Wave’s defense dominates in Tulane’s 45-31 win over UCF


Sophomore running back Sherman Badie finds the end zone in the second quarter

Susan Fanelli, Staff Reporter

With a balanced effort by the offense and a dominant performance by the defense, the Green Wave (2-2, 1-0 AAC) secured its first conference win of the season, taking out two-time defending conference champion Central Florida (0-5, 0-1 AAC) 45-31 on Saturday in Yulman Stadium.

Despite a showing filled with penalties and mistakes, both the defensive line and the defensive backs put on strong performances for the Wave, forcing five turnovers and 12 tackles for loss, including seven sacks.

“I thought [the defenders] were dominant all day,” head coach Curtis Johnson said. “Defensively, the one thing we can do is we can stop guys. We recruited a lot of good corners and linebackers who can run. Our team is built on speed. The one thing we’ve got to do is that we have got to keep the pressure on.”

The Wave shifted the momentum in their favor in the second quarter when sophomore cornerback Parry Nickerson saved what looked like a sure touchdown play by UCF freshman wide receiver Chris Johnson. The momentum belonged to the Wave from there. After Nickerson caught up with Johnson and stripped the ball from behind, fellow junior cornerback Richard Allen recovered the fumble and took it back for 36 yards.

“That was a great feeling,” Nickerson said. “It was a great opportunity to get the crowd pumped and the team going.”

It was the Wave’s game from there. One play later, Tanner Lee completed a 49-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Teddy Veal to put the Wave up 17-7.

On the next UCF possession, freshman safety Roderic Teamer intercepted the pass by UCF freshman quarterback Bo Schneider at the 40-yard line. The turnover allowed for sophomore running back Sherman Badie to run in for the touchdown on the ensuing drive, putting Tulane up 24-7 with four minutes left in the half.

Tulane scored on four of its forced turnovers: two interceptions and two fumbles. Tulane had not scored on any turnovers in the three previous games this season. Senior defensive end Royce LaFrance spearheaded the defensive command with two back-to-back sacks and a strip fumble in four plays that set up the offense for one of the Wave’s six touchdowns.

Tulane made NCAA history in the game as sophomore DS Aaron Golub made his collegiate debut in the fourth quarter as he snapped on a PAT. Golub, who is legally blind, is the first legally blind player to play in a NCAA game. And he snapped perfectly.

“The reason why I played him is because he works so hard,” Johnson said. “Every morning when I’m up, and as you know, I get up early, he’s in the weight room, and he’s working. I would like to play him as much as I can, because that’s what you do; you reward kids when they work.”

Tulane’s defense held the UCF run game to negative 35 yards, while freshman cornerback Taris Shenall and sophomore linebacker Rae Juan Marbley both earned interceptions to keep the UCF passing game in check.

Tanner Lee was 15 for 26 on the night, accumulating 190 yards and four touchdowns through just three quarters, a career best for the redshirt sophomore quarterback. Junior quarterback Devin Powell checked in during the fourth quarter and threw one more touchdown to seal the game.

Sophomore receiver Teddy Veal led the game through the air with 80 yards on five receptions, as well as one touchdown, and redshirt junior Josh Rounds paced the Wave in rushing with 93 yards on 14 carries.

On the UCF side, Schneider was 20 for 37 with 236 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions before being subbed for freshman Tyler Harris. Harris threw for three touchdowns, all to freshman wide receiver D’erren Wilson.

“We talked all week about getting to [.500],” Johnson said. “We got to come in, play like we’ve been playing, minus the mistakes, and we’ll get some good wins.”

Tulane looks to keep its win streak alive as it heads to Philadelphia, where it faces its next conference foe Temple at 11 a.m. on Oct. 10 at Lincoln Memorial Field.

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