NOVEMBER 11, 2018
With 48 seconds left in the ballgame, the scene in Yulman Stadium was all too familiar.
Tulane, seemingly with the game in hand since going up 14-3 with 5:03 left in the first half, was in truth defending a 6-point lead, just a breakdown in coverage away from the latest in a long line of Homecoming nightmares.
On a cold night in New Orleans, the Green Wave Defense -- the foundation of this three-game winning streak -- said not today. While there was some added drama when the referees incorrectly ruled a long pass from ECU quarterback Holton Ahlers complete... potenitally putting the Pirates in striking distance late in the 4th quarter, the pleas of Tulane fans watching the replay were answered: a Pirate cleat had dragged across the sideline first, and Homecoming belonged to the Green Wave for the first time since 2013.
While Ahlers only threw one pick, it sure felt like the Wave Defense could have rung up the freshman quarteback for five or six interceptions throughout the night. As Guerry points out, the Green Wave not only set an NCAA high for pass breakups this season with 20... that's the most in NCAA history since the stat was started in 2000:
#Tulane set an NCAA record for passes defensed tonight with 20. As in all time. The previous high was 19 by South Carolina vs. Alabama on Oct. 2, 2000. Unbelievable performance by Green Wave secondary. Season high this year for any team had been 16.— Guerry Smith (@Guersmith) November 11, 2018
On the offensive side of the ball, the boom and bust nature of this offense continued, with undefeated starter Justin McMillan finding paydirt with touchdowns to Darnell Mooney (86 yards, 2nd play of the drive), Terren Encalade (73 yards, 6th play of the drive), and then Mooney again in the 2nd half (79 yards, 1st play of the drive).
Tulane QB Justin McMillan: 9 completions - 320 passing yards— ㅤㅤㅤ (@ftbeard_17) November 10, 2018
3 of those 9 completions are TDs, all 3 went for 70+ yards
1st TD: 86 yards to Darnell Mooney pic.twitter.com/aOZWVAz9Xd
Overall, ECU leveraged its speed to do a much better job than USF in defending the run, holding the Green Wave to 3.3 yards per carry, with Darius Bradwell and Corey Dauphine getting 19 and 17 carries respectively. For Dauphine, while he did not find the checkerboards as he is prone to do, Wave fans can be happy to see his third straight game with over 15 rushing attempts.
Mooney, who has delivered several big games this year, rode a 217 yard performance with two touchdowns to increase his season total to a haul of 829 yards, putting a 1,000 yard campaign in play.
Above all, in my view, the Green Wave defense delivered in a big way to keep the freshman Ahlers uncomfortable all night, finishing with a 21 for 67 (31%) stat line and taking five sacks in the process. That's a significant step back from his last two starts, passing for 55% against both UCF and Memphis in his first two weeks as QB1 for the Pirates.
Unfortunately, breaking a Homecoming losing streak and rising to co-lead the AAC West had to come with some bad news as well: Patrick Johnson, a standout this year, was hit with a targeting call that will lead to a suspension for the first half next week at Houston. That's a bad break for a Wave Defense already dealing with some banged up personnel, as Johnson has been outstanding throughout 2018.
Let's get to the big picture.
I know everyone is talking about the b-word and such, but how about Tulane becoming a co-leader of the AAC West for the first time in program history.
And with two weeks remaining...— Fear the Wave (@FearTheWaveBlog) November 11, 2018
Tulane is tied for first place in the AAC West with Houston and SMU.
Let the battle commence. pic.twitter.com/aMUDelaj4N
With four wins through the first six conference games, Tulane has already set its school high for AAC wins, with two more shots to the add to that title.
Green Wave great Nico Marley, who should be on staff as an official motivator for all games going forward, said as much in his pregame talk to the team:
The Lion Speaks @nico2marley his team @greenwavefb 🔥🔥🔥#LIONORDER 👑— ROHAN MARLEY (@Romarley) November 11, 2018
“ like Father like Son “#Repost @nico2marley
Ride the waveeeee‼️was a pleasure coming back! Thank you for having me @greenwavefb 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/R3AkzokooC
As much talk as there has been about getting to six, Marley righly challenges the team to focus instead on getting to seven wins.
