FACTS & STATS: Site: High Point Solutions Stadium (52,454) — Piscataway, New
Jersey. Television: ESPNews. Home Record: Tulane 1-1, Rutgers 1-1. Away
Record: Tulane 0-2, Rutgers 1-0. Neutral Record: Tulane 0-0, Rutgers 1-0.
Conference Record: Tulane 0-1, Rutgers 0-0. Series Record: Rutgers leads, 4-2.
GAME NOTES: In a rematch two years in the making, the Tulane Green Wave pay a
visit to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at High Point Solutions Stadium on
In the first week of the 2012 season, the Green Wave and Scarlet Knights
clashed in New Orleans. Rutgers was the victor in that contest, posting a
24-12 triumph. The Scarlet Knights have won four of the six all-time meetings
between the two teams.
The first four weeks of this season have led to much more disappointment than
pleasure for Tulane, which is just 1-3. The Green Wave lost by a razor-thin
margin against Tulsa in the season and conference opener (38-31 2OT), then
fell at home to Georgia Tech (38-21). Following a win over FCS foe
Southeastern Louisiana (35-20), they then got routed at Duke (47-13).
There is more optimism resonating from the opposing sideline, with Rutgers
sporting a 3-1 mark entering the weekend. The Scarlet Knights began the season
with a 41-38 win over Washington State in Seattle. Then, after dispatching
Howard (38-25), they fell just short in their first ever league game as a Big
Ten member against Penn State (13-10). Recompense was made last weekend
against Navy (31-24).
In comparison to its league brethren, Tulane is right in the middle when it
comes to offensive success. The Green Wave are averaging 398.5 yards per game,
which ranks fifth in the American Athletic Conference. They also are scoring
an even 25 points per tilt.
Tanner Lee runs the offense, but he has really struggled this season,
especially in the last two weeks. He completed less than 50 percent of his
pass attempts in each of the last two games, and also was guilty of five
interceptions in those contests. In all, Lee has tallied eight touchdowns and
833 yards, but he has completed just 47.4 percent of his throws and has been
intercepted nine times.
The inconsistencies from Lee have come despite the presence of Justyn
Shackleford and Xavier Rush on the outside. Shackleford has accumulated 274
yards and two scores on 19 receptions, leading the team in catches and yards,
while Rush has tallied 264 yards and a team-high three scores on 10 grabs.
However, the duo combined for only 64 yards on five receptions against Duke.
Sherman Badie is the leading rusher for Tulane, tallying 349 yards and two
touchdowns on 48 carries this season. However, he was limited to just 39 yards
on 15 attempts against Duke. Lazedrick Thompson stepped up to be the lead back
in that contest, picking up 124 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. He had
just 70 yards on 26 attempts in the first three games combined.
Tulane’s real issue has been in stopping other teams from scoring. Although
the Green Wave are letting up 414.8 yards per game, which is far from the
worst mark in the AAC, they are getting lit up for 35.8 ppg, which is the
third-worst yield in the league.
Nico Marley (34 tackles, INT) and Sam Scofield (32 tackles, two INTs) have had
to make plenty of plays in the secondary. The duo lead the team in tackles.
Surprisingly enough, Rutgers is being out-gained this season, averaging 405.5
yards while allowing 435 yards per game. However, the Scarlet Knights are
producing five points more per game (30-25).
Gary Nova’s penchant for errant passes has been a continuing trend for Rutgers
in his years under center. This season has been no different, as he has as
many interceptions as touchdown passes (six). He has completed a solid 63.3
percent of his attempts, however, and tallied 906 yards passing. Against Navy
he only had 151 yards, although he connected on 11-of-14 attempts.
Nova often focuses in on one receiver; Leonte Carroo. In four games, Carroo
already has 335 yards and two scores on 18 catches. He is fourth in the Big
Ten in receiving yards and tied for eighth in receptions. Janarion Grant (10
receptions, 90 yards) is the only other player with 10 or more grabs.
Carroo may be getting even more work with running back Paul James out for the
year with an ACL injury he suffered against Navy. Without James, more work
will go Justin Goodwin’s way. Goodwin returned to the lineup against Navy
after missing two games and looked great, picking up 104 yards and a score on
As stated previously, Rutgers is actually giving up more yards than it gains.
A major reason for this lack of success is a weakness on third down. The
Scarlet Knights have allowed teams to convert nearly 50 percent of their
chances in such situations (30-of-61).
Steve Longa (28 tackles) may lead the team in tackles, but Gareef Glashen (27
tackles) is the more polished defender, with 21 of his stops being solo
efforts. He also has one of Rutgers’ three interceptions. David Milewski (6.0
TFL, 3.0 sacks) and Kemoko Turay (4.0 sacks) have helped provide a solid pass
These teams will likely trade possessions fairly often with how prone to
mistakes both quarterbacks are. However, Rutgers has found a way to overcome
Nova’s mistakes, mainly due to its talent at the skill positions. As long as
Nova can minimize his errors and keep feeding the ball to Carroo, the Scarlet
Knights should be just fine.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Rutgers 35, Tulane 24