Tulane impressive, LSU unimpressive in Saturday wins

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Tulane beats USF

It was a welcome relief to see Tulane finally play well for an entire game, starting well, finishing and, finally, victorious in the midst of a failed season.

It will be a welcome relief to see LSU finally play its final game next week, to end a failed season in every aspect.

Tulane started fast and polished off USF 45-14 on a beautiful Senior Day at Yulman Stadium.

Michael Pratt was perfect for a while and Tulane was near perfect offensive for a while.

Pratt finished 19-of-34 for a career-high 311 yards and three touchdowns.

Pratt has been beat up, tossed around and has little support with below average play from his offensive line and receivers. He is a tough character and a has outstanding character and deserves more support.

On Saturday, he got it, once again, from Tyjae Spears, who has emerged to be a star, as we expected.

Now basically fully recovered from serious knee surgery in 2020, Spears rushed 13 times for 111 yards and two touchdowns.

Jaetavian Toles, Tyrick James and Cameron Carroll each caught a touchdown pass.

The Tulane defense continued its late season upward mobility, allowing just 297 total yards and 14 points. Macon Clark had six tackles and an interception. The defense has played well in four consecutive games.

South Florida scored actually led 7-0 and did not score again until scoring the final touchdown of the game as Tulane racked up 45 unanswered points.

Yes, USF is a bad team.

Yes, Tulane is a bad team but was a good team on this day and it was encouraging, coming off a totally discouraging loss in a game the Green Wave blew against Tulsa.

It was good for Tulane seniors who enjoyed a final home outing to remember an otherwise forgettable season.

The past year’s successes will not be forgotten either. Those seniors were part of rebuilding a program which went to three bowl games, the first to do so in program history.

Next up is the finale at Memphis, an unlikely place to win but Saturday’s victory allowed Tulane to avoid tying its second worst season in program history.

In Baton Rouge, let’s give a huge amount of credit to ULM.

Terry Bowden
(Photo: Stephen Lew)

Terry Bowden has done a simply outstanding job with a moribund program, leading the Warhawks to four victories in his first season in charge after ULM was winless in 2020.

The Warhawks played hard and for a sizeable period of the game, matched LSU at the line of scrimmage and made the Tigers work for a 27-14 win.

Max Johnson made enough plays for the Tigers to win, accounting for three touchdowns.

Johnson was 22-of-33 for 319 yards and two touchdowns and he ran for a third score.

Once again, Johnson was not overly impressive, does not overly impress you with his arm or overall game but at game’s end, the numbers were there.

This time, the result was positive.

Malik Nabers came up big with four catches for 143 yards and a touchdown while Brian Thomas Jr. had four catches for 61 yards and a score.

Regardless of Garrett Nussmeier redshirting, Johnson and, for that matter, Nussmeier, will have to audition and prove themselves all over again to whomever the new coach is at LSU.

LSU was totally ineffective in blocking the ULM front, rushing for just 92 yards.

Jay Ward had an interception and Damone Clark was his usually excellent self with seven tackles, including 1 ½ for loss.

Still, for LSU to struggle to win at home against a seriously outmanned, out-talented visitor reflects how poorly the Tigers were and how poorly things have gone this season.

LSU finally won a game after the announcement that Ed Orgeron would not return in 2022.

The press conference to announce that decision was wonky, at best and the timing was awkward.

The decision to allow Orgeron to finish it out was out of respect for a man that guided LSU to its best season ever.

That decision is certainly open to question, given the way LSU has performed, even though its defense under Daronte Jones has clearly improved in scheme and in performance.

Next up is the drama with Texas A&M and the whole Jimbo Fisher question.

LSU and A&M have grown to hate each other in recent years and A&M is directly recruiting in Louisiana against LSU for key athletes.

Many people have Jimbo fatigue when it comes to links to the LSU job, dating back to 2015.

Perhaps Scott Woodward can persuade Fisher to come.

Then again, it may be better if that does not happen and Fisher sticks to his word.

The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns were very impressive Saturday in a win over Liberty go get to 10-1 on the season, the third straight year Napier has led his team to 10 or more wins.

Did you notice?

Billy Napier is young, dynamic, a winner and with a resume that includes work under Dabo Swinney and Nick Saban.

Mel Tucker’s Michigan State team was destroyed by Ohio State and he is on the verge of signing his new lucrative deal.

Mario Cristobal’s Oregon Ducks got hammered by Utah.

Lincoln Riley’s Oklahoma team got a needed win and he may be the favorite in the clubhouse for the job.

Of course, there could be a serious candidate the hasn’t even hit the rumor mill.

That is the drama remaining in this very forgettable LSU football season which cannot end soon enough.

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Ken Trahan

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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…

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