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The Big Tulane Green Wave Preview

USF hasn’t won back-to-back games to end a year since 2016. It starts on Saturday.

NCAA Football: Tulane at Central Florida Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Opponent: Tulane Green Wave

2021 Record: 1-9 (0-6 AAC)

Head Coach: Willie Fritz (30-42 in six years at Tulane)

Date/Time/Location: Saturday, November 20, Noon, New Orleans, LA, Yulman Stadium

How To Watch/Listen: ESPN+, 95.3 WDAE, Bulls Unlimited

Series History: Series is tied 1-1. Last: Tulane won 41-15 in 2018.

The South Florida Bulls are trying to break multiple streaks today when they take on the Tulane Green Wave in New Orleans. The Bulls haven’t won back-to-back games to end the season since 2016. They haven’t won a road game since October 2019—a span of ten games. They haven’t won a game played in November since November 2017—a span of 14 games. A lot is on the line today for USF.

Head coach Jeff Scott knows the importance of winning this game to build momentum going into the offseason, and he KNOWS this is a winnable game.

Tulane has struggled mightily this year on offense after the departure of former offensive coordinator Will Hall to Southern Miss. “Freshman” quarterback Michael Pratt hasn’t improved as much as people—read: me— expected heading into the 2021 season. They showed flashes of excellence on offense against Oklahoma to start the year, but since then, they haven’t scored more than 30 points against any other FBS teams.

Glenn Spencer crashes through the wall...”Hold my beer”

Pratt’s 2021 numbers under Chip Long are essentially the exact same as 2020. He’s thrown for 1,932 yards, 17 touchdowns, and five interceptions on the year. He’s also completing 58% of his passes, but hasn’t thrown for more than 250 yards since October 2 at ECU. He’s coming off possibly his worst game of the year versus Tulsa where he completed just 13-of-30 attempts for 178 yards.

If Glenny wants to keep his job next year, his defense must be able to contain a lackluster offensive attack. It is paramount for the Bulls to get off the field on 3rd down, and improve on their FBS-worst three-and-out percentage which is under 20%.

The Green Wave are bad on third down (33%), and bad on 4th down (47%), and horrendous in the kicking game where they’ve missed half of their field goal attempts including a chip shot 26-yarder to win the game last week.

Tulane hasn’t been good in the red zone either this year. They’ve scored touchdowns on just 61% of their RZ opportunities (22-36), and defensively, teams are scoring touchdowns 74% of the time they get inside the Green Wave’s 20. (USF isn’t great at scoring in the red zone either, but miraculously, the defense has been pretty good at holding opposing teams to field goals.

Tulane’s defense has played much better over the last few weeks, but they have given up a lot of points to conference foes this year. ECU scored 52 on them, SMU put up 55, Houston scored 40, and Ole Miss put up 61 points. The USF offense has shown explosiveness in fits and starts throughout the season, but hasn’t been able to put it together for an entire game—much like the rest of the team—but quarterback Timmy McClain has a huge opportunity to put up some numbers against this team with his arm and legs. Pencil in at least one Jaren Mangham rushing touchdown as well. Tulane has given up 22 rushing scores this season.

If the Bulls, as Scott says, are getting better, this is a game they should and must win on the road.

USF 31, Tulane 27