Tulane reestablishes confidence in 38-7 win over Maine

Hilliard+led+the+team+in+rushing+for+the+night%2C+posting+eight+carries+for+117+yards+and+two+touchdowns

Hilliard led the team in rushing for the night, posting eight carries for 117 yards and two touchdowns

Mackenna Barker, Online Sports Editor

Following the blowouts the Wave suffered to Duke and Georgia Tech, in which Tulane lost by a combined 85 points, the Wave desperately needed a win to reassert confidence in this team.

That’s what the Wave had riding on this game  a game that had the power to set the tone for the rest of the season. Tulane (1-2, 0-0 American Athletic Conference) notched its first success of the season and regained some crucial confidence against Maine (0-2, 0-0 Colonial Athletic Association) in an important 38-7 win Saturday night in Yulman Stadium.

“It was a must-win more for these kids because they practice hard,” Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson said. “You see them out there every day. They really don’t ever quit. I just wanted them to have some type of success to catapult them into the rest of the season because we haven’t really had much success recently.”

Tulane fans started holding their breath early in the first quarter as Maine silenced the crowd with an early lead, scoring on the first drive of the night. Tulane had no answer but a field goal.

Tulane did not remain stagnant for long, however, and decidedly shifted the momentum in its favor in the second quarter with three scoring possessions in a row.

Tulane took its first lead of the game, and its first lead of the season, early in the second quarter when redshirt junior running back Lazerdick Thompson capped off a 15-play, 80-yard drive with a 1-yard rush into the end zone, marking the Wave’s third touchdown of the season.

It was the Wave’s game from there. Tulane improved its lead further as redshirt sophomore running back Sherman Badie found a hole in the defense and gunned it for a 56-yard touchdown, putting Tulane up 17-7 midway through the second quarter.

Badie, an instrumental part of the Wave’s running game last season, did not see much ground action in the first two games of this season, only attempting 5 carries for 26 yards. In the first two games of last season, Badie had already notched 18 carries for 230 yards and two touchdowns.

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Tanner Lee capped off the scoring for the quarter with a 39-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Teddy Veal, giving the Wave a promising 24-7 lead at the half.

“It felt good to execute and move the ball into the end zone,” Lee said. “It was big for our team to get a win.”

The momentum carried through the intermission. The Wave controlled the rest of the game, preventing the Black Bears from finding the checker-board end zone again while the Wave’s offense solidified its lead to an ultimate 38-7.

Sophomore running back Dontrell Hilliard added the two touchdowns of the second half, leading the rushing game of the night with 117 yards and two touchdowns. Badie contributed an additional 71 yards on the ground, as well as 118 yards through the air.

Tulane’s offense finally found a little of its missing swagger in its balanced attack on the Black Bears. Lee finished the day throwing 16 of 27 for 277 yards, and Veal contributed five catches for 94 yards and a touchdown.

“[The big plays are] just a testament to what our guys can do if you get them the ball in space,” Lee said. “Just little passes here and there, getting the ball into Sherman’s hands, Dontrell, they can take it the whole way. If we just continue to do those types of things we can be successful.”

Tulane heads into its bye week this week but returns to action against its first conference foe, the UCF Knights, on Oct. 3 in Yulman Stadium.