Tulane looks to keep bowl hopes alive against East Carolina
NEW ORLEANS – There is no more margin for error for Tulane’s football team.
If the Green Wave is to finish .500 and ensure itself of a bowl berth, it needs to win out, beginning Saturday night at East Carolina.
After getting to 3-2 a month ago Tuesday with a 62-28 victory over Tulsa, the Green Wave has lost four straight, including last Saturday’s 17-16 defeat at home against Cincinnati.
“Our vision is still there; we’ve got to win out,” said safety Rod Teamer. “It all starts with one win. We’ll take it one step at a time.”
Said head coach Willie Fritz, “The only thing we know is to work hard, stay after it and keep sawing wood.
“You’ve got to stay positive, keep working hard and be tough-minded. It’s human nature to give in when things aren’t going well. We’re close right now. We’ve played a very tough schedule and got to come through with some of these games and get different outcomes.”
Tulane had a golden opportunity to break the streak in front of a season-high Homecoming crowd of nearly 21,000 on Saturday, but missed a potential game-winning field goal in the final two minutes.
“I think Cincinnati’s a talented team and getting better,” Fritz said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get the outcome we wanted. Offensively, we showed some flashes but we weren’t consistent enough.”
Even though Tulane has not had a winning season since 2013, when the Green Wave’s fifth-year seniors were true freshmen, the players still believe in Fritz’s process.
“We try not to think about the past,” Teamer said. “We don’t want to look at it as being in a slump. We’ve got another opportunity this week. We keep trusting in Coach Fritz and his staff and knowing they’ll lead us in the right direction.”
Added wide receiver Jabril Clewis, “I think it just comes down to believing we can overcome these obstacles. It takes everyone cohesively believing that we can get this turned around.”
After gaining at least 190 yards rushing in each of the first seven games, Tulane has been held to an average of 127 yards per game the last two weeks.
“We’ve played good fronts,” Fritz said. “Cincinnati’s got a good defense. We’ve got to create vertical and horizontal seams, and in order to do that, we’ve got to win those battles up front.”
Both Tulane and East Carolina are 1-4 in league play. ECU, which like Tulane has a second-year head coach in Scottie Montgomery, is 2-7 overall and is already eliminated from bowl consideration.
“East Carolina has two different systems, depending on the quarterback,” Fritz said. “We’re looking forward to a big challenge.”
Kickoff will come just after 6 p.m. CST Saturday. The game will be televised by CBS Sports Network.
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Lenny has been involved in college athletics since the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…