Tulane worn out by Oklahoma in third game of season

Grant Barnes, Contributing Reporter

After a heartbreaking two-point loss to Navy, the Green Wave rolled into Norman, Oklahoma, ready to right itself with an upset over No. 2 ranked Oklahoma.

Tulane fought hard on both sides of the ball and hung with Oklahoma initially. If it weren’t for one crucial interception, the team may have gone into halftime tied with the elite Sooners. In the second half, however, Oklahoma’s high-powered offense led by superstar quarterback Baker Mayfield took total control, handing Tulane its second loss of the season.

The first quarter began with a Sooner drive after Tulane won the coin toss and elected to defer. After a long Oklahoma third-down conversion off a pass, Oklahoma elected to go to the air again. Baker Mayfield completed this 29-yard pass to wide receiver Mark Andrews, who had the ball stripped and recovered by Tulane safeties Chase Kuerschen and Jarrod Franklin, setting Tulane up for its first drive of the night. Tulane took advantage of this opportunity, pushing the ball downfield with authority. After a pass interference call, running back Dontrell Hilliard finished the drive with a two-yard touchdown run.

Obviously, this turnover and score did not go over well on the Oklahoma sidelines. On the second play of Oklahoma’s drive, the Sooners took advantage of blown coverage in the Tulane secondary with an 82-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, tying the game.

The Green Wave knew it had to press the advantage to keep up with Mayfield and the Oklahoma offense. Tulane did just that on its next drive, with runs from Hilliard, Sherman Badie and quarterback Johnathan Brantley combined with two key passes which all contributed to a lengthy march to the end zone. Brantley capped this long drive with a 14-yard run for a touchdown, giving the Green Wave the lead, 14-7. On this drive, Dontrell Hilliard eclipsed the 2000-yard career rushing mark at Tulane, becoming the first player to do so since current New York Giants running back Orleans Darkwa.

Oklahoma again made quick work of the Tulane defense on its next drive, with hard running from Sooner running back Abdul Adams combined with seemingly magical passes from Baker Mayfield to quickly culminate in yet another touchdown, once again tying the game. From this point on, it was clear the Tulane defense simply could not stop the Oklahoma offensive machine.

Tulane had clearly impressed many by keeping up with No. 2 Oklahoma throughout the entire first quarter, but this momentum quickly vanished in the second. After yet another methodical drive pushing into Oklahoma territory, Johnathan Brantley was picked off by Parnell Motley, who took it all the way back for another Oklahoma touchdown, giving the Sooners their first lead, 21-14. Tulane lost all of its momentum, which resulted in two Green Wave punts and one Sooner touchdown.

The second half truly was the tale of two offenses. Tulane struggled to get anything going after losing its momentum on the Motley interception, with every Tulane drive resulting in either a punt or turnover. Oklahoma, on the other hand, took total control. The Sooners placed full faith in Baker Mayfield, who did not let them down. His exposure of young Tulane safeties in the passing game combined with a lethal running attack in both Abdul Adams and Marcelias Sutton led to a whopping four Oklahoma touchdowns in the second half. After a close first half, the No. 2 Sooners picked apart a fatigued Tulane defense and shut down the Tulane running attack, running away with the game by a final score of 56-14.

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