Watching the Coast
By: Aniyah T. Foley
The anticipation for this year’s football season has been boiling up, causing Green Wave fans to spill over into Yulman Stadium. At 8:30 p.m. this Thursday, September 3, 2015, Tulane University kicked off their new season against the Duke University Blue Devils. It was evident by the energy which stretched from the ecstatic tailgaters to the zealous students and into the pumped players that this first game was going to have some serious momentum. During Duke’s first possession of the game, Tulane’s DE, Ade Aruna, forced a fumble from Duke’s WR that was recovered by sophomore DB Jarrod Franklin. Following the Green Wave’s drive, Aruna acquired an injury and Duke University later managed to score a 32-yard field goal with 5:41 left on the clock. Although the first quarter ended with Duke up by 3 because of the field goal, Tulane’s defense showed no mercy to their competitors. Junior, #20 LB Nico Marley, closed up the game’s first quarter with five tackles to add to his stat sheet. Into the second quarter, the Green Wave’s offense was still having difficulty creating a ripple against the Blue Devils, yet, Duke University’s offense had to fight against Tulane’s defense which ultimately gave Duke a 10 point lead after nine plays. As the game intensified, so did the determination of QB Tanner Lee, Tulane fans started seeing more first downs during the 55 yard drive. However after a 10 play push toward the end zone, the drive ended in an incomplete. Despite The Wave’s best efforts, Duke completed another field goal attempt by the end of the second quarter giving them a 13 point lead.
Following an intense first half, Tulane’s K/WR Trevor Simms delivered a touchback for Duke’s possession which would lead to the Devil’s field goal and subsequent 16 point advantage. It is a testament to the power of the defense that the Devils were unable to push into the end zone for a touchdown on that drive. The defensive Green Wave players showed impressive tenacity and stamina throughout the game. Later on in the quarter, DT’s Sean Wilson and Corey Wedwine were unfortunately both injured during the same drive. Despite further injuries and an interception, the Green Wave maintained their positive attitude and drive throughout the third quarter. The fourth quarter was difficult for the Green Wave however, Green Wave fans were soon cheering after Lee threw a TD pass to WR Devon Breaux for 76 yards. Tulane’s Corey Redwine was reinjured later on in the fourth. The night’s final score was Duke 37 – Tulane 7. Although Thursday night’s game was a struggle, during the post-game interview Coach Curtis “CJ” Johnson confidently stated, “Success motivates you. Once they get some success, we’ll be better.” Despite the tough loss, Tulane’s LB Niko Marley finished the night with a total of 15 tackles, 13 of which were unassisted.
My take away from tonight’s game are that this team has a lot of potential and is starting to come together. The defensive players seem to have found their rhythm but the offensive players haven’t quite clicked yet. I am confident that with the support of the fabulous Green Wave coaching staff these players will be much more cohesive next game. All in all it was a difficult but very positive first showing for the Tulane Green Wave.
Going into next week’s game against Georgia Tech, Marley’s defensive capabilities will be a great addition to the Green Wave’s quickly approach battle on the road. Tulane will be playing the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday, September 12. The game will be televised live at 2:30 p.m. CT on ESPN3. Acknowledging that the Green Wave accumulated 271 yards against Duke, this upcoming game will be a good opportunity for Tulane to strengthen their offensive scheme. This weekend’s match will mark the 50th game between the two schools, both teams are definitely prepared to release something new. Last season rekindled the rivalry between the two schools despite their existence in two different conferences. Georgia Tech’s 2014 season in the Atlantic Coast Conference resulted in a 6-2 conference record. Seeing as though the Yellow Jackets 2014 overall record was 11-3, The Green Wave is certainly preparing itself to surge the competition. During Thursday night’s post-game interview, Coach Johnson acknowledged the need for Tulane to be more consistent and also that Georgia Tech will be a tough team to compete against. Coach CJ remarked that, “We just have to go out and play better. We’re much better than last season.” As this season continues to progress, the Green Wave will certainly continue to roll!