Five Keys to Beating Tulane – From the Bird’s Nest
Well, here we are at the third consecutive R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. The festivities have begun, the teams are practicing and the fans are about to descend on the Crescent City.
But Saturday night there's going to be a football game. Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns taking on their instate opponent, the Tulane Green Wave. And, as we all know, these parties are a lot more fun when you win. Tulane is a slight favorite in the game.
If the fans in red are going to party til the sun comes up, there are some things that need to happen.
1. REVERSE THE TREND - Tulane has made a living getting takeaways. They are +12 on the season and that's 9th in the country. The Cajuns, on the other hand, are minus-seven in their last two games. The Cajuns don't necessarily have to win the turnover battle, but they had better not lose it. If they're in the minus column, fans could be drowning their sorrows instead of celebrating.
2. MAKE YOUR JIMMY BETTER THAN THEIR JOE -Color analyst Gerald Broussard talks a lot about Jimmy and Joe plays. That's when your player goes up against their player and your player succeeds because he's just better. The Jimmy and Joe battle will be when the Cajuns have the football. Louisiana is 26th in the country in rushing offense. Tulane is 16th in rushing defense. Jimmy Huval, Jimmy Quave, Jimmy Quave, Jimmy Johnson and Jimmy Anderson have to win that battle with the Joe's on Tulane's defense. If the Cajuns can't run it, they can't win.
3. SEIZE THE HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE - The Mercedes-Benz Superdome is the home field for Tulane, where they are 5-1 this year. The Cajuns will have more fans than Tulane and will wear the home unis, dress in the home locker room and stand on the home sideline. Tulane may play more games there, but the Cajuns have some big advantages. They need to make this the Green Wave home in name only.
4. FLIP THE FIELD - Tulane is a good defensive football team. While the Cajuns have had success with long drives this year, it's not going to be easy for them to do against the Greenies, especially with a backup quarterback. That makes field position important. Daniel Cadona's punts, Hunter Stover's kickoffs and Daryl Surgent's returns will be an important part of this football game.
5. PUT EM IN THIRD AND LONG - Tulane is about 36% on third down this year. And, that's in a league that isn't known for being a bunch of defensive juggernauts. The Cajuns need to keep Tulane out of third and short, where a good running game can get some things done. Tulane quarterbacks have had decent seasons, but neither of their quarterbacks is an All-American. Put em in passing situations.