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Tulane Green Wave vs Army West Point Game Preview

Tulane returns home for a season defining tilt with the Black Knights of the Hudson

NCAA Football: Tulane at Oklahoma
Tulane QB Jonathan Brantley
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Start Time: Saturday September 23rd, 2017 11:00am CST

TV: CBS Sports Network

Stream: CBS Sports Network

Location: Yulman Stadium, New Orleans, LA.

The Series: This is the 21st meeting between the two programs. Tulane leads (11-10-1)

Betting Line: Tulane is a 2 point favorite

Tulane Outlook: The Green Wave is trying to get back to .500 following a bruising contest with #2 Oklahoma last weekend. Tulane has a familiarity with Army’s offense that perhaps no other non-academy team can boast. Having just played Navy two weeks ago as well as defensive co-coordinator Jack Curtis being on Army head coach Jeff Monken’s staff at Georgia Southern prior to Willie Fritz’s arrival. The Green Wave seems to be adept at slowing down the flex-bone option, and the Tulane offense has shown to be effective with backup quarterback Jonathan Brantley pulling the strings as evidenced by gaining over 200 yards rushing vs the talented Sooner defense.

The Green Wave offense will be punching in its own weight class versus Army. Yet Tulane Coach Willie Fritz does not know who will start at quarterback, as starter Jonathan Banks’ status is questionable and backup Jonathan Brantley left the Oklahoma game last week and did not return. The job may fall to true freshman Kahlil McClain who saw his first collegiate action last week. Whoever starts at quarterback will be looking to improve on Tulane’s dismal passing numbers as the Green Wave is currently ranked 125th in passing yards per game.

NCAA Football: Tulane at Navy
Tulane QB Jonathan Banks
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Wave defense did not look great versus Oklahoma last week, but Baker Mayfield and the Sooners offense will do that to about 95% of the defenses in the FBS. There were some bright spots as the Green Wave forced multiple turnovers, with both fumbles caused by freshmen defensive backs, Chase Kuerschen and Tirise Barge. Tulane faces an entirely different challenge in Army, but not an unfamiliar one. Tulane faced Navy two weeks ago and will see a similar if not identical offense against Army. So far defensive co-coordinator Jack Curtis has the recipe for slowing down the flex-bone option, holding Navy to over 100 yards below its season average in the teams last two meetings.

Army Outlook: The Black Knights had their five game winning streak, dating back to last season, snapped during a pasting at Ohio State last weekend. Not only were they beaten on the field but Army did not come out of the game healthy, as starting free safety Rhyan England, tackle Rick Kurz and tight end Zach Saum departed the game with injuries. This comes on top of losing starting cornerback Jalen Sharp during practice last week. That being said, quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw has the Cadets offense running on all cylinders on the ground as they are currently 2nd in the nation in rushing.

Prediction: Tulane and Army are both coming off loses where they were dominated by more talented competition. The story of this game really comes down to injuries and passing. Will Tulane’s starting quarterback Jonathan Banks play? If so the Green Wave may feast on Army’s depleted secondary, or will Amhad Bradshaw and the Black Knights hit some big passes to take advantage of Tulane’s aggressive run defense? If Banks plays the Wave will roll, if he does not play Jonathan Brantley still gives Tulane enough on offense to outscore the Cadets in what will be a bruising battle of option teams.

Tulane 24 - Army 20