October 27, 2013
Commentary: Green Wave plucky, not lucky
Without question, Tulane received some fortunate breaks against Tulsa on Saturday at the Superdome.
The Golden Hurricane had to play without starting quarterback Cody Green (knee, thigh), who is no world-beater but certainly is better than his replacement, redshirt freshman/really bad backup Dane Evans.
Once again, Tulane exhibited mysterious field-goal defense prowess when Carl Salazar sent an ugly 35-yarder wide left with a chance to give Tulsa a 10-0 lead in a defense-dominated affair during the second quarter. It was the sixth miss in the last 10 field goal attempts for Green Wave opponents and the fourth from inside 40 yards.
Tulsa, which had committed fewer penalties for fewer yards than any team in the country through six games, was flagged eight times for 94 yards and lost at least three first downs in Tulane territory due to those penalties.
But the Green Wave, which became bowl eligible in October after 10 consecutive losing seasons, is not 6-2 and chasing its first Conference USA crown in 15 years due to luck. After years and years of finding ways to lose, this team is doing everything winning teams do on their way to close victories.
Never mind Tulane's obvious strengths -an active defensive line that had nine tackles behind the line of scrimmage against Tulsa and a ball-hawking secondary that picked off three more passes and forced four turnovers overall. That's a given by this point.
It's the way the Wave's weakest parts keep coming through that bodes well for the rest of the season, with a 10-2 regular season finish and host role for the Conference USA championship game a realistic possibility.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Devin Powell, who subbed for an injured Nick Montana for the second consecutive game, can be scary bad at times. He certainly fit that label on an interception he threw right to Tulsa defensive back Will Barrow in the first quarter (in fairness to Powell, Tulane coach Curtis Johnson attributed the turnover to receiver Ryan Grant running the wrong route after missing a check). Barrow returned it 64 yards to the 5, setting up Tulsa's only touchdown.
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