Tulane football forces four turnovers, fends off Houston 31-24

Jonathan Harvey, Online Sports Editor

Tulane football (3-6, 2-3) forced four turnovers and redshirt freshman Tanner Lee played exceptional as the Green Wave held off Houston (5-4, 3-2) 31-24 Saturday in Houston, Texas.

The Wave led Houston 31-17 after a 25-yard field goal by freshman Andrew DiRocco with 3:24 remaining. Houston then scored a touchdown with 1:06 left in the game and soon after, recovered an onside kick. Though Houston made it inside the red zone, freshman Parry Nickerson sealed the win and made his second interception of the day on fourth and goal.

The defense set the tone early, as safety Darion Monroe snagged an interception after sophomore Nico Marley dislodged the ball from a receiver on Houston’s first possession. The defense ended the game with four forced turnovers and Nickerson had two of the three interceptions.

“Parry (Nickerson) is one of our many talented freshmen and he really plays unconscious,” head coach Curtis Johnson said. “He’s always around the ball and made an outstanding play to end the game. We had a lot players contribute in big ways today and it was nice to see us finally put a great effort together and beat a really, really good football team.” 

The offense also played efficiently, as Lee completed 24/35 passes for 237 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Freshman Dontrell Hilliard also piled in 25 rushing attempts for 85 yards and a touchdown.

“This was a great win today and I couldn’t be happier for the players and coaching staff,” Johnson said. “I have to tip my hat to [Cincinnati head] coach [Tony] Levine.  I think he has a great team.  I thought our kids really rallied after what happened last week and then after losing Monroe to a targeting call in the second quarter.”