Tulane’s rushers are probably still trying to catch their breath.
Corey Dauphine, Darius Bradwell and the gang made South Florida’s defense look absolutely silly on Saturday, running for 368 yards and five scores. Dauphine found the end zone twice, Bradwell led the team with 135 yards and even quarterback Justin McMillan called his own number 10 times. The result of Tulane’s monster day on the ground was an improbable thrashing of one of the American’s supposed top teams.
The final score may not suggest it, but the Bulls actually did produce on offense. They just didn’t produce touchdowns. Quarterback Blake Barnett threw for 332 yards and nine different USF receivers touched the ball. Not a one, though, got over 100 yards or a scoring catch. Star running back Jordan Cronkrite only accumulated 13 yards on six carries and when all was said and done, the Bulls went out with a whimper.
Tulane’s fourth win of the year was full of positives and things look much better in the bowl race than they did two weeks ago. Again, however, there’s always lessons to walk away with and, although it may have felt like it to the Green Wave faithful, the performance in Tampa was not flawless.
The Good: There’s little more the ground game needs to do to impress other than simply maintain this level of play. Nearly 400 yards with four different rushers breaking the chalk was just what the doctor ordered for a Tulane team that has been struggling as of late. It’s been almost two months since Bradwell hasn’t had a touchdown and the Dauphine transfer is making Willie Fritz look smarter by the week. If this unit can continue to put up these types of numbers, every game on the slate (yes, even the Houston one) seems winnable.
The Bad: Brace yourselves Wave fans because here it comes... penalties. However there is an exception this week. Eight infractions in a game is never good, of course, but at least this time the penalties weren’t huge. By the end of the game, Tulane had been penalized 62 yards. That may sound like a lot (and it is) but for this club, it was one of their better results in that department.
The Ugly: The passing game still has much to be desired. McMillan threw for a mere 61 yards and completed only four of his 11 attempts. For the third consecutive outing Tulane has failed to toss a touchdown. Those figures probably won’t be enough to get it done down the road but hey, if they were against the Bulls, then who am I to say?
Final Thoughts: This team continues to baffle us. After seeming to use everything they had to narrowly escape the Golden Hurricane last week, Tulane went out and thumped USF. Remember, this Wave club also upset Memphis earlier in the year. It’s good to know that they aren’t intimated by their “big boy” opponents. The key will be not falling off and reeling next week against ECU. As encouraging as the win was, there is still little room for error in terms of snagging a bowl bid. After Saturday’s performance, though, Green Wave fans should be optimistic.