Army punter Alex Tardieu had one of the smarter incomplete passes this season. On the first play of the second quarter, the snap to Tardieu from Calen Holt sailed over his head. By the time Tardieu retrieved the ball, it had traveled backwards about 20 yards. His first instinct was to look for a receiver, but logic soon intervened. He threw the ball out of bounds before being tackled. As such, Tulane took possession of the ball at the original line of scrimmage, the Green Wave 42. However, Tulane still went on to score, taking a 14-7 lead on Tanner Lee’s 15-yard pass to Kendall Ardoin.
Prior to the game, Army paid tribute to the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks with a simple message. As the team ran on to the field junior defensive back Caleb McNeill carried the French flag. It was later added to a small tank on the sideline. Knowing that his players – literally – could be on the front line against these miscreants sometime in the future just gave Monken one more cause for pause.
“That’s what makes coaching these guys so satisfying,” he said.
This was the 20th game between Army and the Green Wave. The first was a scoreless tie in 1953. Tulane’s victory Saturday gave it a 10-9-1 edge in the series. The Black Knights had won three of the teams’ four previous games, the last a 45-6 victory in 2011.
Tulane ended the game with 367 yards total offense – five more than Army. Almost one quarter of that total came on Tanner Lee’s 90-yard touchdown pass to Teddy Veal in the first quarter. Both the pass and catch were career highs for both players. Lee ended the game having completed 14 of 29 passes for 252 yards and one touchdown.
“I think we did a great job preparing this week and practicing those plays over and over again,” Lee said. “We wanted to get some short plays and start scoring some points. We were able to do that. We still had some rough patches and were still able to hurt ourselves at times, but it was nice for the game not to be on the defense at the end. To get to go down there and score and win it for them was a big part of it.”
Army’s triple-option offense is invariably a tough one for opposition defenses to keep up with, but Tulane had already faced two previous such offenses this season, against Georgia Tech and Navy. There seemed to be nothing in either of those games to indicate the Green Wave was up for another such challenge. They lost to Georgia Tech 65-10 and to Navy 31-14.
“Watching film and listening to our coaches,” Tulane linebacker Nico Marley said. “Our coaches had a great game plan for each one of those games, so they were really the masterminds behind it. It was pretty easy for us.”
Easy? Allowing 31 points doesn’t qualify as a major accomplishment. But a win is a win.
Army quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw set a career-high in passing yards with 121. He also threw two touchdown passes for the second time. He did so in the season-opening 37-35 loss to Fordham. Bradshaw also made his first-career reception, a 25-yarder from Joe Walker. One not-so-swell number was 5 – the number of times Bradshaw fumbled. And while Army recovered four of them, it accounted in part for Bradshaw’s final rushing numbers. He gained 102, but lost 30, leaving him with a net total of 72.
“Passing is always a part of our game,” Bradshaw said. “Most games we run a lot, but if we think we can do it, then we will take a shot at it. It just so happened this game that we took more shots at it.”
Running back Christian Drake had a career‐long rush of 47 yards in the first quarter. He set a new career‐best total of 69 rushing yards. John Trainor set new career records in catches (3), yards (81), touchdown receptions (1) and had a career‐long reception of 31 yards. Tyler Campbell had a career‐long reception of 17 yards. Campbell’s 22 yards rushing set a new career best. Elijah St. Hilaire had his first‐career rushing attempt, a five‐yard run.
Army’s game-opening touchdown drive came despite two huge penalties. On the third play of the game, Bradshaw’s pitch to Drake ended with a 66-yard gain. However, Army wide receiver Edgar Poe committed a holding penalty. Then, a 35-yard touchdown pass from Walker to Bradshaw was called back when DeAndre Bell got called for a block in the back. It was the third time this season the Black Knights scored a touchdown on their first possession. The others were against Fordham and Eastern Michigan.
This was Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson’s first trip to Michie Stadium. He was impressed.
“Michie Stadium [is] a magnificent place to play; probably the best place I’ve ever played,” he said. “I’ve won a Super Bowl and national championships, but this place is absolutely awesome. The cadets were outstanding, and not just the team we played against. I’m talking about the guys in the stands. It was just magnificent. I love the atmosphere. They’ve got something here.”
Johnson was an assistant coach at Miami when the Hurricanes won the national championship in 2002. He was an assistant with the Saints when they won the Super Bowl in 2009.