FACTS & STATS: Site: Yulman Stadium (30,000) — New Orleans, Louisiana.
Television: ESPNews. Home Record: UConn 1-3, Tulane 1-1. Away Record: UConn
0-1, Tulane 0-3. Neutral Record: UConn 0-0, Tulane 0-0. Conference Record:
UConn 0-2, Tulane 0-1. Series Record: First-ever meeting
GAME NOTES: A pair of American Athletic Conference squads stuck in reverse
will try to turn things around when the Connecticut Huskies visit the Tulane
Green Wave at Yulman Stadium on Saturday night.
Bob Diaco’s first season as UConn’s head coach has been a miserable one. The
Huskies are sporting a record of just 1-4, with the lone win being a 19-16
escape act against FCS foe Stony Brook. The Huskies were idle last weekend,
giving them extra time to digest a 36-10 beating from Temple in their second
Prospects aren’t much brighter on the other side of the field in this matchup.
Tulane is also 1-4 overall, with its only win coming against an FCS opponent
as well. The Green Wave will be just as rested as the Huskies as they followed
up a 31-6 loss at Rutgers two weeks ago with a bye.
Neither squad can hope to gain an advantage because of familiarity, as this is
the first-ever matchup between the two.
Watching Connecticut attempt to put an offensive game plan together has been
painful viewing. The Huskies are next-to-last in the AAC in scoring (14.8 ppg)
and total offense (264 ypg), leading only winless SMU.
Chandler Whitmer has been the primary option at quarterback since Casey
Cochran lost the starting job. Whitmer certainly hasn’t been overwhelmingly
productive, completing just 51.4 percent of his pass attempts for 715 yards
and five touchdowns, compared to three interceptions. Whitmer finished with
163 yards, a touchdown and an interception on 12-of-22 passing against Temple.
Geremy Davis is hands down the most talented and important receiver for the
unit. He leads the Huskies in receptions (25), receiving yards (368) and
touchdown receptions (three). Deshon Foxx is second in receptions (11) and
Running the ball has been a constant struggle as well, with the Huskies
averaging only 2.2 yards per carry. Max DeLorenzo (195 yards) is a bruising
runner but he is averaging only 3.4 yards per attempt and 39 yards per game.
Arkeel Newsome (98 yards) is the second option, but he hasn’t been any better.
The plodding pace of its offense and the talent on the roster has helped UConn
put forth some strong defensive numbers. The Huskies are only allowing 28.4
points per game, while ranking third in the AAC in total defense (329.6 ypg).
Marquise Vann (52 tackles. 4.0 TFL) and Stewart Graham (36 tackles, 4.0 TFL)
have eight of the teams 32 tackles for loss, but only seven of those stops
have come via sacks.
The UConn defense could have an easier time against Tulane, which is already a
weak offensive team at full strength but may be without starting quarterback
Tanner Lee. Lee suffered a shoulder injury against Rutgers and is listed as
questionable this week. His replacement will be either Devin Powell or Nick
Montana. Powell threw for 53 yards on 6-of-15 passing against Rutgers, while
Montana connected on all five of his throws for 18 yards in his only action of
A change of personnel may help Tulane, which is posting only 21.2 points and
379.6 yards of total offense per game.
The Green Wave has gotten solid play out of its backfield with Sherman Badie
and Lazedrick Thompson handling the bulk of the carries. Badie leads the team
with 457 yards and three scores on 60 totes, while Thompson has picked up 225
yards and two touchdowns on 53 attempts. Badie recorded his second 100-yard
game of the season against Rutgers, finishing with 108 yards on 12 carries.
Justyn Shackleford (20 receptions, 295 yards, two TDs) and Xavier Rush (11
receptions, 273 yards, three TDs) are the best receiving threats for the Green
Wave, but the duo combined for only 30 yards on two catches against Scarlet
Obviously Tulane’s own offensive production has not been enough to keep up
with the competition this season. The Green Wave are allowing 34.8 points and
424.2 yards each week, ranking eighth in the AAC in both categories.
Nico Marley (40 tackles, 6.0 TFL) continues to lead the team in total tackles
and tackles for loss, while Sam Scofield (38 tackles, two INTs) is the top
playmaker in the secondary.
While there is still plenty of time left in the season, it appears that
neither of these teams is likely to be competing for the AAC title. With Lee
sidelined the Green Wave will be even worse going forward, but even with a
backup they can keep pace with the Huskies.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tulane 17, Connecticut 13