September 1, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights running back Jawan Jamison (23) scores a touchdown as Tulane Green Wave safety Shakiel Smith (1) pursues at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook – US PRESSWIRE
Five days ago, Ole Miss lost the most highly anticipated college football game in Oxford in almost a decade. Not only did they lose, they lost by five touchdowns. The final score is something that is sickening, even to the toughest Rebel stomach. If you were wondering what the best medicine is for a sickness like this, it is this weekend’s matchup against Tulane.
Excluding the three interceptions, the Ole Miss offense had a good showing against the #26 defense in the country. Their opposing nine this week is not as daunting by the numbers.
Tulane (0-2) is 103rd in turnovers gained, 104th in tackles for loss, 107th in total defense, and 119th in sacks. The Green Wave’s defense gave up 24 points to Rutgers in the opener and 45 points to Tulsa in week two. Tulane had the week off last week, which was good news for a team who is trying to cope with the critical injury of safety Devon Walker. If you would like to know more about Devon Walker’s status, or a way to help, there are links at the bottom of the page.
It is no secret that the Green Wave have had trouble putting pressure on the quarterback. That is music to the ears of Bo Wallace who was running for his life against Texas. When Wallace has time in the pocket to throw, he has all of the tools necessary to put up a big game.
The Tulane secondary is allowing 8.56 Yards/Attempt, but boasts a reasonable 53.85 completion percentage. That means that when they do allow a completion, it is usually a big one. Cornerback Ryan Travis has the team’s lone interception this year and is the top corner on the team. Donte Moncrief will need to beat him deep on fly and post patterns, which should be no problem for one of the SEC’s premiere receivers.
Expect Darion Monore, the corner opposite of Travis, to be picked on regularly by Hugh Freeze and Dan Werner. Monroe is a true freshman and has been anything but reliable so far this season. This will be the best chance that Ja-Mes Logan and Vincent Sanders will have to get their seasons going.
Wallace should have plenty of time to read through his progressions, and I doubt he will need that much time. If he can shake off last week’s rocky play, he can have a field day in the Crescent City.
Ever since the return of Jeff Scott, the rushing attack was been a machine. He is averaging 103 YPG and has a 10.3 YPC average. Randall Mackey has improved each week and is getting a feel for the position. Mackey’s lateral movement is off the charts and if he can add a vertical game, he can be a real threat for Freeze’s offense. The emergence of freshman Jaylen Walton has been huge for the Rebels. Walton has returned, ran, and caught a touchdown. The explosiveness from the shifty back has been a boost of energy for the team.
The offensive line had a rough game last week, so it will be interesting to see whether or not they return to form this week. Given the quality of the opponent as well as the tenacity of Freeze to keep his team focused, that should not be a problem. Tulane brings little pressure at the line and seems to telegraph their blitzes with blatant disregard to potential success.
Besides Travis, the other playmaker on the roster is middle linebacker Zach Davis. The junior is the leader of the unit and is first on the team with 15 tackles. He is the driving force for Tulane to gain momentum on the defensive side of the ball. If the Green Wave is to have any chance of staying with the Rebel offense, Davis will have to make his name known.