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Tulane Green Wave

College Football

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Tulane ended 2016 on somewhat of a good note, beating UConn for its first AAC win of the season. But at the end of the year, finishing with four wins, three of them against weak non-conference opponents, didn’t show much. In his second season as head coach, Willie Fritz will hope for more and possibly a bowl game, but that is still a little far off.

The Green Wave have a long way to go offensively after scoring 24.1 points and passing for just 113.3 yards. The hope is that Juco transfer Jonathan Banks shows a little more because getting the same kind of production at quarterback won’t cut it. To improve, the line is the biggest hope with three starters returning to a group that did a solid job in the running game last season. Dontrell Hilliard (759 yards, 9 TDs) returns in the backfield and he’ll see most of the work along with Sherman Badie, as well as Banks. The receiving game also returns its top options, although that’s not saying much with Terren Encalade (500 yards, 6 TDs) and Darnell Mooney (267 yards, 2 TDs) leading the way.

The reason Tulane stayed halfway competitive last season was because the defense was better than expected, allowing 27.7 points per game. With seven starters returning, there is some hope that they can be even better. While the Green Wave lose a couple of their studs on the line, they return enough talent that there shouldn’t be any drop off, especially with cornerback Parry Nickerson and three other starters back in the secondary. Senior end Ade Aruna is expected to have a bigger role, while multiple other seniors provide depth and experience in the front.

Everything depends on new quarterback Banks for Tulane, otherwise it could be a similar result to last season. Unfortunately, the Green Wave have two early road games at Navy and Oklahoma that will likely end in losses. To surpass last year’s four wins, they’ll need to win early home games against Army and Tulsa. The problem is that there aren’t many more favorable spots for AAC wins, which is why it’s expected to be another tough season for Fritz. The Green Wave host Tulsa, USF, Cincy and Houston in home games, meaning they may have to steal a road game at ECU for an AAC win.

Tulane was in a hole by not having a quarterback last season and we’ll see just how big of difference Banks can make in 2017. As a former four-star recruit, there is potential and if that shows up, reaching five wins won’t be impossible, but getting to six and a bowl game seems unlikely either way.


2017 Tulane Green Wave Football Schedule

Sept. 2 vs. Grambling State
Sept. 9 at Navy
Sept. 16 at Oklahoma
Sept. 23 vs. Army

Oct. 7 vs. Tulsa
Oct. 14 at Florida International
Oct. 21 vs. South Florida

Oct. 27 at Memphis
Nov. 4 vs. Cincinnati
Nov. 11 at East Carolina
Nov. 18 vs. Houston
Nov. 25 at SMU

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