Football is back and all is well in the good ole U.S.A. again. Well, OK, let’s just keep it at football is back, baby! Pigskin nation was alive and well in an opening weekend that didn’t see many upsets but offered its fans everything it needed to feed their addiction. New Orleans celebrated with a double dip weekend as Tulane and LSU played in the Crescent City.
Party in Uptown
Year Two of the Willie Fritz era is being met with higher expectations and a lot of hope from the Green Wave faithful. After a year where Tulane had no passing game whatsoever, the Green Wave rolled out new quarterback Jonathan Banks, who quickly showed the poise and big time playability lacking last year. Banks immediately teamed up with Tulane’s best wide receiver Teddy Encalade on a 30-yard touchdown pass and later pitched to Encalade out of the triple option sending Encalade off to the races for a 58-yard touchdown gallop.
The Green Wave defense passed their first test without Nico Marley and Tanzel Smart by making short work of any Grambling hopes of an upset behind the arm of quarterback Devante Kinkade. Kinkade, formerly of Ole Miss, was harassed on nearly every pass attempt with Ade Aruna spending much of the night in the Tigers backfield.
It all went Tulane’s way in a 43-14 romp. Sure, kicking is still an issue as redshirt freshman Coby Keenan sent two extra points wide right and it was a game they were supposed to win, but when you’re on the outside looking in every win is a big win.
Tulane could have benefited from focusing on their passing game in the second half to see what they really have going forward because their schedule gets decidedly harder with road games at Navy and Oklahoma the next two weeks.
LSU is Super
I just realized that you can’t spell bayou without…BYU. I also realized that by moving the game to the Superdome, and out of the wake of Hurricane Harvey, ESPN potentially released thousands of Mormons into the French Quarter on Southern Decadence weekend. Life is pretty crazy that way.
As hilarious as that sounds, BYU’s offense was no laughing matter. They’re probably still feeling some bumps and bruises from their rare taste of SEC football. To put it simply, they never had a chance.
Coach Orgeron, in his first full season as head coach, couldn’t have been happier with his defense’s performance after their 27-0 shutout. The Tigers defense manhandled BYU. The Cougars were held to -5 yards rushing and their offense would never cross midfield. That’s just an old-fashioned beat down.
Shootout in Lafayette
The wildest game in Louisiana had to be the University of Louisiana’s insane 51-48 victory over Southeastern Louisiana. The Ragin’ Cajuns entered the game as two touchdown favorites but no one bothered to tell the SLU Lions.
It was a game that featured not one but two kickoff returns for touchdowns and six touchdowns all in the first quarter. They didn’t stop there though. In what felt like a heavyweight championship each team traded blows — touchdown for touchdown — all day long. The scores were 21-21 at the end of the first quarter and 35-35 at halftime. Unbelievably only one touchdown was scored in the third quarter before three more touchdowns rained down in the fourth. Southeastern scored with 42 seconds left to make the game 49-48 and instead of kicking an extra point to tie the game the Lions went for the two-point conversion and the upset. The Lions quarterback Lorenzo Nunez fumbled the ball scrambling out of the pocket and the Ragin’ Cajuns Joe Dillon picked the ball up and ran the length of the field for a defensive two-point conversion because of course that would happen in a game like this. Football rules!
While it wasn’t this weekend, Nicholls State upset McNeese State 37-35 in a sloppy and fun Thursday night game last week. It was only a slight upset but one to note as Nicholls State is a team quickly rising up the ranks of FCS programs. Don’t sleep on the Colonels. The boys from Thibodaux play non-conference games the next two weeks (including Texas A&M on Sept. 9) before taking on Southland favorite Sam Houston State. If Nicholls State can pull off the upset they would be in pole position to win the Southland. Yes, it’s early to talk championships but isn’t having big dreams what makes football special?
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: Bell’s Brewery’s “Oberon” American Wheat Ale
Playlist Recommendation: Sylvan Esso – “Radio”
Around the Way
It’s not just the boys lacing them up on the football field as Tulane Volleyball has kicked off its season in high gear. The Green Wave jumped out to an impressive 5-2 record to start the season. Before dropping their last game to Stephen F. Austin the women posted three consecutive shutouts with 3-0 victories over South Alabama, Grambling and Mississippi State.
Head out to Devlin Fieldhouse this weekend as the women host Oklahoma, Southern Miss and Nicholls State in the very wordy Allstate Sugar Bowl Collegiate Volleyball Classic. Roll Wave.