October 4, 2013

Green Wave trying to end several streaks against North Texas

Tulane coach Curtis Johnson liked the way his team practiced this week for North Texas. His only word of caution was he also though the Green Wave prepared well for Syracuse.

Beating North Texas on Saturday would be massive in Tulane's quest for respectability. In one fell swoop, the Wave (3-2) can end a six-game Homecoming losing streak, a 12-game skid following victories and start 2-0 in Conference USA for the first time since the perfect season of 1998.

"This was one of the better weeks," Johnson said. "I was in and out of practice (because of wife's successful surgery to correct a breathing issue), but Montana practiced very well, the receivers caught it. The backs have to catch it better. I wasn't pleased with that, but the offensive line feels like they are jelling also."

Tulane's secondary had its best game of the season against ULM, with Jordan Batiste starting at nickel corner to complement regular corners Lorenzo Doss and Jordan Sullen. That look bothered the Warhawks from start to finish and likely will remain in place as Tulane enters its season-closing seven-game stretch against spread-happy Conference USA opponents.

North Texas does not quite fit the pattern-the balanced Mean Green has run two more times than its has thrown -but its passing game has been more effective than its ground game, which picks up only 3.5 yards per carry.

The Wave leads the nation with 29 deflections, five more than any other team.

"I feel like we are the best in the country as a secondary," said Doss, who has two interceptions while seven of his teammates have one. "We talk about it almost every day, create turnovers. If we can create turnovers and get the ball to our offense, we know they are going to score."

That's a bit hyperbolic since South Alabama's Ross Metheny and Syracuse's Terrel Hunt combined for six touchdown passes against Tulane, but the defensive backs are playing well.

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