Tulane quarterback Tanner Lee injured his right shoulder midway through Saturday’s 31-6 loss to Rutgers, forcing the Green Wave to call upon Devin Powell.
It’s the second time this season Lee has been hurt in a game.
After piecing together a 70-yard drive that ended without points following a 15-yard penalty and a sack, Lee walked to the locker room under his own power.
The next time he appeared on the sideline, he was without pads or a helmet.
In his place, Powell completed 6 of 15 passes for 53 yards but failed the move the Green Wave beyond midfield in the second half.
Third-stringer Nick Montana came in for Tulane’s final possession, completing all five passes for 18 yards against a lineup of Rutgers reserves.
Lee’s status for Tulane’s Oct. 11 matchup against Connecticut is still in question, and the severity of his injury is still unknown. However, he left High Point Solutions Stadium without a sling on his shoulder.
“We are going to look at both of them (Montana and Powell), and if Tanner isn’t back, then we will see who does the best,” Tulane coach Curtis Johnson said. “It’s perfect for the off week. We can test both of them and we can see who is going to be in.”
Tulane cornerback Lorenzo Doss isn’t used to seeing much action on his side of the field.
A year after he led the country in interception return yards, most opposing quarterbacks have avoided Doss’ side of the field. Rutgers did not.
On its opening drive of the game, Rutgers successfully threw twice at Doss. Gary Nova connected with Desmon Peoples for 17 yards to get into Tulane territory, then lofted a touchdown pass over Doss’ outstretched arms in the corner of the end zone.
Facing third down deep in his own territory, Nova threw at Doss again, this time off of play-action. The cornerback couldn’t catch up to Andrew Turlizzi, who went 93 yards to extend the lead to 21-0.
Nova finished the first half completing all nine of his passes, racking up 193 passing yards and three touchdowns.
“I’m happy they went at Doss,” junior safety Sam Scofield said. “I hope more teams do, because he’s going to make plays more times than not. We just had some plays as a secondary today that weren’t like us, and we can’t make those mistakes.”
Doss made a statement of his own in the third quarter, short-circuiting a prolonged Rugers drive by nabbing Nova’s pass on an out route for an interception at Tulane’s 24-yard line.
“You want Doss to play just a little bit better,” Johnson said. “He managed to get one pick, but he really didn’t play as well as we wanted him to.”
Not so special
Tulane’s much-maligned kicking game was better Saturday but far from perfect.
Kicker Andrew DiRocco, who pushed Tulane’s extra-point attempt wide and then did the same on a 36-yard field-goal attempt at the end of the first half, squashed the Green Wave momentum twice.
DiRocco has missed four of his first five field goals of the season, none of which were longer than 36 yards. The missed extra point was his third of the season.
Outside of DiRocco’s misses, the rest of Tulane’s kicking was significantly improved from last week’s debacle at Duke. Peter Picerelli punted well throughout the game, and deep-snapper Matt Marfisi, who is still subbing in for an injured Mike Lizanich, did not make a costly mistake.
“You have a true freshman coming in and trying to kick, and I think he got a little bit nervous and a little bit of stagefright,” Johnson said. “He kicks an extra point and doesn’t make that. He hit the goal post on another. We just have to get him practicing and playing better.”
Tulane hasn’t won a game outside of Louisiana since Sept. 17, 2011, when it beat UAB under former coach Bob Toledo. The Green Wave is 0-11 under Johnson outside of the state.
The picture doesn’t look much better when the state is included, either. Tulane has lost eight of its past nine games against FBS competition since racing out to a 6-2 start in 2013.