SMU 49, Tulane 21: Guerry Smith’s three and out _lowres

Dallas Morning News photo by NATHAN HUNSINGER -- SMU running back Xavier Jones celebrates a touchdown with wide receiver Ryheem Malone against Tulane at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas on Saturday.

1. WHAT WE LEARNED

Talk is cheap. Coming off a last-second win at Army, Tulane’s players talked a good game about how every result was important, despite having no chance to finish .500. Then they went out and gave minimum effort against SMU, which had a misleading 1-9 record that featured nonconference losses to Baylor and TCU and league losses to Houston, South Florida, Temple and Navy. The defense stopped playing after two early three-and-outs in the first half, and the dysfunctional offense struggled to do much of anything against the nation’s worst scoring defense. It was bad. Really bad.

2. TRENDING NOW

Say hello to more speculation about coach Curtis Johnson’s future. This probably was a performance Johnson could not afford as he tried to stay employed for another year at Tulane. Doug Hertz, head of the athletic director search committee, said Friday he hoped the Green Wave would make a decision about the coach before the new AD was in place, and the first half was a nightmare in every respect. The Wave gave up another touchdown on special teams, accomplished nothing on offense against a horrible defense and got run over defensively like in no other American Athletic Conference game.

3. FINAL THOUGHTS

This is what usually happens when two bad teams play and one of them is more motivated to win. As ridiculous as it sounds, Tulane looked satisfied with having stopped a five-game losing streak against Army and did not come to compete. SMU looked like a team dying to end an eight-game losing streak. That was one factor in Tulane’s embarrassing 49-21 loss. The other is an offense that’s been awful for four years now. SMU had allowed at least 38 points in its past eight games, but Tulane barely managed 100 yards in the first half. Enough said.