ATLANTA — Tulane’s showdown with ACC teams to start the season, which included a 30-point defeat to visiting Duke in last week’s opener, mercifully came to an end after the Green Wave fell 65-10 to No. 15 Georgia Tech on Saturday afternoon.
Tulane (0-2) had fits all afternoon trying to contain Georgia Tech’s triple option. The Yellow Jackets ate up huge chunks of yardage on the ground (439) for their main course and snacked on open passing lanes for dessert.
“They got their option going, and their quarterback (Justin Thomas) is amazing,” Tulane coach Curtis Johnson said. “(Tech coach) Paul Johnson has the answers to that offense, and what he’s done here is amazing. One thing about the option, his adjustments are magnificent. ... They have good players, and they understand the offense.”
Georgia Tech held a modest 7-0 lead at the end of the first quarter but soon poured on an onslaught of points to go up 28-7 at halftime.
The Yellow Jackets maintained their dominance in the third quarter, scoring touchdowns on all four of their possessions and recording a safety to put the game out of reach.
Although the bulk of the second half featured reserves, Georgia Tech still managed to have its way with Tulane and marched downfield with minimal resistance.
When it had the ball, Tulane had difficulty moving the chains. Three-and-out was a reoccurring theme, with the Green Wave going 6-of-15 on third downs. That ineptness on offense overextended an already fatigued defense.
Along with the offensive woes, there was a huge miscue on special teams: Georgia Tech blocked a punt deep inside Tulane territory. The Yellow Jackets recovered the ball and eventually scored a touchdown to add to their lead.
“We have to mix in run and pass better on first and second down,” Curtis Johnson said. “We talked about getting it to third-and-2 or third-and-3. We have to handle it better, and we’ll pick up these third downs. I have to repersonnel our special teams. This week, it will be all starters on special teams.”
Tulane’s lone bright spot came in the second quarter when Devon Breaux was on the receiving end of a 44-yard touchdown pass from Tanner Lee. The quarterback concluded the day 14-of-30 for 165 yards with the touchdown and an interception. Lazedrick Thompson rushed for 74 yards on 13 carries.
“I didn’t play well, and we didn’t play good enough to win,” Lee said. “I’ve never got beat this bad in my life. It hurts. They played a lot of man coverage, and they dropped in some zones. They mixed it up really well.”
Thomas was the catalyst for Georgia Tech. The dual threat had 10 carries for 81 yards with a touchdown, and he threw for 97 yards on 7-of-9 passing with two scores.
Through two games, Tulane has 23 points and amassed 639 yards of offense. Its defense has yielded 112 points and 1,008 yards.
Back-to-back lopsided losses to kick off the season are painful, but Tulane is trying to keep things in perspective, realizing they were nonconference games against ACC schools. The schedule softens next week with a visit from Football Championship Subdivision squad Maine at 7 p.m. Saturday.
“Georgia Tech is a good team, but I’m more concerned about us and what we do,” Breaux said. “We have to play better. Playing teams like Duke and Georgia Tech will make us better. We’re trying to keep everybody up and not to put your head down. We have 10 games to go.”