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Tulane At Rutgers: Scarlet Knights Looking To Bounce Back

(Sports Network) -- Looking to snap their current skid, the Tulane Green Wave will head to the Garden State to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in a non- conference bout at Rutgers Stadium.

Bob Toledo's squad begin the season with a 27-21 victory over Southeastern Louisiana. The Green Wave dropped their following two matchups. A 27-13 loss to Ole Miss, was followed by a 42-23 setback to Houston this past weekend, and it does not get any easier for coach Toledo's squad, as the schedule has them slated for two more games away from home in the month of October.

As for the Scarlet Knights, they were victimized for the first time in 2010, falling to North Carolina, 17-13, this past weekend. The loss snapped the team's two-game winning streak to begin the year, as Rutgers defeated Norfolk State (31-0) and Florida International (19-14).

This will be the first meeting between the Scarlet Knights and Green Wave on the football field since 1998. Rutgers holds a 3-1 edge in the all-time series, but the lone win for Tulane came in the last matchup, as the Green Wave routed the Scarlet Knights in Piscataway, 52-24.

Tulane did not put up much of a fight in its recent setback to Houston. The offense showed glimpses of progress, but those rare high moments were surrounded by inconsistent play.

The ground game, which has been dreadful all season (107.3 ypg), continued to have problems in the loss to Houston, as the team finished with just 105 yards on 3.3 ypc. Albert Williams, who is leading the team with 180 rushing yards, tallied a team-high 83 yards in the loss to the Cougars, while Payten Jason scored one of the team's touchdowns.

Kevin Moore and Ryan Griffin both saw time under center, but neither were overly impressive. Moore did toss two touchdowns and finished with 156 yards, but was intercepted twice, while completing just 12-of-26 passes. As for Griffin, he was even worse, throwing for only 28 yards, to go along with an interception of his own.

On top of the poor play by the offense, the defense for coach Toledo was also a mess for most of the game. The real issue for this unit came against the run, as the Cougars clawed out five touchdowns and 175 yards on the ground. It was a surprising performance for this defense, which heads into this contest allowing just 110.3 ypg via the run.

There were some positive points however, for coach Toledo to take away from this matchup. Tulane forced three turnovers in the loss, and also applied plenty of pressure on the opposing quarterback, finishing the game with five sacks. Two of those sacks went to Justin Adams, who now has three on the season. Shakiel Smith led the way with 13, giving him 23 on the year, to go along with his one interception.

Rutgers opened the season with a 31-point performance against Norfolk State, but over its last two matchups, the offense has totaled just 32 points combined. Against North Carolina, the Scarlet Knights scored the first 10 points of the matchup, but could only muster three points over the final three quarters.

Nothing went right for the offense, which finished with 244 total yards. Tom Savage, who struggled in the first two games under center, continued to have problems in the team's recent loss, throwing for just 150 yards on 16-of-29 passing. The sophomore was also intercepted twice and sacked four times. Savage has been unable to find a groove thus far, and his 52.4 percent completion rating and his three interceptions could eventually put his job in jeopardy.

Mohamed Sanu has been the only real offensive threat for coach Greg Schiano. Against UNC the tailback led the team with nine receptions for 74 yards, but had some trouble finding lanes to run trough and finished the game with just 41 yards and one touchdown. In three games, the running back has rushed for 104 yards and two scores, while also leading the team in receptions (16) and receiving yards (164).

The lack of success by the offense, has taken away from the play of the defense, which has been outstanding for three consecutive contests. Rutgers, which is currently holding teams to just 10.3 ppg, has be very stout against the run, suffocating the opposition for a mere 94.3 ypg.

Against North Carolina, the Scarlet Knights shut down the Tar Heels on the ground, allowing just 91 yards on 3.0 yards per attempt. Rutgers did surrender 204 passing yards, but other than that this unit played well enough for the Scarlet Knights to land a victory.

While that was not the case, the defense still managed to record three takeaways, and also collected five sacks. The five sacks were the first on the year for Rutgers, which did not get to the quarterback in its two previous contests. However, the three takeaways, now gives this unit nine in only three games.