November 21, 2019

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Tulane Holds on to Beat Tulsa 38-26 on Homecoming Showing

28,000 showed up in attendance at Yulman Stadium for today’s matchup, the 3rd largest in stadium history.

The Tulane Green Wave won the opening coin toss and opted to defer to the second half, putting Tulsa’s offense on the field first on a beautiful Homecoming day. 

FIRST HALF

Tulsa QB Zach Smith and company took over at the 12 yard line, attempting to test the Wave front 7 on its first two plays, where the Hurricane’s amounted only 5 yards to bring up a 3rd and 5. Tulane’s De’Andre Williams shredded pass the Tulsa line on the 3rd and medium, eventually finding Tulsa’s Smith and recording the first sack of the day. 

McMillan and the Wave offense came out the gate with 3 consecutive quick snaps to pick up a first down. Darrius Bradwell, finally back healthy, was a welcome sight for Tulane’s offense. McMillan completed 2 passes, and rushed up the middle for chunk yardage, putting Tulane’s offense inside the redzone on their opening drive. Another back making his return for Tulane this week was Corey Dauphine, who also received snaps on the opening drive, knocking off some of the rust from last week’s inactivity. A costly offensive pass interference prevented the Wave from finding the endzone on their opening drive, however, Merek Glover hit a 31 yard field goal to put Tulane up 3-0 over Tulsa early in the 1st quarter.

Tulane’s defensive awarded the Hurricane’s a holding call on Tulsa’s ensuing possession, inching them closer to midfield. Smith hit his first reception on the day for 18 yards as the Hurricane offense threatened, crossing over into Wave territory. After a rush for no gain, Smith missed his target on 2nd and 10, giving the Green Wave defense a 3rd and 10. Smith found receiver Josh Johnson for a gain of 12 and a Hurricane first down. Smith got in rhythm, then finding receiver Keylon Stokes for a 7 yard reception on 2nd and 8. Eventually, Tulsa would find themselves in a 4th and long scenario. Well into field goal range, Tulsa opted to go for it on 4th and 16, but failed to convert after a dropped pass from Smith, returning the football back to Tulane’s offense. 

On the first play of the possession, Tulane’s Stephon Huderson broke through the Tulsa defense, sprinting down midfield for 55 yards, with a 15 yard personal foul tacked on, netting a 70 yard gain for the Green Wave offense. McMillan found receiver Jaetavian Toles on consecutive passes after a holding penalty pushed Tulane into a 2nd and 20. Toles put Tulane into a 4th and 1, which the Wave would convert with hard running from Cameron Carroll. Justin McMillan would then take the read option to the left side, walking into the endzone untouched and giving Tulane a 10-0 lead. 

Tulsa’s offense got things moving again, with Smith completed an 18 yard reception to Josh Johnson, then finding Sam Crawford Jr. in the middle of the field for 14 as the 1st quarter came to a close. Tulsa shot itself in the foot on a 3rd and 1 with a false  start, forcing a 3rd and 6 for the Golden Hurricane’s. Smith found Keenen Johnson through the air, but came up short of the line to gain. The Hurricane’s would attempt the 4th down conversion, effectively picking it up on a 10 yard rush. Tulsa’s Corey Taylor II would then find the endzone for a 1 yard scoring rush, cutting Tulane’s lead to 3. The Green Wave offense sputtered following Tulsa’s score. Penalties and a missed throw from McMillan forced Tulane to punt for the first time of the game, giving Tulsa great field position at the Hurricane 43. 

Tulsa’s Smith found his big TE James Palmer for a gain of 28 as the Hurricane’s threatened another score. The Hurricane’s would fail to find the endzone, however, were successful in tying the game with a field goal to make it 10 all. McMillan and the Tulane offense were sidelined early in their next drive, with McMillan being picked off near midfield. 

Tulane’s defense did an excellent job of responding to the interception, forcing the Hurricanes into a 3rd and 23 situation at Tulane’s 40 yard line. Smith found Johnson on the 3rd and long, but came up a bit short. Tulsa opted for the field goal try on 4th and short, successfully picking up the points to give Tulsa its first lead of the day, 10-13.

Tulane’s Dauphine broke off a handful of big runs, including a 12 yarder that pushed Tulane across midfield. Justin McMillan then found standout receiver Jalen McCleskey for a 38 yard reception with Tulane moving all the way down inside the Tulsa 5. McMillan would find the endzone on a QB keeper for 2 yards, shifting the lead back in Tulane’s favor at 17-13 with 2 minutes remaining in the half. With that offensive drive, Tulane marked its 49th straight game with at least 100 yards rushing. On Tulsa’s first possession on offense, PJ Hall forced a fumble on a 5 yard reception by Josh Johnson, when Tulane’s Willie Langham found the ball for a quick scoop and score for a Green Wave defensive touchdown. Tulane now took a 24-13 lead over the Hurricanes.

