Tulane Football enters 2020 season seeking third consecutive bowl game

Jude Papillion, Staff Reporter

The Tulane Green Wave football team will kick-off its 2020-21 season against University of South Alabama on Sept. 12. Tulane is coming off of a 7-6 season that began with an impressive 5-1 record. The team finished 1-5 in their final six games, however. The Green Wave capped off the season defeating University of Southern Mississippi 30-13 in the 2020 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

The Tulane Green Wave Football team at a recent practice this summer. The 2020-2021 season starts on Sep. 12.

 

Tulane also won the Cure Bowl against the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2018, making last season the first time Tulane has made consecutive bowl games since 1979-80 and the first time Tulane has ever won two bowls consecutively. This season, Tulane is looking to make a bowl game for the third consecutive season — something the Green Wave has never accomplished.

This effort will be aided by the new recruiting class which included 22 student athletes and graduate transfers Kevin Henry and Mykel Jones from Oklahoma State University and The University of Oklahoma, respectively. Twenty-one of Tulane’s 22-man recruiting class were rated as three-star prospects. Tulane’s recruiting class finished 69th nationally and third in the American Athletic Conference.

In light of many Power Five season cancellations, Tulane will be featured on national television five times this fall. Tulane’s season will begin on Sept. 12 at South Alabama and will be aired on ESPN2. Tulane’s Sept. 19 home opener against Navy will be televised on ABC, where the Green Wave will be making its first appearance on ABC in 40 years. Tulane’s other scheduled nationally televised games are against University of Houston on ESPN on Oct. 8, Southern Methodist University on Oct. 16 on ESPN2 and University of Memphis on Nov. 27 on an undetermined ESPN network. Tulane will also face Southern Miss, University of Central Florida, Temple University, East Carolina University, Army, and the University of Tulsa in its 11-game schedule.

Keon Howard was named Tulane’s starting quarterback. This is Howard’s third campaign with the Green Wave after spending last season as the backup quarterback under Justin McMillan and sitting out of the 2018 season due to NCAA transfer rules. Howard’s collegiate career began in 2016 at Southern Miss where he threw for 1594 yards, nine touchdowns and nine interceptions in two seasons. In his sophomore season, Howard started in seven games including one as wide receiver.

In addition to Howard, the rest of Tulane’s offense is looking to have a solid season. Receiver Jha’Quan Jackson had an impressive spring camp, as did Oklahoma graduate transfer Mykel Jones. Tulane’s loaded backfield will suffer slightly without star back Corey Dauphine who suffered a season-ending torn Achilles. In Dauphine’s absence, Tyjae Spears, Amare Jones, Stephon Huderson, Ygenio Booker and Cameron Carroll are all looking to make an impact rushing the ball this season.

The Green Wave’s defense is also looking to rebound after a disappointing 2019 season. Tulane’s defensive line is returning all of its starters and a few key backups, and could make an impact if they play to their full potential. Tulane’s returning linebackers, Marvin Moody and Nick Anderson, will be joined by freshman Jesus Machado and Oklahoma State graduate transfer Kevin Henry. Strong safety Larry Brooks is looking to have a breakout season after leading the team in interceptions last season. Chase Kuerschen will compliment Brooks at free safety.

Tulane is also returning kicker Merek Glover, who made 13 of 17 field goals in 2019, and punter Ryan Wright who averaged 41.1 yards last season. Amare Jones will be Tulane’s return specialist.

Head coach Willie Fritz is returning for his fifth season with the Green Wave. Fritz is looking to improve from last season and to put Tulane in position to contend for conference championships.

In the American Athletic Conference preseason poll, Tulane was picked to finish sixth in the conference. UCF was picked to win the conference championship.