards on 13 carries) went even farther in a postgame radio interview, saying he expected to play 12 more times counting the AAC Championship Game and a bowl.