Start Time: Saturday September 2nd, 2017, 7pm CST
TV: ESPN 3
Live Coverage: www.TulaneGreenWave.com/watch
Location: Yulman Stadium, New Orleans, Louisiana
The Series: This is the first meeting between the two schools.
The 2017 version of the Green Wave looks to be quite improved on offense, with the addition of JUCO transfer Jonathan Banks at starting quarterback, the maturation of the receiving corps led by Terren Encalade, the return of running backs Dontrell Hilliard and Sherman Badie and the rebuild of the offensive line with Junior Diaz returning from injury to play center and top lineman John Leglue returning to his natural position at tackle.
Coach Willie Fritz and offensive coordinator Doug Ruse will attempt to establish the run utilizing the talents of Hilliard, Badie, true freshman Stephon Huderson and sophomore Darius Bradwell running behind the retooled offensive line. The addition of a true dual-threat in Jonathan Banks should improve the Tulane passing game, which finished last season last in the nation in passing efficiency in 2016, while Banks’ ability to run the ball could take Tulane’s pistol based triple to new heights.
When Tulane does pass, it will be off play-action and Tulane has a young, talented receiving corps. Improvement is expected from this group of receivers, who for many last season was their first major action in college football. If the aforementioned Encalade, along with Sophomores Darnell Mooney, DJ Owens, Chris Johnson and Juniors Jabril Clewis and Devin Glenn can provide explosive plays in the passing game the Tulane offense may evolve into something that is very difficult to defend.
Defensively the Green Wave returns nine starters from a defense that finished last season 31st in total defense. Coach Jack Curtis’ defensive line is led by end Ade Aruna and tackle Sean Wilson, who are all conference candidates, while the linebackers (currently Rae Juan Marbley and Zach Harris) are physical specimens who will scrape from sideline to sideline.
Tulane’s secondary, comprising of all upperclassmen returning starters including: all-AAC corner Parry Nickerson and Donnie Lewis at the corners, safeties Taris Shenall and Rod Teamer and nickleback Jonathan Franklin will make passing against the Green Wave a difficult task.
The Tigers are the defending SWAC conference champions and boast a Walter Payton Award candidate in senior quarterback Devonte Kincaid. Last season Kincaid was named SWAC Offensive Player of the Year in 2016 and returns to power offensive coordinator Eric Dooley’s attack. Joining him in the backfield is the speedy and elusive Montrell Carter. The Tigers must replace their top three receivers from last season but DeVohn Lindsey and DJ Clark are quite capable of duplicating last year’s performance. The offensive line must replace three starters from last season, but head coach Broderick Fobbs has recruited well and has some talented young linemen to plug in.
Defensively the Tigers must replace their entire defensive line, but transfers Caleb Wells, Anfernee Mullins and Rodney Jackson are ready to take their place. At linebacker De’Arius Christmas returns to lead the linebacking corps. At defensive back the Tigers lost the services of two All-SWAC performers, but Deaumante Johnson and Ja’Terious Pouncy join transfers Dedric Shy and Derrick Dixon in giving the Tigers a talented secondary.
The game will be close at halftime before the depth of the Green Wave begins to tell....score prediction: Tulane 38 Grambling 20.