1. What we learned
Tulane is nowhere close to competing with teams from major conferences. Coach Curtis Johnson is 0-7 against them in his tenure, and the Green Wave has been outscored 268-78. Duke controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, rushing for 206 yards and registering four sacks, while Tulane rushed for 23 yards and had zero sacks. With a trip to Georgia Tech on the docket, the Green Wave faces the prospect of an 0-2 start for the third time in four years.
2. Trending now
After making a boatload of special teams mistakes a year ago, Tulane has not cleaned up its act. The Wave made three mistakes against Duke that simply cannot happen, going offside on a punt to hand the Blue Devils a first down, fielding a kickoff at the 1-yard line with a knee on the ground (Devon Breaux) and rolling a punt snap before anyone was ready (Michael Lizanich). At most places, you could go years without seeing any one of those happen.
3. Final thoughts
Never mind the struggles against top competition. A bigger concern is whether the Wave will be able to compete against upper-echelon American Athletic Conference teams. The reflex answer is “no” after the Duke debacle, but it is too early to say for sure after one game. The AAC did not distinguish itself Thursday night, with 2014 co-champion Central Florida losing at home to Florida International and Connecticut edging Villanova of the FCS.