And doing so would be a huge deal.
And with two weeks remaining...— Fear the Wave (@FearTheWaveBlog) November 11, 2018
Tulane is tied for first place in the AAC West with Houston and SMU.
Let the battle commence. pic.twitter.com/aMUDelaj4N
Houston, SMU, and Tulane are all now tied for the AAC West. Here are the remaining schedules:
- vs. Tulane
- @ Memphis
- vs. Memphis
- @ Tulsa
- @ Houston
- Navy (Trident Trophy)
With that in mind, the Mustangs certainly have the best road and control their own destiny, with wins (and H2H tiebreakers) over the Cougars and Wave. Memphis would break this thing open for the other teams, should they knock off SMU next week.
Tulane will have the national game on Thursday night against Houston on ESPN. The Cougars, who fell in Yulman last year to set up a bowl run that did not come to be, are fighting a tailspin right now after dropping to Temple last night.
To make matters worse, destroyer of worlds Ed Oliver has been out since the Navy game when he suffered this brutal "block."
This slow-mo of block on Ed Oliver from Navy game was shown during Saturday’s game. Had not seen this angle pic.twitter.com/a75Q8BV21i— Joseph Duarte (@Joseph_Duarte) November 5, 2018
He didn't dress last night, and it isn't inconveivable to think that Oliver could be out once again. That would certainly be a break, as the Cougars have taken a huge step back defensively while giving up 7 rushing touchdowns last night against the Owls of Temple.
This is a massive game for Tulane against a Houston team that was challenging for a NY6 berth before this slide. No doubt both teams will be taking this one seriously in a short week, and we're about to see a big time battle in front of a national television audience.
No Tulane player had experienced a Homecoming win at Yulman before last night.
And they were hyped:
It’s over. The game. The losing streak at Homecoming.— Fear the Wave (@FearTheWaveBlog) November 11, 2018
On to Houston. pic.twitter.com/yVdyZTyxNu
FTW writer and team ambassador Janny Meza used his new shirt to make connections for our rising media juggernaut. T-Shirts will be on sale for everyone this week.
Shout out to everyone who had them on at the tailgate yesterday.
Shout out to everyone who braved the cold for the first Happy Homecoming in the stadium. On to Beat Houston week. Stay Angry, my friends.
NOVEMBER 09, 2018
While Tulane faces a major battle tomorrow for Homecoming (FTWCast preview podcast here), the Green Wave will have a number of commits and targets for 2019 on campus.
Here is the list of expected visitors.
1: Jalen McCleskey - WR (Official Visit)
Oklahoma State transfer and former 3-star wide receiver. Son of Tulane coach JJ McCleskey.
2: J'Coryan Anderson - 3-star LB (Official Visit)
Uncommitted linebacker out of Tennesee.
3: Colby Orgeron - OL
4: Tyjae Spears - RB
5: Kiland Harrison - DB
6: Conner Richardson - TE
7: Tyrone Lewis - DB
High 3-star DB with offers from Utah, Arkansas, and more.
8: JhaQuan Jackson - WR (SMU)
SMU commit out of Hanhnville (WR / ATH) ranked as a high 3-star by 247.
9: Swayze Boseman - LB (Co-Lin, MS - JUCO)
JUCO linebacker with several FBS offers.
10: Martin Butcher - QB
Newman Greenie who has an FBS offer already from UAB.
11: Desmyn Baker - TE
Clinton, MS tight end / wide receiver.
12: Markel Cotton - ATH (McNeese State Commit)
Josh Remetich OL Holy Cross
Khi Matheiu WR St Aug
Corey Smooth DB Rummel
Quinton Cage DB Rummel
Donovan Kaufman DB Rummel
Edgerrin Cooper LB Covington
Jarmone Sutherland WR Newman
Taylor Thompson TE Prattville AL
Jett Duncan OL Woodlands TX
Patrick Jenkins DL Ehret
Miles Stewart RB Lusher
Israel Whitmore LB Choctaw Co MS
NOVEMBER 04, 2018
Reports of Tulane's demise may have been greatly exaggerated. Just 8 days ago, facing a 2-5 record and with two league road games on the horizon, Wave fans and the media alike were ready to stick a fork in this one.
