Coaches struggle to explain American Athletic Conference’s early woes _lowres

Associated Press/News & Observer file photo by CHUCK LIDDY -- Tulane wide receiver Justyn Shackleford has 33 catches for 419 yards and two touchdowns this season.


Tulane has no chance to beat a good opponent unless it improves an inept special teams unit. Matt Marfisi snapped the ball over the head of punter Peter Picerelli and out the back of the end zone for a safety in the first quarter. Steven DiRocco missed an extra point off a shaky snap. Twice, the Green Wave had to go for it on fourth down instead of kicking field goals. Both tries failed. Teddy Veal muffed a punt in the third quarter to set up a Duke touchdown. After another high snap that PIcerelli could not handle, Rae Juan Marbley tried a pass out of a scrum that Duke returned for another TD.


Lazedrick Thompson. Averaging only 2.7 yards per carry entering the game, he gained a career-high 95 yards on 14 carries as Tulane ran effectively for long stretches. Running hard from start to finish, Thompson had consecutive runs of 14, 9 and 12 yards during one first-half drive that ended in an interception. He also scored a touchdown in the third quarter to cut Tulane’s deficit to 26-13. With the speedy Sherman Badie and the powerful Thompson, Tulane should have an effective 1-2 combination the rest of the year.


Redshirt freshman Tanner Lee’s interceptions are becoming a bigger story than his strong arm. He had three more picks to run his season total to nine. His second one hit a linebacker in the chest, and his third turned into an easy interception return for a touchdown. He has to eliminate those mistakes for Tulane to compete in the American Athletic Conference.