Tulane notebook: Defense, rushing game were bright spots in loss at Central Florida _lowres

UCF running back William Stanback (28) is knocked out of bounds by Tulane's Parry Nickerson (17) as he runs for yardage during second quarter action of an NCAA football game against Tulane at Bright house Networks Stadium in Orlando, Fla. on Saturday, October 18, 2014. (Joshua C. CrueyOrlando Sentinel)


Tulane needs Tanner Lee back as starting quarterback. Nick Montana was a good game manager against UConn in a 12-3 win at Yulman Stadium last week, but he could not make enough throws downfield to beat UCF. He completed 10 passes in the first half for an average of 4.6 yards and was off target most of the time when he tried to go deeper. Lee led the nation in interceptions with nine after four games, but he can make big plays — something Tulane will need to beat its American Athletic Conference opponents the rest of the way.


Tulane’s entire defense. After starting slowly this year, the Wave has rounded into form the past two weeks, holding UConn to three points and limiting UCF to 233 yards while forcing four turnovers. Although Tulane probably will be an underdog in every game the rest of the way, it can surprise a few teams with defensive effort like that — if it just gets a little help from the offense and special teams.


It’s been the same story for most of the year: Tulane can be a pretty good team if it can get out of its own way, but the clock-management issues at the end of the first half, another botched snap on a punt and a penalty on a long kickoff return were too much for the Wave to overcome against a team as talented at UCF.