In their season opener in front of 26,000+ Tulane failed to capitalize on their strong defensive play and could not find the end zone until it was too late. Strong quarterbacking from Ryan Griffin was ultimately overshadowed by a costly interception deep inside their own territory early in the 4th quarter. On a quick slant Rutgers CB Brandon Jones jumped the route and returned it 14 yards for a touchdown to put Rutgers up 11 points, 17 to 6. After a Rutgers 43 yard touchdown pass the game was out of reach at 24 to 6 with 7:30 remaining in the 4th quarter. A late passing touchdown from Ryan Griffin to Rob Kelley closed the gap, making the final score 24 to 12.
Too Many Penalties: Tulane committed 11 penalties that amounted in 120 yards. Certainly the coaching staff is not thrilled with this statistic and it made it difficult for Tulane to put together a rhythm offensively, especially in the first half. These mistakes are preventable and need to be cleaned up if they do not want to beat themselves.
Solid Defensively: The Green Wave gave up 309 yards, allowing 158 through the air and 151 on the ground. One of the keys for the team was stopping the run and they did a pretty good job besides allowing a 46 yard run in the 2nd quarter. The defense put the team in a position to win the game after making a key stop when the score was 10 - 6. Ryan Griffin's late interception completely negated the momentum created by the defense.
The defensive line also did a good job. Sophomore Kenny Welcome had 4 tackles last night. Freshman DB Jordan Batitste also played well in his first appearance. LB Zach Davis perform solidly, amassing 6.5 tackles filling in for the suspended Trent Mackey. Senior CB Ryan Travis made a nice interception to prevent Rutgers from converting a fourth down in the first half.
Ryan Griffin, Great Minus 3 Throws: Griffin was 34 of 48 for 254 yards with 1 touchdown and the 1 backbreaking interception. He engineered a fantastic 69 yard drive that ate up 8:13 off the clock and set up the team down the field for a field goal, putting the Wave down 4 points 10 to 6 in the 3rd quarter. He made a number of good throws on 3rd downs to keep the chains moving (8 of 16 efficiency) and provided the defense some rest. His one mistake unfortunately was a big one and it completely flipped the tone of the game. He had two throws earlier in the game that frankly should have been picked off. Rutgers has a seasoned defense so despite his miscues it is still encouraging to to see him throw for a high completion percentage. The one thing missing today was connecting on a deep ball.
No Run Game: With a paltry 8 yards on 16 carries the offense was not able to create anything via the ground game. This put all the pressure on Ryan Griffin's arm and the team became the definition of one dimensional. Even if Orleans Darkwa was able to play the offensive line created little push and few holes. This eliminated the play action game and forced the offense to supplant running with a short passing game. Strozier, Kelley, and Butler combined for 18 receptions for 94 yards. This is obviously an area for improvement.
Ryan Grant: He looked the part of a #1 receiver catching 6 balls for 110 yards. He was instrumental on third downs and figures to be Wave's biggest playmakers.
Ryan Griffin: Even with his crucial mistake he put the team in a position to win.
Defensive Backfield: Despite their youth they managed to keep Rutgers' pass game in check holding Gary Nova to just 11 completions on 20 attempts, with 1 interception from Ryan Travis.
Quick Hit Impressions: Rutgers Game
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