Oh what a difference a week or so makes, as the Green Wave has come out on the other side with a signature win over a team that entered Ray J with a 7-1 record (and two P5 wins this year) and, in the long view, a credible route to the elusive six win mark.
While the Bulls were ranked by Bill Connelly as the #23 offense in the country, the firepower sure felt like it was on the Wave's sidelines, as the offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage and the Wave took advantage time and time again.
The final score: Tulane 41 - USF 15.
In the end, this matchup would see huge days from Darius Bradwell (135 Yards, 1 TD, 9.0 YPC) and Corey Dauphine (114 Yards, 2 TDs, 7.2 YPC), and both produced explosive runs for their highlight reels.
The tandem complemented each other yesterday, with Bradwell's power running producing opportunities once he bowled into the second level, and Dauphine's explosiveness posing a threat all day for the Bulls.
Amare Jones, a true freshman running back out of Texas, looked hungry throughout the day in his role as a returner. It feels like it's been a while since we've had a serious threat in our special teams, and Jones has looked liable to break one off nearly every time he touched the ball yesterday (even getting visibly frustrated with a teammate, who called fair catch when Amare wanted the rock). He would cap his day with a late touchdown to extend the Wave's lead even further, making it four Tulane players with a rushing TD.
While the Bulls struck first with a field goal (on a 12 play drive that stalled in the red zone), this run from quarterback Justin McMillan, making his second college start, broke things open.
The Wave would go up 7-3 and never turn back.
Calling a spade a spade here, let's remember that the Tulane Defense was supposed to be bad this year. Not average. Not mediocre. Bad.
Yet once again, we're in November, and Jack Curtis's unit has been a foundation for this team while the offensive has worked to find its groove (despite the big plays, the Wave was just 4 for 14 on third downs yesterday).
As our friend Collin Sherwin (formerly of the Daily Stampede) pointed out on our FTWCast this week, the interior run game is a critical element of this offense, and the Wave's ability to shut down the run put tremendous pressure on USF throughout the day.
In fact, the Bulls entered the game as the #17 rushing offense in the country, averaging 228 yards per game. Instead, they would finish with a meager 110 total team rushing yards, much of which came on a breakout run by quarterback Blake Barnett in the first half.
Star running back Jordan Cronkite, echoing Memphis's Darrell Henderson against the Wave, was a non-factor, carrying the ball just six times once the Bulls were down for a total of 13 yards (he's had 120+ five times this season).
All of that is even more impressive when you consider that Cam Sample, a key player in this defense, suffered a gruesome looking knee injury due to a suspect cut block (we're still waiting to hear what his status is, but he did not return).
Above all, what stands out to me is the impact that the youth movement in this Defense has continued to make. They are flat out getting better on a week-to-week basis, and it showed yesterday, including this forced fumble by sophomore Tirise Barge as USF was putting together one of its few successful drives.
WHAT JUST HAPPENED??? pic.twitter.com/xqsvo5e74v— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) November 3, 2018
Sophomore Jaylon Monroe's lockdown defense in the second half comes to mind as another force late in the game to keep the former 5-star QB at bay.
And of course, sometimes it's just your day, as highlighted by Zachery Harris with this glorious one-handed INT:
Man, I usually don't roll with the media conspiracy card. I get that LSU and SEC Football move the needle in this state. It's probably crazy in this ad-based journalism world to expect anything remotely like equal coverage.
With that being said, I noticed how absurdly quiet it was during the game (shout out to Guerry Smith at The Advocate of course though). Mind you, this wasn't just Tulsa or something... Tulane was beating down a team near the AP Poll Top 25 and inserting itself in the AAC West race.
Meanwhile, what a bummer that the local folks chose not let ANYONE know that the Wave was even playing (Exhibit A: we're like 14 hours out at at the time of this writing, and NOLA News' Twitter hasn't mentioned once that the game even happened).
