Tulane was far less competitive in its second game of the season than it was in the first.
That's reason for concern, but it got overshadowed by a very serious injury suffered by senior safety Devon Walker on the final play of the first half of a 45-10 loss at Tulsa on Saturday.
Walker and teammate Julius Warmsley collided helmet-to-helmet while making a tackle and Walker sustained a cervical spine fracture. He required about 30 minutes worth of medical treatment on the field before being taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he was listed in stable condition.
Tulane said Walker was in traction and being treated for swelling in his neck. He was scheduled to undergo surgery in the following few days.
Walker, a senior from Destrehan, La., just outside of New Orleans, is a former walk-on who earned a scholarship last season and a starting position this season. He had a team-high nine tackles in the season opener against Rutgers.
The injury to Walker created a somber atmosphere in the stadium that lasted throughout the second half of a game the Golden Hurricane had well in hand with a 35-3 lead when Walker was injured.
The Green Wave's performance raised significant concerns about the defense after the offense was the primary weakness in a season-opening 24-12 loss to Rutgers. In that game, Tulane had just eight yards in 16 rushes but stayed in the game most of the way because of a respectable defensive effort.
The offense remains a concern, but it was the defense's shortcomings that were most glaring in Week Two as it allowed 651 yards.
Though the eye-popping numbers allowed by the defense jumped out the most, the offense was inadequate as well, compiling just 177 yards.
First-year coach Curtis Johnson and his staff have plenty of stuff to fix during the Green Wave's open date, but their first concern was for Walker.
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