Just when you think Tulane might have put it together, it all falls apart.
Following a win over Army, the Green Wave went on the road to Dallas, Texas and got its faces stomped in by SMU. The Mustangs outscored Tulane 35-7 in the first half en route to a 49-21 win.
It was certainly a winnable affair for Tulane as SMU entered the game with just one win and looked all sorts of disheveled in its nine losses. Plus, a victory would have given the Green Wave needed confidence as the season wraps up this Saturday at home against Tulsa.
Here are three takeaways from Tulane's most recent loss.
1. What happened to the run defense?
The past two times the Green Wave faced an option attack, it allowed a meager 3.2 yards per carry.
Then what did SMU do? The Mustangs ripped off an average of 7.8 yards on 44 carries. That added up to 323 rushing yards, which was the first time SMU rushed for more than 300 yards in eight years.
The Mustangs used a two-man attack that shredded Tulane for 10 rushes of 10 or more yards. Quarterback Matt Davis did most of the damage (156 yards on 15 carries), while Xavier Jones found multiple holes as well (117 yards on 17 carries). The duo combined for four touchdowns on the ground (Jones had three himself).
2. Something obviously isn't right with Tanner Lee
Maybe the injuries are catching up to the sophomore quarterback or he just never had it to begin with, but it's about time to shut Lee down for the season. While that might be a tough pill for the Green Wave to swallow with just one game remaining, it's the right move.
Lee, who suffered a concussion as well as a broken finger on his throwing hand this season, disappointed once again. He completed just 9 of his 22 passes for 103 yards against a team that allowed 247.6 passing yards per game in its previous 10 tilts.
Since Lee registered a season-high 71 percent of his passes four weeks ago at Navy, here are his next three games: 32.5 percent (UConn), 48.3 percent (Army), 40.9 percent (SMU).
3. Tulane still has a very, very long way to go
Losing by 20-plus points to one of the conference's best teams is horrendous, but understandable for the Green Wave.
But falling by 28 points to a team considered deeper in the cellar than you? That's completely unacceptable.
The road to respect in the American Athletic Conference was going to be long and full of speed bumps and potholes for Tulane. The loss to the Mustangs gave the Green Wave two flat tires.