2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 1 - SE Louisiana at Tulane
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Sept. 3 at Tulane 47 … SE Louisiana 33
CFN Analysis: The defense will be a work in progress, and considering the problems the secondary had against SE Louisiana, allowing 295 yards, there could be big issues against Tulsa next week. That means the offense will have to be even more explosive and the running game has to get moving. Ryan Griffin threw for 267 yards and three scores, but he didn't get much help from Orleans Darkwa, who was held to 34 yards and a touchdown on ten carries. The D might have struggled, but linebacker Trent Mackey was special with 16 tackles, 13 solo with a sack.
(AP) NEW ORLEANS -- Ryan Griffin passed for three touchdowns, all in the first half, as Tulane defeated Southeastern Louisiana 47-33 Saturday in the opener for both teams.
After leading 31-21 at halftime, the Green Wave broke it open in the third quarter. Matthew Bailey blocked Beau Mothe's punt and it rolled out of the end zone for a Tulane safety.
After receiving the Lions' free kick, Tulane drove 59 yards in six plays for a 40-21 lead. Griffin found Joe Kemp on a 43-yard pass to set up a 2-yard run by Orleans Darkwa.
Griffin, who completed 14 of 24 for 267 yards, connected for scores of 55 yards to Wilson Van Hooser and 2 yards to Trent Mackey in the first quarter, and 27 yards to Ryan Grant in the second.
Robert Kelly, who scored Tulane's final touchdown on an 11-yard fourth-quarter run, returned seven kickoffs for 213 yards, a school record.
SE Louisiana (0-0) at Tulane (0-0) Sept. 3, 3:30
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Here's The Deal ... In a rematch of last year's closer-than-expected season opener, the Lions make the short trip across Lake Pontchartrain to take on the Green Wave in the Superdome. Both teams will try to make up for disappointing 2010 seasons. Tulane enters off a 4-8 campaign that was its eighth consecutive year with a losing record, while Southeastern Louisiana finished a woeful 2-9. Bob Toledo desperately needs a major turnaround if he is to get a sixth year as the head coach at Tulane, and anything less than a bowl berth will probably signal the end of his era. There are more weapons on offense than Tulane has had in years, and combined with a defense that ranked No. 1 in Conference USA last year against the pass, there are signs of hope for 2011, but it'll take a much better start to the year than the 27-21 squeaker over SE Louisiana that kicked off 2010.
Why SE Louisiana Might Win: In a disastrous 2010 football season in Hammond, the Lions were still able to start the season with a near upset of the Green Wave. The returning players will be confident that they can win this game. Tulane was awful in special teams last year, ranking near the bottom in all major statistical categories. If Southeastern can create a few breaks with field position, it may have a chance to hang around for four quarters.
Why Tulane Might Win: This really should be nothing more than a light scrimmage for the Green Wave. The best part of SE Louisiana's team last year was the passing game, and this year they have to break in a new quarterback. Tulane matches up well against the Lions, with a strong defensive backfield to combat the Lions aerial attack. On offense, Tulane should have a breakout season thanks to the returns of QB Ryan Griffin, RB Orleans Darkwa and WR Ryan Grant. It should be able to light up a Lions defense that yielded nearly 400 yards per game in the FCS last year. This will arguably be the most explosive offense the Green Wave has fielded in a decade, and they should use this game as a tune-up to get ready for the tougher part of the schedule.
What To Watch Out For: Orleans Darkwa. The sophomore back had a breakout season in 2010, rushing for almost 1,000 yards in his first year of college. And that was only after becoming the full-time starter halfway through the season. The passing game should zing, but this game and the Green Wave's success this season will hinge on whether Darkwa can continue his productivity from last year and not trudge through the dreaded sophomore slump.
What Will Happen: SE Louisiana may be able to keep the score close for a quarter or two, but once Tulane's offense gets humming this game should quickly get out of reach. Last year, Griffin was still a young quarterback getting his bearings straight, but as he enters his junior season, he should become the unquestionable leader of this team. If Tulane keeps its focus, it should be able to get the subs some meaningful snaps in the second half.
CFN Prediction: Tulane 41 … SE Louisiana 13
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