A Quick Huddle: Football

Harrison Simon, Contributing Reporter

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After an impressive 58-6 victory over Missouri State, the Green Wave football team has fans feeling optimistic about repeating last year’s bowl game success. If fifth-year senior quarterback Justin McMillan and company want to end the season hoisting another, more coveted trophy, however, they will have to knock helmets with the best of the best in the American Athletic Conference. 

Tulane’s fiercest matchups feature the Temple University Owls, the University of Central Florida Knights the unofficial 2017 national champions and the Wave’s next opponent, the University of Houston Cougars. 

Photos Courtesy of Tulane Athletics, Editing by Gwen Snyder | Sports Layout Editor
Safety P.J. Hall, no. 2, and quarterback Justin McMillian, no. 12, both shown carrying the ball against Missouri State University.

Temple University

The Owls, coming off a surprising victory over the formerly top 25 ranked University of Maryland this past weekend, boast one of the strongest offensive lines in the country, with four of last year’s five starters returning

If Temple’s offense can limit turnovers, and the defense starts wreaking havoc in opposing backfields, head coach Rod Carey may be able to run the table and steal the conference and potentially a spot in a bowl game from the Green Wave.

UCF

After dominating the conference two years ago, the Knights kept the ball rolling last year en route to an appearance in the Fiesta Bowl against perennial powerhouse LSU.

This year, UCF will seek to overwhelm teams with its two-headed running back tandem of Greg McCrae and Adrian Killins, who could easily combine for well over 2,000 rushing yards. 

With UCF as the final home game on Tulane’s regular season schedule, the Green Wave may be playing with its season in the balance against a team loaded with postseason experience. McMillan will have to be careful about throwing the deep ball, as UCF safety Richie Grant is one of the best in the nation at disrupting offensive gameplans. 

Houston

The Green Wave and the Cougars do not like each other, plain and simple, and after last year’s 48-17 thrashing, the Green Wave will be out for blood against the Cougars. 

This blowout defeat was no joke. Houston had and still has one of the most dynamic offenses in the country, and with electric playmaking quarterback D’Eriq King returning as well as nearly the entire offensive arsenal from a year ago, Tulane will have to be at its best to grind out a win. 

The Green Wave simply cannot afford to make the careless errors it did against Auburn two weeks ago if it wants to upset one of the conference favorites. The Cougars lost their best defensive player, defensive tackle Ed Oliver, to the NFL Draft, opening up room for running backs Darius Bradwell and Corey Dauphine to pound the run against a weaker defensive front. If the Wave can bludgeon the defensive line on the ground, McMillan should have ample opportunity to stretch the ball through the air.  

The Green Wave has had the Houston game circled on its calendars for months now, and this Thursday, if head coach Willie Fritz gets the guys fired up, they’ll come out and show the AAC that it has another contender, let alone another school that will reach a bowl game, to worry about. Tulane is favored by five points

The Green Wave will play the University of Houston tonight at 7 p.m. at Benson Field at Yulman Stadium. Fans can buy tickets starting at $5. For those not in the New Orleans area, the game will be televised on ESPN. The game will be the first home game on ESPN since Ole Miss in 2010.