Green Wave’s return to Yulman marred in bout against South Florida


Courtesy of Parker Waters

Redshirt senior defensive end Ade Aruna runs the ball down the field Saturday against USF in Yulman Stadium.

Following a road loss, Tulane football’s (3-4, 1-2 American Athletic Conference), return to New Orleans resulted in a conference loss to No. 16 University of South Florida Bulls (7-0, 4-0 AAC) in a down-to-the-wire 34-28 game.

The Wave entered the game after a 23-10 loss to Florida International University (4-2, 2-1 Conference USA) the previous week. Tulane returned home to Benson Field at Yulman Stadium, where the Wave had been undefeated in the 2017 season thus far. The Bulls came to New Orleans off a 33-3 routing of AAC opponent Cincinnati the previous week.

After Tulane’s opening drive yielded just 24 yards of offense, USF scored on a 10-play, 85-yard drive capped by a touchdown throw by Bulls senior quarterback Quinton Flowers. USF would not score again until the second quarter, at which point the Bulls led Tulane 13-0 after a blocked extra point attempt by Wave junior safety Roderic Teamer Jr.

Two plays later, Tulane responded with a 73-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Jonathon Banks to redshirt junior wideout Terren Encalade for the Wave’s first points of the night. USF scored one more touchdown in the waning minutes of the second quarter to put Tulane in a 20-7 hole going into halftime.

Things did not get better for the Wave in the second half, as USF scored twice on its opening two possessions of the half to put the Wave down 34-7 with 7:35 left to play in the third quarter.

Yet the Green Wave rebounded, beginning with an interception by redshirt junior cornerback Donnie Lewis Jr. to set up a touchdown drive, capped by a 36-yard run from redshirt senior running back Sherman Badie. The Wave went on to score two more touchdowns — both from senior running back Dontrell Hilliard. The Green Wave special teams also contributed, with a blocked field goal in the fourth quarter by Lewis Jr.

The Wave’s time ran short, and the team couldn’t complete the comeback against the Bulls. Tulane attempted three onside kicks during the course of the game, and all three were recovered by USF, including a final one that put the Bulls at the Tulane 46.

In the end, however, it was the penalties that crushed the Wave. Tulane was whistled for 12 penalties during the game for a total of 91 yards. Several of those Wave penalties nullified scores. USF, by contrast, only received seven penalties for 89 yards.

Banks was 9-19 for 221 yards passing, with two touchdowns and one interception. Encalade led the receivers in yardage with 93 yards on 2 catches, and Hilliard and Badie contributed 144 combined yards to the Wave’s running game. Overall, Tulane finished the game with 415 yards of total offense and controlled the ball for more than half of the game’s runtime.

The Green Wave will be back on the road for its next conference matchup in the No. 24 University of Memphis Tigers (6-1, 3-1 AAC) at 7 p.m. on Oct. 27 in Memphis, Tennessee.

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