As we countdown to kickoff in August, we’re going to be doing a team-by-team preview each Tuesday over the summer. SU will play Tulane in Week 4.
TRAGIC COLLISION: It was a tough year for Curtis Johnson in his first year as head coach of Tulane. Though the 2-10 record didn’t help, the season took a tragic turn in the second game. Devon Walker was paralyzed following a horrific collision while he tried to make a tackle against Tulsa at the end of the first half. Walker, then a senior safety, collided with teammate Julius Warmsley in a helmet-to-helmet hit, and needed to be rushed to the hospital. Eight months after that hit, Walker has showed strength in the face of paralysis. “They give you the worst-case scenario, but there’s always hope,” Walker said to Yahoo! Sports. “I have all the hope in the world.”
WHO TO WATCH FOR: Like Syracuse, Tulane is in the midst of a quarterback competition. It’s a two way fight between Devin Powell, who started twice as a true freshman last year, and Nick Montana, son of Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana. Montana played at Washington for one season before transferring to Mount San Antonio College in California. He transferred to Tulane earlier this year, and impressed in spring practice. Regardless of who ultimately wins the job, they’ll be throwing to returning All-C-USA selection Ryan Grant, who hauled in 76 receptions last season. Running back Orleans Darkwa has also rushed for 2090 yards and 27 touchdowns in his college career.
PREDICTION: Tulane had a porous defense last year, as the Green Wave gave up 38.4 points per game, good for 118th in the NCAA. They return an experienced secondary, but are still unproven up front and at the linebacker positions. Look for the Orange ground game to lead Syracuse to a win. SYRACUSE 28, TULANE 17.