Tulane travels to Army for a nonconference pillow fight between two 2-7 teams that did nothing offensively on Saturday. The Green Wave had nine first downs and 140 yards in a 7-3 home loss to Connecticut. Army had nine first downs and 169 yards in a 20-3 loss to Air Force. If the Wave plays hard, the defense could post its second consecutive shutout because it matches up well with triple-option teams. Using five defensive linemen, Tulane held Navy to 133 rushing yards — the Midshipmen have gained at least 300 on the ground against anyone else — and Army lacks Navy’s playmakers. The Black Knights’ two victories are against FCS opponent Bucknell and 1-9 Eastern Michigan. Tulane’s two wins are against FCS opponent Maine and 0-10 Central Florida. It should be a real humdinger.
Unfortunately, it’s required. A torrential downpour that lasted from start to finish made it impossible for either team to do much as Tulane lost its fifth in a row. Tanner Lee, back from a finger injury, was victimized by at least a half-dozen drops while completing 13 of 40 passes against a defense that had allowed a 61.5 percent completion rate. The running backs were equally ineffective, combining for 59 yards on 23 carries with a long gain of 11. The defense, helped out by the weather and some big drops by the UConn receivers, deserved a much better fate. The Huskies had only nine first downs and only one significant drive, which ended in a blocked field goal. The performance gap between Tulane’s offense and defense is bigger than the Grand Canyon.
Junior defensive tackle Tanzel Smart was a beast again, setting the tone by dropping running back Arkeel Newsome for a 3-yard loss to stifle UConn’s opening drive. Smart, Tulane’s best interior lineman, finished with six tackles and two stops behind the line of scrimmage, tying end Royce LaFrance for the team lead with 11 for the season. The Huskies shied away from throwing because of the horrendous weather (19 passes), and Smart’s presence made it impossible for them to sustain drives on the ground.
“We will never fold. That’s the type of defense we have. We are going to keep playing hard to the whistle and sometimes after the whistle.”
— safety Darion Monroe
Keep an eye on
The job security of every coach on the offensive staff. Yes, it rained hard Saturday, but Tulane’s offense has been operating in a fog for four years. The Wave had no answers for the weather or UConn’s defense, which shut down everything offensive coordinator Eric Price called. The problems go across the board. The running backs had a hard time getting back to the line of scrimmage because of shoddy blocking by a line that has regressed from last year, when it was not very good. The receivers could not get open, and on the few occasions when they did, they dropped the ball. And Lee blamed himself for the pick-six that handed UConn its only points. Whatever the Wave is trying to do, it’s not working.
This is the fourth time in the past 11 years Tulane has lost five in a row after starting 2-2. … After having the highest completion percentage of his career in his last start (.710), Lee had his lowest percentage (.325). … Tulane ranks 124 out of 127 FBS teams in total offense and 123rd in scoring (16.3 points).