The last time Tulane visited Piscataway, they ruined homecoming for all the Scarlet Knight faithful in attendance. In the second play of the game, Rutgers receiver Mohamed Sanu scored on a 91-yard wildcat run that suggested a rout was in order. Instead, The Knights would lose starter Tom Savage in the second quarter, leaving the door open for the legend of Dodd. RU would exact revenge in 2012 in the Louisiana Superdome, so you could say the 2014 version serves as a rubber game for the series since 2010.
Head Coach: Curtis Johnson (2nd year)
Key returning players: DE Tyler Gilbert, DE Royce LaFrance, SS Sam Scofield
2013 Record: 7-6 (5-3 C-USA)
You'll notice that I listed three defensive players as key returners, despite having a senior QB in Nick Montana. That's due to two reasons - Tulane had a great defense in 2013 and Montana was mediocre at best last season (53.4% comp, 1717 yds, 14 TDs, 10 INTs). The Green Wave offense wasn't exactly frightening to offensive coordinators, as they ranked near the bottom of most statistical categories. There's nowhere to go but up, however losing a couple veteran skill position players and some major bodies on the offensive line don't exactly add up to a recipe for success. RB Orleans Darkwa is now gone and his 863 yards on the ground are about equal to the rest of the team combined. WR Ryan Grant was last year's leading receiver with 1039 yards, and if you compare that to Nick Montana's total pass yardage...well, let's just say they'll have to figure out a way to make it up somewhere.
The defense, on the other hand, did most of the heavy lifting. The Green Wave mostly played the field position game and relied on a disciplined defense to put the offense in a position to score as easily as possible. Defensive ends Gilbert and LaFrance combined for 9.5 sacks and 16 TFLs, and SS Sam Scofield had a monster year with 89 tackles, 9.5 TFLs, and two FFs. One possible plus is that Tulane's defense is built to stop the spread, as they play nickel coverage quite often. It's possible they could struggle against the size of Rutgers' offensive line, as well as a bruising back like Paul James.
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While the matchup might favor Rutgers, Tulane catches the Scarlet Knights at an opportunistic time. RU will potentially be battered and bruised from the cut-block friendly Midshipmen the previous week, while the Blackout game against Michigan looms after the Green Wave. The CHOP mentality will truly be tested against the foe from the bayou, and you can be sure Rutgers will do anything to prevent another upset at home.