Tulane notebook: Targeting rule nets CB Lorenzo Doss an early exit

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- Tulane's Devon Walker talks to players and staff during the 2013 season opener against Jackson State.
Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- Tulane's Devon Walker talks to players and staff during the 2013 season opener against Jackson State.

Tulane cornerback Lorenzo Doss’ sophomore debut went from auspicious to historic in the same quarter.

Doss, who set a school record for interceptions by a freshman with five in 2012, picked off a pass and returned it 24 yards on the opening possession against Jackson State on Thursday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Three series later, he likely became the first player ejected from a game under the NCAA’s controversial new application of the targeting penalty.

Doss nailed Jackson State quarterback LaMontiez Ivy with a forearm as Ivy was tackled at the end of a 9-yard run near the end of the first quarter. The penalty cost Tulane 15 yards and Doss’s services for the rest of the night.

“I was very surprised,” he said. “I tried to go for his legs, and it just so happened he dove at the last minute. To me, it wasn’t even a slide. He fell forward, so I think that’s a bad call.”

The rule, which already was on the books, calls for immediate ejection this season and was an NCAA emphasis entering the year. According to a memo sent to every press box for Thursday’s games, the official description of targeting is this:

“No player shall target and initiate contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow or shoulder. When in question, it is a foul.”

Freshman Parry Nickerson replaced Doss, and he was targeted in a different way. Jackson State receiver Jairus Moll caught a 12-yard pass in front of him on the last play of the quarter after fooling him into thinking he was running deep.

Doss is eligible to return next Saturday against South Alabama.

New uniforms

Tulane debuted new uniforms, with charcoal gray pants and charcoal jerseys with green numerals replacing the olive green jerseys with white numbers and blue trim and white pants the Wave wore since former coach Bob Toledo’s first season in 2007.

“They loved it,” Tulane coach Curtis Johnson said of his players’ reaction. “They were buzzing about it all week when I told them they could wear it.”

With little contrast between the color of the numbers and the uniforms, it was hard to read the numbers from the press box and even the sideline.

Jackson State QB out

Tulane, which already was favored by 25 points by Las Vegas oddsmakers, received an extra advantage when projected starting quarterback Clayton Moore of Jackson State did not play due to an unspecified injury suffered in practice.

Moore, a senior, passed for 1,863 yards and 11 touchdowns last year. Ivy, a redshirt freshman with no playing experience, replaced him and threw two interceptions and lost a fumble at the Tulane goal line in the first half.

Ivy suffered a leg injury in the third quarter and left on a cart. Junior Evan Ingram replaced him and threw an interception on his second series.

New starters

Six Tulane players started for the first time in their college career: junior defensive end Andre Robinson, LSU graduate student transfer defensive tackle Chris Davenport, true freshman linebacker Nico Marley, sophomore offensive tackle Arturo Uzdavinis, redshirt freshman offensive guard Nathan Shienle and redshirt freshman receiver Devon Breaux.

Marley, whom Johnson singled out for praise earlier in the week, made tackles on consecutive plays in the first quarter.

Small crowd

The announced attendance of 20,992 marked the 19th consecutive home game with a crowd of fewer than 30,000 dating to Sept. 11, 2010, when Ole Miss played in the Superdome in front of 36,389 fans.

It was the 17th straight game the Green Wave has played at home or on the road in front of fewer than 30,000, dating to a trip to East Carolina on Oct. 29, 2011 (49,910).

This and that

NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, the father of Tulane starting quarterback Nick, attended the game with his wife. … Tulane entered 10-0 against FCS opponents and 2-0 against Southwestern Athletic Conference opponents, beating Southern in 2001 and ’02. ... Tulane’s only wins in season openers since its perfect season in 1998 came against FCS opponents Southern (2002) and Southeastern Louisiana (2010, ’11). ... Tulane forced five turnovers by the end of the third quarter, more than in any game since forcing eight against Army on Sept. 20, 2003.