The Hurricane offense looked to put some points on the board with under 2 minutes to go in the half. Shamari Brooks took a handoff up the middle and found daylight as he crossed midfield. Tulane then rough the passer with Tulsa’s Zach Smith taking a shot in the backfield. In a matter of seconds the Golden Hurricane offense found itself inside the redzone with a minute remaining to find the endzone. The Wave defensive secondary cracked down on Tulsa’s air attack, forcing 3 straight incompletions from Smith, forcing a 4th and 7 for Tulsa. Tulsa kicker jacob Rainey lined up for a 37 yard attempt, successfully splitting the uprights to make it a 24-16 ballgame at the half. 

SECOND HALF

Tulane started the second half on offense rolling through the air. McMillan spread the ball out to a handful of receivers, including running back Stephon Huderson, who McMillan found on a 32 yard bootleg for a wide open touchdown reception. The score marked McMillan’s first through the air on the night and widened the Green Wave lead to 15 points. A great start for the Tulane offense early in the 3rd quarter. 

Zach Smith completed a beautiful pass to Stokes in double coverage for 55 yards following Tulane’s score. The pass from Smith effectively flipped the field, giving the Golden Hurricanes another trip to the redzone. Tulsa eventually found their way inside the 5 yard line with a 3rd and goal presented to the Green Wave defense. The Wave successfully forced a 4th down, where the defense locked up and shut the Tulsa offense down at the 3 yard line with McMillan and company taking over. The Green Wave would have to dig their way out on offense, going the length of the field in order to score. Tulane’s daunting rush attack showed up huge, with McMillan, Huderson, and Dauphine clawing their way to the 30 yard line and providing some comfort for the Green Wave offense. Tulane fans should be excited about Huderson, who filled in for Dauphine and Bradwell over the last few weeks, showcasing the ability to explode downfield and flip the field of play in an instance. Unfortunately, Tulane would be forced to punt after failing to pick up the first down. 

Tulsa found little success after the punt, but an unsportsmanlike foul on Tulane awarded Tulsa 15 yards and an automatic 1st down. Tulsa, who’s offense moved the wall adequately all game, now found themselves near midfield following the penalty. Zach Smith found his receiver for 26 yards by Johnson as the Hurricane’s moved inside the Green Wave 40. Smith continued his success through the air, finding Keenan Johnson for 12 yards, then Crawford for a modest gain as Tulsa broke the 20 yard line and into the redzone. After a 2nd and 10 from the 11, Tirise Barge recorded a 5 yard tackle for loss, resulting in a 3rd and 15 for Tulsa from the 16 yard line as the 3rd quarter came to a close. On the 3rd and long, Zach Smith found Stokes in the endzone for a 16 yard passing score, as Tulsa cut the Green Wave lead to 31-23 with 14:54 remaining from scrimmage. McMillan would be picked off for a 2nd time on the Wave’s following drive. The interception came from Tulsa’s Reggie Robinson II, who picked of McMillan earlier in the game. Robinson’s 9 yard interception set Tulsa’s offense inside the Tulane 50.

Smith led a drive inside the redzone, but was sacked by Tulane’s Marvin Moody to force a 3rd and goal from the 21 yard line. Tulsa lined up for a 3 point try of 38 yards, where Rainey had just enough leg power to find the uprights, tacking on another 3 points for Tulsa after a 9 play, 16 yard drive. 

The Tulane’s offense responded beautifully. McMillan and Dauphine attacked the Tulsa defense on the ground with a series of read options, eventually moving the ball inside the 5 yard line. A potential touchdown run was negated by a Green wave holding call, rushing the offense back to the 13 for a 1st and goal. Bradwell got his number called next, picking up 3 yards to make it a 2nd and goal from the 10. With a 3rd and goal from the 3, Tulane failed to convert with a 2 yard rush, then opted to go for it on 4th and goal. McMillan took the QB sneak and pushed his way into the endzone for a Green Wave touchdown. McMillan’s score would mark his 2nd rushing touchdown of the game, which capped off a 10 play, 70 yard drive. 

Tulane’s defense finally forced a 3-and-out, forcing Tulsa to punt the ball back over to Tulane with only 4 minutes remaining in the game. The Green Wave offense showed little hurry, attempting to bleed as much clock as possible to hold onto their 12 point lead. On a 3rd and 5, McMillan rolled to the left from under center as the Wave switched to a more traditional triple option look. McMillan, who looked well short of the first, switched gears, breaking a tackle and scurrying to the opposite side of the field to pick up 18 yards and a Wave first. Huderson took the next snap, breaking his way down field for 28 yards. Huderson’s 28 yard rush put him over the century mark on the day as the clock showed 1 minute remaining to play. The Green Wave’s consecutive 1st downs effectively put the game out of reach, as Tulsa burned their final timeout, with Tulane taking the victory formation to come out on top over the Golden Hurricanes, 38-26. 

With the win, Tulane advances to 6-3 on the season, while Tulsa recorded their 7th loss, falling to 2-7.