November 13, 2019

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Tulane vs Missouri St. Preview (September 14th, 7pm CT)

The Tulane Green Wave are back at home this weekend following their 18 point, road loss to the 10th ranked Auburn Tigers, 24-6. 

Tulane (1-1) will take on FCS opponent Missouri State (0-1) at Yulman Stadium on September 14th, 7pm CT.

Despite the loss, there are plenty of positive takeaways to analyze for the Wave following Saturday’s game at Jordan-Hare. 

First off, Tulane’s run defense was dominant in the first half against Auburn, allowing just 13 yards on 10 carries by Auburn running backs. In the second half, Auburn running back JaTarvious Whitlow gained nearly 100 yards, however, Tulane defenders forced Whitlow to fumble 3 times, and managed to recover 2 of the 3. Tulane defensive back Chris Joyce recovered the first fumble of the game, with nose tackle Jeffery Johnson scooping Whitlow’s second fumble for a turnover. Through two games, the Green Wave possess a +2 turnover margin on the year. For Tulane to improve upon last year, they must continue to stay ahead on turnover margins and allow their offense to continue capitalizing off takeaways. 

A second positive was Tulane’s ability to score on their first possession from scrimmage. Tulane utilized both the run and pass on a 48 yard scoring drive. QB Justin McMillan completed a 19 yard reception to wideout Amare Jones, then followed up with an 11 yard carry on the following play, putting the Green Wave into Tiger territory. Wave RB Darius Bradwell carried twice on the opening drive, amounting 8 yards on the ground. McMillan accounted for another 11 yard carry as well. Unfortunately, Tulane was not able to find the endzone on their opening series, however, kicker Merek Glover hit a 44 yard field goal to give Tulane a 3-0 lead early in the first quarter. 

The Green Wave would score another field goal with under a minute to go in the first half, however, the defense surrendered two touchdowns to Auburn, going into halftime down 6-14. 

Overall,a decent half for Tulane considering the huge talent gap between the Green Wave and Tigers, and being a road game in Jordan-Hare added to an otherwise impressive half of play. 

Unfortunately, Tulane’s offense failed to score again in the second half. The Wave defense allowed Auburn 10 additional points throughout the second half, thus securing a 24-6 victory for the Tigers.

This weekend should fare better for the Green Wave, as the Missouri St. Bears come to town following a 37-23 loss to FCS Northern Arizona. That loss marks 6 straight for the Bears dating back to last season where they finished with a pedestrian 4-7 record. 

The Bears are led by QB Peyton Huslig, who completed 20 of 35 passes for 289 yards and 2 touchdowns to zero interceptions in the season opener against Northern Arizona. Those are decent numbers through the air for the Bears, however, Tulane’s secondary is far deeper and much more talented than the unit for NAU.

Missouri State’s rushing attack was near non-existent in their first game against Northern Arizona. The Bears amassed only 43 yards on the ground, struggling to establish any sort of run game. Tulane’s defensive line should have a huge day against a struggling Bears offensive front, and expect similar results to the Wave’s first game against Florida International, where they held the Panthers to 59 total rushing yards on 26 attempts. On the season, Tulane’s defense allows 3.2 yards per carry and 115.5 yards a game on the ground. Expect those averages to improve after Saturday’s game against Missouri St. Through the air, the Green Wave secondary currently gives up 207.5 passing yards per game, with an average completion percentage of 50%. In total, Tulane is giving up only 323 yards on average per game, which bodes well for the Wave this weekend facing a below average offense in Missouri St.

 

Keys to Victory

Establish Early Rushing Attack

  • Tulane has been great with utilizing a multitude of players in their running game.
  • Look for Darius Bradwell to get the bulk of the carries, complemented by backs Corey Dauphine and Amare Jones.
  • Justin McMillan will most likely get decent yardage on the ground to keep Missouri State’s defense guessing.

Take Pressure off Justin McMillan

  • McMillan took a step back last week against Auburn, completing 10 of 33 for 103 yards with an interception.
  • Use the running game to set McMillan up for high-percentage passes as well as the play-action to get McMillan back in groove.

Continue to Capitalize off Turnovers

  • Flipping the field is essential for any team, and Tulane has done a decent job in that regard with a +2 turnover margin.
  • By neutralizing the Missouri St. run game, force Bears QB Peyton Huslig to attack a Tulane secondary that has a huge talent advantage over the Missouri St. receiving core.

Prediction

Expect Tulane to handily take care of business against a lesser opponent. 

Final Score: Tulane 52, Missouri St. 10