Ahead of Thursday evening’s opening game in New Orleans, the Blogger So Dear staff gives their predictions for the Wake Forest versus Tulane game.
Tulane breaks off some major plays using the option but ultimately talent will win out and the explosive offense for the Deacs will be too much to handle.
Offensively, I think there will be a few hiccups early on from Sam Hartman as he gets adjusted to the speed of college football. That’s why I believe Matt Colburn will be the game’s focal point on that end of the ball.
Defensively, I have trust that the team will be ready to defend the fast-paced system of Tulane.
In all, there will be mistakes all around, as it’s the first game of the season.
But I believe that the Deacs will pull through and carry out the win.
Wake Forest 34-Tulane 27
I think this one may be a little bit closer than Wake fans would like to see. There are a lot of questions heading into the opening week, and to compound issues Tulane runs a variation of the triple option. My guess is that both teams will be a little bit sloppy to open things up and that should favor the offense early. This will lead to a fun back and forth first quarter before both teams settle down. The Green Wave have an experienced quarterback in Jonathan Banks, and he can navigate that offense quite well. I think Matt Colburn goes for over 100 yards rushing and the staff manages Sam Hartman quite well to a close Wake Forest victory.
Demon Deacs win 31-17
The Deacs will be with a new freshman quarterback at the helm. Whether it is a permanent or temporary adjustment due to QB Kendall Hinton’s suspension remains to be seen.
Ultimately, Coach Clawson will intelligently lean on the “Beef Boys” to set up easier opportunities for QB Sam Hartman in his first career start. Look for the talent of Greg Dortch and the returning starters to overwhelm Tulane in a run-dominated game.
It’s the first game of the season, so both teams will probably be amped up and excited, leading to some early game blunders that result in big plays. As the teams settle down, the Deacs should be able to figure out the Tulane option attack and fend them off to get to 1-0 on the season.
This will be a test for Hartman getting the nod at QB, but fortunately Tulane’s strength does not lie with the defense. I expect a relatively simple playbook where Wake pounds the ball on the ground and gets the ball into Dortch’s hands as many times as possible through quick hitters and bubble screens. The defenses will wear down in the heat and Tulane will find some success moving the ball with the option. Ultimately, Wake is the better team and will win the big play battle to win by double digits.
Wake Forest 28-Tulane 17
While Sam Hartman is being thrown into the fire as a true freshman quarterback starting his first ever collegiate game, he has one of the best offensive lines in the entire country protecting him. He also has one of the most explosive receivers in the country in Greg Dortch to get the ball to in open space to make plays, and also a very steady running back in the backfield with him in Matt Colburn II. Both teams will struggle initially, as the jitters and excitement of a new season will lead to early mistakes, but ultimately Wake has too many weapons and that will prove too much for Tulane.
Wake Forest 38-Tulane 21
I’m in the optimistic boat with this one. Brand new QB? Losing a safety who cleaned up a lot? Losing an elite defensive lineman? Losing most of the linebacking corps? Not a problem for Dave Clawson and the Deacs. I don’t want this to be an undersell of Tulane; they’re a fine team. I think this comes down to how Hartman comes out. I think they start trying to run the ball with Colburn, and ease Hartman into manageable 2nd and 3rd downs. Oh did I mention they have in my opinion the best offensive line in the ACC and a top 10 line nationally? As well as Greg Dortch, Alex Bachman, Sage Surratt, etc.. Defensively, it’s going to be interesting but the game is won and lost in the trenches and I think this defensive line is better than Tulane’s offensive line which should keep their QB on his heels.
Disclaimer: This was written before Conor O’Neill of the Winston-Salem Journal made me look foolish by dropping an article on how the deacs were gonna come out and play which everyone should read! Still the same score though.
I see this one being uncomfortably close, but that’s probably mostly my inability to shake the memory of the 2016 matchup between these teams. I wouldn’t be surprised if Tulane is right there or even ahead at some point in the third quarter, but ultimately I think Wake will show itself to be the better team over 60 minutes and grind out the win to start the season 1-0.
Wake Forest 35-17
Wake struggles with Tulane’s Triple Option early making it a close game during the first half. After some adjustments in the second half, the Deacs take a substantial lead and pull away thanks to Dortch, Colburn and the Beef Boys. Sam Hartman surprises with some good throws. So will Sage Surratt, as Hartman will look for the RS Freshman receiver quite a few times. Ultimately, the Wake Defense finds a way to hold Tulane’s Option in check and bring home the first win of the season.
Wake Forest 24-21
It takes a couple quarters for the Deacs to settle in on opening night on the road, but ultimately Wake rides its weapons on offense (Dortch and Colburn) to a Week 1 victory. Hartman holds his own, the defense finds ways to contain the Triple Option on early downs in the 2nd half, and Wake Forest gets its 101st win of the 21st century.
Wake Forest 24-20
I had a dream that Wake Forest lost to Tulane, but Jamie Newman was also playing quarterback, so not quite sure what to make of that one. I think Wake will be a bit stagnant on offense early on, as is to be expected with a true freshman quarterback making his first start on the road. However, Tulane surrendered a lot of big plays through the air last year, and I believe that Greg Dortch will make enough plays for the Deacs to come away from New Orleans with a W.
What do you all think will be the outcome of the game? Comment below.