Tulane QB Nick Montana to be “game-time decision”

Associated Press photo by EMERALD MCINTYRE -- Tulane's Nick Montana looks for an open receiver as Louisiana Tech's defense adds pressure during their game Sept. 12 in Ruston.
Associated Press photo by EMERALD MCINTYRE -- Tulane's Nick Montana looks for an open receiver as Louisiana Tech's defense adds pressure during their game Sept. 12 in Ruston.

Tulane football coach Curtis Johnson said quarterback Nick Montana did not take many reps in practice Thursday and his playing status against East Carolina on Saturday would be a game-time decision.

Montana, a junior college transfer who also spent two years at Washington, has started Tulane’s first six games, completing 55.7 percent of his passes with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions. He has been sacked 20 times and hit repeatedly, and the wear and tear has left him limited in practice all week with an unspecified injury.

“Montana didn’t do much today, so I just don’t know where we are,” Johnson said immediately after Thursday’s practice. “It will be a game-time decision, but knowing him, as tough as this kid is, he’s tough as nails, I see him throwing a touchdown to win this one.”

Johnson closed practice this week for the first time in his tenure.

Montana said Wednesday he felt sore but expected to play. If he is unavailable, Johnson said redshirt freshman Devin Powell would be next in line, with true freshman Tanner Lee and walk-on junior Jordy Joseph ready. Powell has thrown four passes this year, completing two for 2 yards. Lee and Joseph have not played.

Tulane (4-2, 2-0 Conference USA), seeking its first winning season since 2002, is a 10-point underdog to East Carolina (4-1, 1-0).

Johnson said running back Rob Kelley, who has 296 yards on 55 carries (5.4 average), also would be a game-time decision after missing most of practice. His injury is unclear, too, but Johnson joked Wednesday Kelley was walking down stairs and “sounded like me,” referencing his own knees that required surgery.

“My fingers are crossed that both of them will be there,” Johnson said. “I think they both will be.”