I wonder how long the Nicholls State defense will be seeing visions of a green and white No. 6 sprinting away from them.
Corey Dauphine made it happen often on Saturday night. Tulane’s junior running back absolutely dominated the Colonels as he ran for 152 yards on six carries and three scores. You read that right; half of the times he touched the ball he found the end zone.
Dauphine’s fellow backs got in the action too. Darius Bradwell finished just seven yards shy of a 100-yard night while Stephon Huderson and freshman Amare Jones combined for another 39 yards. In all, the Wave’s rushing attack piled up 268 yards and accounted for five of the team’s six total touchdowns. I said in the game preview that the Green Wave ground game needed to wake up and did it ever.
However, it wasn’t merely the rushing offense that sliced through the visitors. The Jonathan Banks-Darnell Mooney connection that was so surgical last week was alive and well again. Mooney hauled in six passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. His performance was huge seeing as the Colonel defense did a solid job in keeping Terren Encalade quiet for most of the evening.
The 42-17 final makes it seem like Nicholls went down with a whimper, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Quarterback Chase Fourcade kept the Tulane defense honest all night, throwing for 239 yards and carrying for another 46 yards.
Although the Colonels did score two touchdowns, special teams mishaps again reared their ugly heads. Nicholls kicker Lorran Fonseca missed two field goals and had a kickoff sail out of bounds right before halftime; odd stuff from an FCS All-American.
Yeah there were a fair amount of Colonel follies but let’s give credit where credit is due. The Green Wave defense more or less silenced the potent offense of Nicholls State. They intercepted Fourcade twice (gosh do I love those turnover beads) and mastered the bend-but-don’t-break routine. After allowing 408 total yards, Tulane’s D only conceded 17 points. Willie Fritz will take that kind of performance any day of the week.
The Good: Tulane’s efficiency on third down was a thing of beauty. I said going in that this was an area of immense concern and boy did they address it on both ends of the ball. The offense went five for eight (62.5%) while the defense only gave up three for 11 (27.3%). This is a trend that should definitely continue if the Wave hopes to see success in the future.
The Bad: Penalties continue to stack up for the Green Wave. Saturday’s contest saw them surrender another 77 yards on nine more penalties. They gave up 98 such yards in their first game so these are some alarmingly high numbers for being just two games into the season. Yikes.
The Ugly: N/A
I know this may sound a bit optimistic but honestly I didn’t see anything that we could call ugly from this performance. Yeah, the penalties weren’t great and of course there’s always things to work on but seriously, the club looked like a fine-tuned machine. Clean up those penalties and all I can say is the AAC better watch out. Houston and UCF are obvious frontrunners but don’t sleep on the kids down in New Orleans. If Saturday was any indication, Tulane may be landing some haymakers once conference play arrives.
The Green Wave will take their first road trip of the year next week as they travel to Birmingham to take on UAB.