Tulane sure put a scare into Memphis last Saturday, didn't it? I mean, the Green Wave nearly exorcised its demons and scored a big win in the American Athletic Conference. But seriously: Those were some ghost-white faces on the Tigers and their fans, who nearly got tricked, not treated.
Get it? It was Halloween.
OK. I'll stop.
Tulane did shock a lot of people by jumping out to a 13-0 lead early in the second quarter. Then the Green Wave did Green Wave things and was outscored 41-0 the rest of the way.
The opening drive: Tulane knew the only way to win last Saturday's game was to keep the ball away from Memphis' high-scoring offense. The Green Wave did just that in the first quarter when it held the ball for 11 minutes, 45 seconds and all but 32 seconds of that came on the team's first drive. Seriously. Tulane put together a seven-play, 75-yard drive that took 11:13 off the clock. The Green Wave capped it with a 3-yard touchdown run by Dontrell Hilliard to make it 6-0.
Dontrell Hilliard: The bowling ball of a running back ran hard against the Tigers. Hilliard finished with 97 yards on 19 carries and scored twice (3-yard run, 43-yard run). Many of those yards were gained after first contact, which is great to see from an effort standpoint.
The offense: For the fifth time this season, Tulane gained fewer than 300 yards of total offense. The Green Wave finished with 270 yards and ran 66 plays to do so (4.1-yard average). Tulane lacked any consistency in its passing attack, only completing 10 of its 24 passes for 131 yards. And while I know the Green Wave started third-string quarterback Jordy Joseph, there was little reason to believe it would have been better with Tanner Lee under center. And outside of the aforementioned first drive, where Tulane converted seven first downs, the Green Wave only nabbed 10 more the rest of the way.
Special teams: There is NO excuse for how bad the Green Wave is in this area. Let's take a closer look at what reared its ugly head at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. "Everything" is an acceptable answer.
- Tulane had an extra point blocked after its first touchdown.
- The Green Wave averaged less than 40 yards per punt.
- Tulane kicked off five times and only had one downed in the end zone.
- The Green Wave averaged eight yards per kick return. EIGHT!
- Speaking of kickoff returns, Tulane's Rickey Preston fumbled the ball at the 1-yard line, which led to Memphis recording its second safety of the game.
- What happened with the first safety? The long snapper sent the ball 42 yards over Peter Picerelli's head and the punter had no other option than to fall on it in the end zone.