Though they've thrived off of their Offensive prowess this season, Rice must contend with a stingy Tulane Defense this weekend. Add to that a ball control Offense that burns up the game clock while allowing the Tulane Defense to rest on the sideline - and you have a very difficult game for the Rice Owls.
Here's a closer look at the Tulane starting Defense along with player notes and stats...
Pos ## Defense
LE 92 Reggie Scott, 6-4 260
LT 97 Julian Shives-Sams, 6-3 282
RT 96 Tony Bryant, 6-3 263
RE 90 Adam Kwentua, 6-3 250
WLB 31 Devin Holland, 6-0 205
MLB 34 Evan Lee, 6-1 236
NB 23 Dominique Dade, 5-9 183
LCB 12 Josh Lumar, 5-10 178
RCB 21 Charles Harris, 6-3 176
SS 38 Corey Sonnier, 5-10 189
FS 24 Chinonso Echebelem, 6-1 200
Leading Tackler - Strong Safety Corey Sonnier leads the way with 45 tackles. The Friendswood native has lettered twice for Tulane although this is his first year as a full time starter.
Strength of Unit - The Green Wave front four of Reggie Scott, Julian Shives-Sams, Tony Bryant and Adam Kwentua are the strength of the Tulane Defense. Bryant may possibly miss this game with an injury. They also like to use former Defensive End Logan Kelley, a Cy-Creek native, as a pass rushing Linebacker. He's effective apparently, having accumulated 4 sacks on the season to lead the Green Wave in that statistic.
Players to Watch - Defensive End Adam Kwentua is very effective against the run and is always around the ball. The Defense also gets good play from WLB Devin Holland and their Free Safety - Chinonso Ecehbelum.
Rising Star? - Holland is just a sophomore, and is excelling at WLB after playing Safety in 10 games last year as a true freshman. He was named to the C-USA All Freshman Team.
Inside the Numbers - Tulane is holding opponents to a 29% 3rd down conversion rate. Though their passing yards allowed average looks impressive (120 per game) it's skewed somewhat by the fact that Army attempted only 5 passes against the Green Wave, completing 4 of those 5, but for only 43 yards.
Tulane Defensive Keys to the Game - The Green Wave would like to snuff any designs Rice may have on running the football, allowing them to focus solely on putting pressure on Chase Clement. Really their Offense could be considered their best Defense - they want to chew up the clock and keep the ball away from Rice's high powered Spread Attack. They do not want to get into a high scoring contest with Rice.
Rice will be healthy on Offense when they head to New Orleans. Rice RB Justin Hill has had time to re-adapt to being an Offensive player again. As each week passes, the Rice Offensive Line blocks a little better. It would interesting if Rice could get on track with a balanced attack this week. After a scare last weekend, LT Scott Mitchell will play this weekend.
Rice Offensive Keys to the Game
No secret what both sides want to do in this game - for Rice its score quickly and often; for Tulane its march up and down the field, scoring each time and winning the time of possession statistic. Tulane has gotten worn down a little in recent games in the 4th quarter, and has been outscored significantly in the final frame of their games this year. Conversely, Rice has scored points by the bunches in the fourth. If Rice can take a lead into the fourth and then turn on the Offense; they could win for the first time in New Orleans since 1997.