South Alabama (0-1) at Tulane (1-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 7, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mercedes-Benz Superdome (72,000) -- New Orleans, Louisiana. Television: CST. Home Record: USA 0-1, Tulane 1-0. Away Record: USA 0-0, Tulane 0-0. Neutral Record: USA 0-0, Tulane 0-0. Conference Record: USA 0-0, Tulane 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Tulane Green Wave hope to open up their season with back-to- back wins for the first time since 2002 as they host the South Alabama Jaguars at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
South Alabama will be looking to climb back to the .500 mark after falling, 22-21, to Southern Utah of the FCS on a last-second field goal. The Jaguars are in their second season as a member of the FBS and are eligible for postseason play this year. Coach Joey Jones went 23-4 in his first three seasons at South Alabama, but his team finished 2-10 in its transitional year.
Tulane had a much smoother time in its opening game as it coasted to a 34-7 victory over Jackson State. Coach Curtis Johnson's squad thrived as it forced six turnovers and rushed for 158 yards, which is higher than any single-game total in 2012. Johnson is in his second season at the helm of the program. The Green Wave finished 2-10 overall, including a 2-6 mark in C-USA play in his rookie year as a head coach.
This will be the first meeting in history between these schools. Tulane is seeking consecutive wins over non-conference opponents at home for the first time since 2004.
South Alabama employed a two-quarterback system in their opener versus SUU, and while Ross Metheny was effective (12-of-17, 112 yards, two TDs), Brandon Bridge struggled (6-of-11, 36 yards, interception). Bridge did manage to help with his legs however, ripping off a 40-yard touchdown run. Matheny began the 2012 campaign as the second-string signal caller but took over in mid-October.
Shavarez Smith and Jereme Jones both caught five passes. Danny Woodson made three receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown.
The Jags posted 335 yards of offense overall last week, averaging nearly 5.5 yards per snap. Jay Jones should be heavily in the mix again after racking up 92 yards on only nine carries.
South Alabama's defense held the Thunderbirds to just 317 yards of total offense, but it couldn't come up with the big play needed to stop the opposition's game-winning drive. Enrique Williams was all over the field as he recorded 12 total tackles, one sack and forced a fumble. Maleki Harris made 2.5 tackles for loss and took down the quarterback once.
The Jags have their work cut out for them against Tulane's suddenly balanced attack. The Green Wave surpassed the century mark on the ground just once last season. Senior running back Orleans Darkwa was hindered by injuries for much of 2012. He began 2013 on a strong note as he rushed for 50 yards and a pair of touchdowns last week. It was the 10th multiple-touchdown game of his career.
Junior quarterback Nick Montana went 6-of-14 passing for 144 yards and two touchdowns in his Tulane debut. The son of NFL Hall of Fame passer Joe Montana, Nick began his career at Washington but transferred to Mt. San Antonio Junior College after being beat out by Keith Price for the coveted position atop the depth chart. Montana led his junior college unit to an 11-1 record and completed 63.2 percent of his pass attempts last year.
2012 C-USA First Team wide receiver Ryan Grant made three receptions for 82 yards in week one to extend his streak of games with a catch to 21. For his career, Grant has now caught 122 passes for 1,812 yards (14.9 avg) and 12 touchdowns.
The Green Wave have one of the top place kickers in the nation in Cairo Santos, who was perfect against JSU with two made field goals and four successful PATs. The preseason All-American has converted each of his last 23 field goals and 30 PATs dating back to last season.
Tulane's defense was swarming in the opener. Senior Jordan Sullen, who sat out last season, showed no rust as he recorded the first interception of his career. Also logging their first career picks were Kyle Davis and Jarrod Franklin. Sophomore Lorenzo Doss pulled down Tulane's first interception of the season to increase his career total to six.
The Green Wave could run into trouble down the road if they can't find a wideout capable of taking focus away from Grant. Tulane's defense was one of the worst in the nation in 2012, but it has already showed definite improvement. The Jags can not afford to come out flat again against a much tougher opponent this week.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tulane 27, South Alabama 17
09/04 10:38:51 ET