Following last week’s loss to Auburn, Tulane offensive coordinator Will Hall took the blame upon himself saying, “I didn’t call a good game, it’s something we have to move on from.”
Anyone who watched the Wave (2-1) play on Saturday night will tell you... they did just that.
In fact, the Green Wave offense was so explosive in compiling their 540 yards of total offense against the Missouri State Bears that the backups came in late to close things out.
After their opening drive yielded only a 23-yard field goal from kicker Merek Glover, Willie Fritz’s team put their foot on the gas and didn’t let up until it was all over.
Sophomore running back Amare Jones got the touchdown barrage started with a three-yard scamper in the first. It would be one of Jones’ two scores on the evening in the midst of his 73-yard performance (five carries).
Joining him in the end zone was his quarterback Justin McMillan who, while not having a banner evening through the air, scored two touchdowns with his legs. McMillan carried the ball nine times for 49 yards and threw for another 122.
For all the playmakers that made things happen, though, it was the freshman Tyjae Spears that was the big play guy for Tulane. His two touchdowns came on some of the longest plays of the night; a 52-yard run and an 88-yard reception from second-string QB Keon Howard late in the third quarter.
The Wave’s huge night came at the expense of Missouri State that now finds itself 0-2. Huslig had a dreadful evening passing, going 14-of-25 for 128 yards and three interceptions, one of which was returned by Tulane’s P.J. Hall for a touchdown. He did throw a touchdown as well but the extra point was blocked.
As a team the Bears rushed for just 54 yards against the smothering Green Wave defense. MOSU’s leading rusher was Donovan Daniels who gained a mere 29 yards on 11 carries. No Missouri State ball carrier scored.
It was quite the show for Tulane coming back home against an FCS opponent; the kind of performance you want to see right before a team gets into the meat of their schedule. Fritz and his staff have a lot to build off as they move forward.
The Good: Pretty much everything. Listen, we know that this certainly wasn’t the Wave’s toughest test but 58 points in one 60-minute contest is impressive no matter how you slice it and it was the underclassmen that played a big part in it. The coaching staff has to be excited about not only what’s going on now but what’s to come for the Greenies down the road. If tonight was any indication, the Wave is here and they’re here to stay for a while. Everything hummed tonight and barely skipped a beat when the replacements took over.
The Bad: We don’t know how valid of a litmus test this was. It’s not necessarily bad but at the end of the day, this won’t be the defining game on Tulane’s 2019 slate simply because of who the opponent was. We’ll see what teams like Memphis and Houston tell us about this Tulane squad. (Don’t get me wrong, though, this was still an important win).
The Ugly: You’ll understand if we forgo this section. Even the penalties... a usual hiccup for the Wave... were pretty well in check on Saturday.
Up Next: The Wave will have a quick turnaround to face one of their more difficult challenges on the season when they host Houston on Thursday night. The Cougars (1-2) are coming off a hard-fought loss to Washington State and are looking to rebound in an all-important first AAC tilt. Next week’s game may go a long way in deciding an appearance in the conference title game.