It was an up and down weekend in Louisiana football. The Saints welcomed back their leader Drew Brees, Tulane fell short in recording a dramatic comeback win and LSU might have set itself up to become the number one team in America.
Saints go to 7-1
The Saints made another game look easy in whipping the Arizona Cardinals 31-9. While the score looks like the eventual walk in the park that it was, the Saints actually had a weird game on their hands in the first half.
The return of Drew Brees was on everybody’s mind. The future hall of famer proved all of the skeptics wrong and not only got back into action a game earlier than expected, but also excelled because, I guess, just because he’s Drew Brees.
After a few misses early, Brees carved up the Cardinals like Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone was terrified of his early return but his thumb showed no ill effects on his game as Brees went 34-for-43, 373 yards and three touchdowns. Brees, as always, looked like he owned the Superdome and after a slow start it was all Saints.
Latavius Murray recorded his second outstanding game in a row rushing for 102 yards (with 55 yards receiving) and a touchdown, and the defense easily contained Kyler Murray. The defense recorded three sacks (of course one was by Cam Jordan) and held the Cardinals time and time again.
It’s a game that won’t go down in the history books but was indicative at just how stacked this team is and why they are a frontrunner for the Super Bowl. It was another week without starters Jared Cook, Tre’Quan Smith and the all-world Alvin Kamara. Yet, once again at the end of the day the scoreboard was all Black and Gold in another impressive victory.
Tulane loses second straight
Welp. That was a weird one. It was literally the tale of two halves. Unfortunately for the Tulane Green Wave, their good half did not outweigh their awful half and they watched their AAC championship dreams sail away into the night with a heart-wrenching 41-38 loss versus the Navy Midshipmen.
The first half was hard to watch as Tulane did not answer the bell and got walked over by the Navy rushing attack as they could not catch Navy running back Jamale Carothers in two touchdown runs from over 30 yards, and, even worse, they gave up a touchdown pass (to a team that does not pass) to end the first quarter and trailed 21-0 after one.
Now, there is absolutely no excuse for that first quarter. Yes, Navy is a quirky team to play in that they stick to the run game like the forward pass has not been invented, but Tulane simply did not come to play. Luckily, they woke up or this would have been their second embarrassing loss in a row after getting whipped by Memphis last week.
They did come back though. Justin McMillan actually got the comeback started in the second quarter with a touchdown run and 22-yard touchdown pass to Darnell Mooney. But before you could yell comeback, McMillan floated a pass across the middle for a pick six and the Green Wave were still in a major hole going into half.
Then, the second half started and everything that went against Tulane was now going for Tulane. They owned the third quarter on both sides of the ball and with a minute left in the fourth quarter tied the game up at 38. That’s where the heroics ended for the Green Wave as they watched Navy boot a 48-yard field goal as time expired.
There was a day where moral victories actually held water with the Tulane fan base but those days are clearly in the past. This team is slipping right when it needed to hit its stride and its performance to begin the game was disheartening. You just can’t spot a team 24 points before starting to play. You don’t win those games, even when you make an amazing comeback.
With the loss Tulane drops behind SMU, Memphis and Navy and are now 2-2 in the AAC West. They should get back on the winning path next week versus Tulsa but this one hurts.
High Times In Baton Rouge
There was a heavyweight fight in Baton Rouge as LSU knocked off the Auburn Tigers 23-20 in one of those games that only seems to exist in the SEC. Auburn’s defense was the first to slow down LSU’s offense this year even though the Heisman frontrunner, Joe Burrow, would go over 300 yards passing. But when Auburn took away the pass LSU responded with a punishing running game led by Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s 136 yards rushing.
LSU’s fans and defense were too much for Auburn’s young quarterback Bo Nix who would finish the game 15-for-35 for 157 yards and an interception. LSU becomes the first team in the Top 25 era to post three wins against Top Ten teams in the first eight weeks of a season. Now it gets massive as LSU heads to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama. Big boy SEC football is afoot.
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: Gnarly Barley Brewing’s “Jucifer” IPA
Playlist Recommendation: Professor Longhair – “Big Chief”
Around the Way
If you’re a sports fanatic then you’re heading into the greatest time of year as football is in high gear, the NBA season has started and college basketball’s tip off is right around the corner.
The UNO Privateers have been picked to win the Southland Conference over Sam Houston State in the preseason poll. What Coach Mark Slessinger has done with this program is phenomenal. However, this is a scrappy conference that, like usual, will go down to the wire. UNO tips off at home on Nov. 5 against Spring Hill.