Opinion: Cincinnati will spook Tulane football Halloween night

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Redshirt freshman Lazedrick Thomspon rushes the ball in a 20-13 loss against Central Florida in Orlando, Florida. Thompson rushed for 63 yards on 12 attempts in the loss. 

Will Potts, Associate Sports Editor

With just five games left in its season, Tulane football has failed to live up to the hype that surrounded it at the start of the season. A brand new Yulman Stadium, a revamped program and a tougher schedule cannot mask the team’s shortcomings.

With an overall record of 2-5, and 1-2 in American Athletic Conference play, Tulane sits No. 9 in conference standings with a fading opportunity to appear in a bowl game.

To start the season, the Wave lost 38-31 in a double overtime thriller at Tulsa, and this defeat was followed by a 38-21 loss against Georgia Tech in the inaugural game at Yulman Stadium. Though facing a heavily favored Georgia Tech team, Tulane was completely outmatched and outplayed.

Since game one, quarterback struggles have plagued Tulane’s offense. Redshirt freshman quarterback Tanner Lee headed the offense for the first five games but was benched after consistency troubles and recurring injury concerns. Senior quarterback Nick Montana took over and has not provided a sense of relief, despite leading Tulane to a 12-3 home win against Connecticut.

While questions swirled around the quarterback position, the Green Wave found reliability in its dual backfield threat. Freshman running back Sherman Badie and sophomore running back Lazedrick Thompson have amassed more than 900 yards on the ground and served as a crutch for an often floundering Tulane offense.

Badie, however, suffered an ankle injury in the second half of Saturday’s 20-13 loss against Central Florida. The loss of Badie will be another challenge the Wave must overcome. 

In its upcoming Halloween game against Cincinnati (3-3, 2-1 AAC), Thompson’s legs will have to carry Tulane’s rushing attack. The Bearcats stout defense will pose a challenge to a Tulane offense that has scored just 18.7 points per game.

The night game, featured on ESPNU, is the Green Wave’s last chance to rebound and salvage a respectable season. After next weekend, the four remaining games on Tulane’s schedule are all against teams currently with winning percentages of .500 or above.

A win against Cincinnati, a perennial conference contender, would give the Wave newfound confidence that will be a vital part of a success in the final stretch of the season.

With the injuries to Lee and Badie, Montana and Thompson must now bear the responsibility of fixing the offensive struggles the Wave are facing. The Tulane defense, which has showed signs of life, will be called upon to come out of its shell under the bright lights of Yulman Stadium.

If Tulane’s offense and defense cannot perform, the most frightening part of this Halloween will be the Wave’s defeat at the hands of Cincinnati. I pick Cincinnati 28-17.