- Sam Hartman. 31/51 (60.8%), 378 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs. For a true freshman on the road, that’s filthy, y’all. He also added 64 yards on 13 carries. Not bad at ALL. But to me, the most impressive part was the poise and versatility he showed. Sam hit bombs, he threw darts, he dropped passes in the bucket (including a truly incredible one that was in a high pressure situation from his own end zone), and he made good reads and even made adjustments mid-game. There were a couple bad decisions (one in particular) but this kid has every tool in the box and what seems to be the spirit of a leader as a true freshman. The second INT was absolutely Sam’s fault, but the first was kinda just a faultless mutual miscommunication between Sam and Greg Dortch which I’m positive will clean up with time and experience.
- The Entire Receiving Corps. Greg did Greg things, grabbing 12 balls for 149 yards. That’s a stellar night. Yet somehow he was OUTSHONE. Sage Surratt (whom I highlighted in the preseason), broke freshman debut records with 11 catches and 150 yards, including an absolutely disgusting one handed grab that had Stan Cotten incredulous, which is not easy to do. Alex Bachman also did work, getting 62 yards on 5 grabs and both of the passing touchdown catches. The craziest part of all of this is we did this without Scotty Washington, last season’s second leading receiver, who’ll be back probably in a few weeks, and starting TE Jack Frudenthal, who got ejected in the first half thanks to a bang-bang but legitimate targeting call on special teams. All of this was also completely without Jaquarii Roberson, another promising freshman, whose services weren’t needed on this occasion. Holy moly.
- Overtime. All of It. After a rough regulation for both of these sides, the defense and the rushing attack absolutely took over, dominating the extra period completely, finishing the game thanks to a bruising Cade Carney rushing TD for the win. Beautiful.
- Giving Up Big Plays On Defense. The D was pretty good in short and medium yardage situations. I mean shoot, they held the Green Wave to 7-19 on 3rd down (only 36.8%), and a lot of those were long yardage situations. The problem, however, arises when you consider that the two TDs for Tulane were a 52 yard bomb on 3rd and 15, and a 74 yard explosion on a scramble. We did a pretty good job getting pressure, but the secondary often couldn’t hold up when the veteran Jonathan Banks scrambled out of the pocket and made something out of nothing.
- Anemic Rushing Attack. Cade Carney had some pretty strong runs, including the walk-off, but he was limited to 54 yards on 16 carries (3.4 YPC), and Matt Colburn was throttled to 48 yards on 13 carries for 3.7 YPC. Take out Colburn’s one big 21 yard carry and he averaged 2;25 YPC. Oof. The boys up front need to do a better job run blocking as the season continues. C’mon Beef Boys. Get it.
- A Missed 23 Yard FG. Nick Sciba redeemed himself, but OOF. I have to mention that missed chip shot because it was almost a huge factor, and we can’t lose out on what should be gimme opportunities like that very often. It just can’t happen.
The Bottom Line
Honestly, I’m very encouraged. A team helmed by a true freshman took a win on the road from a squad who was inches away from a bowl game last year, and I’d put money on them having a good shot at the postseason this year as well. Hopefully the upcoming game against Towson is far less dramatic and will give the team a chance to continue to heal up, work out kinks, and get the squad to 2-0 on our five(!) game upcoming home stand.
On to the next. Go Deacs.