Tulane gets an open date before the season finale against Temple at Yulman Stadium, giving injured running backs Lazedrick Thompson and Sherman Badie a chance to heal. If they are close to 100 percent healthy on their sprained ankles, the Green Wave will have a much better shot at closing a frustrating year on a high note. Temple (5-5) may or may not be playing for a bowl berth. The Owls can become bowl eligible by beating Cincinnati at home or winning in New Orleans, but they are sixth in the pecking order of a league with five guaranteed bowl slots. Offense figures to be optional — Temple has not scored more than 20 points in its past five games, and Tulane has scored 14 or fewer in seven of its last eight.
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. The defense played well enough to give Tulane a chance to beat East Carolina on the road, but the Wave had no shot because of a struggling offense. Tanner Lee threw for a season-high 301 yards but that yardage did not amount to much. Tulane managed only two field goals and ran one play all game from inside the ECU 20. Predictably, that lone effort was a 2-yard loss by freshman Dontrell Hilliard. Running backs struggled to get back to the line of scrimmage on numerous plays. The end of the first half was a killer. Tulane stuffed East Carolina on fourth-and-goal to maintain a 10-3 deficit, then gave up an easy touchdown after three conservative run calls led to a punt.
Safety Sam Scofield and linebacker Nico Marley. They were tackling machines against East Carolina’s potent offense, with Scofield making a season-high 17 stops and Marley adding 11. Before scoring touchdowns on its two final drives, East Carolina punted four times and was stopped on downs twice in 10 possessions. Scofield played a major role on both fourth-down stops, teaming with Tanzel Smart to stuff Breon Allen for no gain on fourth-and-1 from the ECU 48 on the opening possession and knifing through to bring down Allen behind the line of scrimmage on fourth-and-goal from the 1.
“When we get to that (level), our place will be just like that.”
— Tulane coach Curtis Johnson on the atmosphere at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium
Keep an eye on
Offensive coordinator Eric Price. He has been hamstrung all three years under Johnson, first with an abysmal offensive line (2012) then by poor quarterback play (2013) and finally by an overload of freshmen (2014). But it is hard to hide from this statistic: Tulane’s scoring average is among the 10 lowest in the country. The Wave was surprisingly pass-happy in the first half against East Carolina, all but abandoning a run game that had been effective for most of the season. Price needs a good offensive showing against Temple to impress his boss.
Lee completed passes to 10 different receivers. … Andrew DiRocco was 2-for-2 on field goals, and although neither one was pretty, he crept over 50 percent for the year at 7 for 13. … Tulane’s longest kickoff return of the year is 28 yards, and the Wave is dead last nationally in kickoff return average. … True freshmen made 17 of Tulane’s 25 receptions vs. East Carolina. … All but two of Tulane’s eight losses have been by 17 or more points.