Thanks to a perfect second quarter from Shaun King, Tulane is still perfect after six games.
King, playing despite
The 6-foot, 216-pound senior also ran for two touchdowns in the second half as the Green Wave (6-0) continued its best start in a quarter-century. Rutgers fell to 3-4.
"We felt we had something to prove," said King, who was 23-of-27 for 320 yards and ran for 31 yards on 10 carries despite wearing a soft cast on his left wrist for the third week in a row. "We haven't been playing as well as we could the last few weeks."
On a warm, sunny day at Rutgers Stadium, King went out and had "a lot of fun" against Rutgers's porous defense. He directed the Green Wave to five touchdowns and a field goal on their six first-half possessions and Tulane led 38-17 at the break.
"When we're playing
well and not making mistakes, our mentality iwe can score on any snap," said wide receiver P.J. Franklin, who had 12 catches for 159 yards and two TDs. "We have so many weapons, you never know who is going to explode."
Tulane wide receiver Adrian Burnette leaves Rutgers linebacker Jabari Moore in his wake after catching a second-quarter pass and taking it 71 yards for a touchdown. (AP)
Tulane coach Tommy Bowden was happy with his team's performance but it was obvious his thoughts were also with his brother, Terry, who resigned as Auburn's coach on Friday.
"I'm glad the concentration is there with the staff," Tommy Bowden said, "because mine has been elsewhere lately."
Asked about King's superb game, Bowden replied: "To be honest with you, this is about the norm for him. We run a system which puts a lot of burden on the quarterback, and he's pretty good at it."
With the score tied at 10 after the first period, King threw TD passes of 1, 71, 10 and 7 yards. He had TD runs of 6 yards in the third period and 1 yard with 8:39 left in the game.
"I felt our offense was on the verge of a roll 'em up type game," Rutgers coach Terry Shea said. "We just couldn't keep up with the level Tulane played."
In 1973, Tulane opened the season with six victories and finished 9-3. This year, a perfect season is not out of the question as the Green Wave have games remaining against Southwestern Louisiana, Memphis, Army, Houston and Louisiana Tech.
Tulane, which plays in Conference USA, probably plays one of the weakest schedules among major colleges. But that doesn't bother King. He still thinks his team is the best.
"I feel like we are the number one team in the country, until somebody beats us," he said. "I wouldn't ever say another team is better than us."
Rutgers, coming off an upset of Pittsburgh last week, was unable to solve the Green Wave's no-huddle, spread offense, which ran up 510 total yards. Entering the game, Rutgers was ranked 100th in total defense, allowing 442.5 yards per game. Tulane was 99th at 440.2.
The Scarlet Knights never have beaten a ranked team at home.
King, sure to move up from No. 5 in the passing efficiency rankings, hit Joe Akin on a 1-yard score with 12:22 left in the half to put Tulane ahead 17-10 before a crowd of 20,714. The TD was set up by a 54-yard completion to Franklin to the Rutgers 27.
Three plays after Tulane cornerback Michael Jordan intercepted a pass by Mike McMahon, King hooked up with Adrian Burnette on a 71-yard TD play. Burnette caught the ball at the Rutgers 40, broke a few tackles and made it into the end zone.
In the final minutes of the half, King and Franklin got together for two TDs, a 10-yarder with 4:07 left and a 7-yarder with 10 seconds left. Franklin finished with a career-high 12 catches for 159 yards.
For Rutgers, Gary Fauntleroy had a 5-yard TD run in the first period, McMahon threw a 49-yard TD pass to Bill Powell and Kevin Sinclair added a 1-yard TD with 11:34 left in the game. McMahon was 17-of-33 for 194 yards and an interception.
Tulane, which went 7-4 last year in Bowden's first seasonclinched its first back-to-back winning seasons since 1980-81. Also, the Green Wave's seven-game winning streak is their longest since they won 11 in a row between the 1948-49 seasons.
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