Green Wave to take on Tulsa (4-2, 1-1 AAC) this weekend

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Quarterback Glen Cuiellette hands the ball off to running back Josh Rounds as receiver Larry Dace III cuts across the middle in the team’s most recent game against Memphis. The Green Wave fell to the Tigers 24-14.

Aaron Wolf, Contributing Reporter

After a two week break, the Green Wave (3-3, 0-2 American Athletic Conference) started strong against a tough Memphis Tigers team at Yulman Stadium, but fell apart by allowing 21 unanswered points. Now, the team must turn its attention to the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (4-2, 1-1 AAC).

Tulsa is coming off a thrilling game last weekend against its rival and apparent American Athletic Conference front-runner, the Houston Cougars. Houston, currently ranked 11th in the nation, made a goal-line stand in the final play of the game to take the 38-31 victory, helped by some questionable refereeing. Tulsa’s defense was ultimately its downfall, which is no surprise considering that the 38 points the Golden Hurricane allowed was its lowest in three games. The offense made up for it, as redshirt senior quarterback Dane Evans threw for season highs of 27 completions and 365 yards passing.  

In the game against Memphis, Tulane had significant offensive struggles and failed to stop the Tiger’s rolling offense, losing 24-14.

“This was a disappointing loss,” head coach Willie Fritz said in a press conference. “The coaches, managers and everybody affiliated with the program feel like that was a game we could have won… There’s going to come a point in time when we don’t play real well and still win games like that.”

After catching 14 balls for 228 yards and four touchdowns in the last two games, standout sophomore wide receiver Terren Encalade was held to just three catches for 47 yards against the Tigers. At the same time, redshirt sophomore quarterback Glen Cuiellette struggled mightily, completing just 11 of his 30 pass attempts.

In the Green Wave’s upcoming game, look for the Cuiellette-Encalade connection to get back on track against a defense which allows 235.7 yards through the air per game. However, Tulane has tended to rely heavily on its running game this season and that trend is likely to continue against a soft Tulsa rushing defense, which has allowed 174.2 yards per game.

The Green Wave will have to face off against a team with a highly different style of play than it is used to. The Golden Hurricane tends to try to outscore the other team by displaying a wealth of offensive firepower, which attempts to overshadow its shortcomings on defense. Tulsa’s quarterback, Dane Evans, has thrown for 1,500 yards this season compared to Cuiellette’s 616, but Tulane allows an average of about five points per game fewer than Tulsa does. As a result, Evans and the stingy Green Wave secondary will be a key matchup in the game.

Saturday’s game in Oklahoma is sure to be an emotional one for the Golden Hurricane and its fans after the untimely passing of Tulsa legend Dennis Byrd. Byrd became an inspirational figure for many after pushing through his physical therapy and regaining the ability to walk after a horrifying neck injury suffered in an NFL game in 1992.

This game will be crucial as Tulane must right the ship in conference play as soon as possible. Viewers can watch the game at 2:45 CT on Saturday,  on ESPNU.