Wave enters bye week hopeful to turn season around


Freshman running back Sherman Badie runs the ball in a 31-6 loss against Rutgers in Piscataway, New Jersey. Badie averages 89 rushing yards per game, on 7.2 yards per carry. 

Mackenna Barker, Associate Sports Editor

Tulane football (2-5, 1-2 American Athletic Conference) approaches the middle of the season in ninth place in its new conference. While not the debut it had hoped for, the Green Wave has an opportunity to assess the first half of the season and prepare to improve the second half as it enters its second bye week of the season.

Tulane’s offense has struggled to play effectively this season. Through seven games, Tulane has averaged nearly 10 points less than its opponents.

Tulane has run the ball well, as it averages 4.6 yards per carry. Redshirt freshman running back Sherman Badie has made a strong debut and has contributed a sizeable contribution to the Green Wave running game, with 669 yards and 3 touchdowns this season.

The Wave’s passing offense has underperformed, as redshirt freshman quarterback Tanner Lee and senior quarterback Nick Montana have thrown for just 1,325 total yards combined. Senior wide receiver Justyn Shackleford has been a consistent force in the passing game. He has 342 receiving yards this season.

Lee has thrown for 914 yards and 8 touchdowns this season, but his inexperience can be seen in the 9 interceptions he has thrown this season. While he has made some bad readings of opposing defenses, he has also demonstrated talent and high potential in many plays.

Head coach Curtis Johnson said that the passing game needs to improve immediately. 

“Offensively, we have to jump start our passing game,” Johnson said.

Despite the talent that has shown through, turnovers, penalties and sheer inexperience have hindered the offense. Tulane has allowed opponents to score 110 points off of its turnovers, which accounts for over half of all points scored against Tulane.

Penalties have also plagued the Green Wave. Tulane has a total of 67 penalties for a loss of 582 yards. 

Another focal point of Tulane’s struggles has been the special teams Freshman kicker Andrew DiRocco has hit just 4 of his 9 field goal attempts, with a season-long of 42 yards.

The Green Wave defense, on the other hand, has played impressively this season. The defense held Central Florida to 94 rushing yards and 139 passing yards in its 20-13 loss Saturday. This was the third game this season that the Wave defense held the opponent to less than 100 rushing yards and the fourth time it held its opponent to less than 200 passing yards.

Tulane also forced four turnovers in the game against UCF, bringing its season total up to 18. Tulane has forced at least one turnover in every game this season.

“[Forcing turnovers] is something our defense prides itself on,” Johnson said. “We know we’re not the biggest defense but turning over the ball gives us a great advantage. That’s what separates us from other teams.”

Cincinnati, Tulane’s next opponent (3-3, 1-1 AAC) has a powerful offense helmed by redshirt sophomore quarterback Gunner Kiel. Kiel has thrown for 1,853 yards and 19 touchdowns this season.

The Green Wave defense will look to keep shutting down opposing offenses in the second half of the season, and its offense and special teams will work to improve the shortcomings that plagued the first half of the season.

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