Then, with my saltiness near an all-time high (and encouraged by me being overseas and bascially being a vegetarian for the past three weeks... it's really not good...), I noticed this impressive spread on NOLA.com today providing a a steady stream of diverse sports stories from the greater New Orleans region:
Like come on. They lost 29-0. They were a 14 point underdog that didn't come close to covering the spread, with their "best fans in football" in the house and whatnot. They gave up 600 yards of offense to a much better team and did nothing of their own. You really need 7 dang stories to explain to folks that they were a wet fart, full of sound and fury, amounting to nothing?
It's one thing when people say no one cares about Tulane because we're bad. It's another thing when you can't allocate a single story to an FBS team with many New Orleans and Louisiana HS players on it breaking through in a big way. End of rant.
Tulane advances to Homecoming with a 4-5 record that importantly includes a 3-2 AAC mark. That's the best start for the Wave in league history, as notably our history has mostly been a dumpster rolling off Mike Areso's driveway since joining the conference.
mwahahahaha pic.twitter.com/cJsBY2Z9ji— Fear the Wave (@FearTheWaveBlog) November 3, 2018
There are now three teams that can win the AAC West.
If Houston wins out, they are the West champion. Full stop. Remaining games: Temple, Tulane, @ Memphis.
If Tulane wins out, they are the West champion, if SMU loses at least one of its final three games due to the Mustangs controlling the tiebreaker. Yeah, turns out that game could end up mattering a whole lot. Remaining: ECU, @ Houston, Navy for the Trident Trophy.
If SMU wins out and Houston loses one or more, they will be the West champion, as the Mustangs now control the tiebreaker with the Wave and the Coogs.
Of course, none of that matters for Tulane if they can't get the Homecoming monkey off their backs. I know we're out of Halloween season, but let's get spooky for a minute.
Tulane has not won a Homecoming since the last Bowl Wave year in 2013 (beating North Texas). Since then, it's been downright impressive how crappy this shindig has been for us.
2014: Memphis rolls Tulane 38-7. No idea why we thought that was a good idea for HC.
2015: UConn wins 7-3 in a cold, dark nightmare of a game where there were no offensive touchdowns
2016: SMU comes back in the 4th quarter to win 35-31.
2017: Tulane misses a chip shot field goal to fall 17-16 to a struggling Cincinnati
ECU is bad. Tulane should win. But dang, priority #1 is getting this bad juju out of our systems. If they can exorcise those pirate demons next week at Yulman, we'll be in business for a very big opportunity @ Houston.
Finally, in closing, I should note that yesterday was not only the biggest road win for Tulane in their AAC history... it was the second largest margin of victory ever for us in the league:
That's the second biggest win in Tulane history in AAC play, and the largest margin of victory on the road.— Fear the Wave (@FearTheWaveBlog) November 3, 2018
1. Tulsa - 34 (2017)
2. @ USF - 26 (2018)
3. UConn - 25 (2016)
And here's a good note from Guerry:
Amare Jones adds exclamation point for #Tulane, which leads USF 41-15. Not even the 1998 perfect team won a conference road game by this many points.— Guerry Smith (@Guersmith) November 3, 2018
All of that is to say... Tulane got its signature win in style. On to Homecoming. Stay Angry, and Beat ECU.
And of course, here's the ceremonial Fritz Crowd Surf:
YOU, a simpleton: boy every team Ohio State has played has looked awful this year, ruining their SOS— The Other Matt Brown (@MattSBN) November 3, 2018
ME, a gentleman of science: yeah but: pic.twitter.com/dDb3kSUMq4
Don't look at what Tulane is doing to USF, ever— BUM CHILLUPS (@edsbs) November 3, 2018
OCTOBER 11, 2018
Going into the 2018/19 season, the Tulane Green Wave Men’s basketball team will be without Cameron Reynolds and Melvin Frazier, whom averaged 31 points per game combined last season for the Wave.
