Tulane hopes to continue win streak against Temple

Chandler Daddario, Associate Sports Editor

The Tulane Green Wave (2-2, 1-0 American Athletic Conference) faces off against the Temple Owls (4-0, 1-0 AAC) this weekend in a key conference matchup. The Wave hopes to defend its two-game win streak and improve to a 3-2 overall record. 

The Owls come into Saturday 4-0, which is their best start since 1974. Temple also has received votes in both the Associated Press and Coaches Poll recently. Coach Johnson made it clear how big of a challenge the upcoming game will be. 

“Huge challenge. Going on the road to play a Temple team that should have been in a bowl game a year ago,” head coach Curtis Johnson said. “They’re one year older. They’re probably the best team in the conference right now. You look at it and ask, who’s beaten who? Well, they beat Penn State and that’s a pretty good football team. They’re playing well and playing at a high level. It’s a huge challenge since they have everyone back from a year ago. Certainly, a big challenge for us.”

Relying on good leadership and experience will be be essential for the Green Wave this weekend. Players like junior linebacker Nico Marley, redshirt-junior wide receiver Devon Breaux, senior defensive end Royce LaFrance and redshirt-sophomore quarterback Tanner Lee all need to continue their spectacular play. LaFrance recorded 3.0 sacks vs. Central Florida, which is tied for fifth-most in the country in a single game.  

Tulane is a perfect 10-10 in the red zone this season, which places the Green Wave first in the nation with six other teams.

Lee’s continuous growth throughout the season has helped establish the tremendous statistic. Coach Johnson was very impressed with his performance last week against UCF.

“I thought this was his best overall,” Johnson said. “He may have had some better performances like the Houston game a year ago, but this performance was just calm, cool and collective. He just played so well. He looked so comfortable back there.”

Before last week the Green Wave defense, especially the pass rush, was a work in progress for the Tulane coaching staff. The team seemed to respond quickly and executed the game plan to Coach Johnson’s standards against UCF. The improved pass rush will certainly help the Green Wave suppress the Owl’s offense on Saturday.

“It was the overall game plan,” Johnson said. “What we wanted to do initially was stop the run. Then once we stopped the run, we got a good little lead. Now you turn the team into being one-dimensional… When a team becomes one-dimensional they have to throw it and you can go and sack the quarterback. Our guys are good players. They were good enough to do those things.”

Coach Johnson and the Green Wave are ready to take on Temple at 11 a.m. Saturday in Philadelphia. The game will be broadcasted on Fox Sports on the 1280 AM radio station.