This undoubtedly left many questions for Tulane hoops fans heading into the 2018/19 season as there has been great uncertainty as to how the team will look. At Tulane basketball media day, Coach Mike Dunleavy, was able to answer those questions and more. Here’s some key takeaways from Media Day:
Tulane will try to replace Reynolds and Frazier’s impact “by committee”
In his opening statement at Tulane Media Day, Coach Dunleavy said “obviously we’ve got a lot of filling in to do… People ask the question, how are you going to do that? And, it’s really going to be by committee”.
Dunleavy then went on to note that in his past couple years at Tulane, we have seen players increase their scoring greatly from year to year (Cam Reynolds between 2016 and 2017 and Melvin Frazier between 2017 and 2018) and that he expects us to see something similar this year.
These huge increases in scoring for Reynolds and Frazier led to them each respectively winning AAC Most Improved Player of the Year.
I was able to speak with sophomore Caleb Daniels, who agreed with me that he thinks the AAC Most Improved Player of the Year should rightfully go to another Tulane player this year; however, he’s not so concerned about it being himself: “my main concern, honestly, is just to have a winning season and just to make everyone better”.
Dunleavy noted that this year’s team is likely the deepest team the Green Wave have had in his tenure at Tulane and that we will likely see the absence of Frazier and Reynolds in scoring filled in “across the board”. Caleb Daniels reiterated Dunleavy’s sentiment, “we have more depth this year. The points will be distributed more evenly this year, as opposed to us depending on Cam and Melvin last year”.
It is safe to say we can expect this years team to be not as star-driven and more so a deep team in which each player is able to play a key role.
Dunleavy was extremely optimistic about how all of the new players (including redshirt freshmen Buay Koka and Shakwon Barrett) the Green Wave will have this year. Early on in his press conference Dunleavy noted that Shakwon Barrett was likely Tulane’s most creative playmaker.
What was particularly interesting, however, was how highly Coach Dunleavy seems to think of redshirt freshman, Buy Koka. Dunleavy stated that Koka ran a 5:38 mile last year and “runs the floor like a deer”. Dunleavy later went on to say the following about Koka, “7 feet, 7’7 wingspan, you’re going to love his effort... From the standpoint of shot blocking, offensive rebounding, everything he does running the floor, you’re going to see something great there.”
Dunleavy also seems to be pleased with how the true freshmen look, as he said “I have no qualms about those guys being able to play minutes, or even big minutes in a game.” He further stated that their particular strength resides in their shot making ability, as they are all able to excellently spread the floor.
Expect these five players to be the X-factor for the Green Wave this season. Pondering what the potential for this season is, Dunleavy said “honestly will be dependent on how these new guys blend in and assimilate” and that he is “excited for the direction of the program”.
The bulk of the media day was spent talking about the five newcomers, however, there were a few things said about returners.
First, Dunleavy raved about the physical condition of Samir Sehic, saying that Sehic is likely the most agile big man on Tulane’s team this year. Dunleavy also further stated that he expects Sehic to make big strides defensively this year.
Dunleavy expects to see more consistency in shooting from both Jordan Cornish and Ray Ona Embo. Dunleavy expects that the manner Tulane will help to do this is to get them “the best shots for [them]”.
Overall, expect the Green Wave to be a deep team this year, centered around a high-paced, primarily 3 point shooting offense. There should be plenty of new faces making big contributions this year, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out early on.
SEPTEMBER 07, 2018
Folks, we're 24 hours from another showdown at Yulman Stadium. Here is the list of recruits that Tulane Football expects to be on hand.
Tulane commit since early August.
Speedy receiver and Tulane commit.
Tulane commit since May
Offers from FAU, Toledo, and Tulane, among others.
Offers from FAU, FIU, and Ga Southern.
High 3-star DB with P5 interest from Utah and Arkansas, among others.
Blue chip recruit with offers from Alabama, TAMU, LSU, and more.
Uncommitted 3-star WR but has offers from Kentucky, Arkansas, and Lousiana Tech, in addition to Tulane.
Another 3-star WR with an offer list that includes Kentucky, Kansas, and Arkansas State.
3-star LB, offers from Arkansas, CMU, and others.
Want to get prepped for the game? Make sure to check out this week's Fear the Wavecast. In this podcast, we interview Nicholls State beat writer Brent St. Germain abou the Colonels.