Tulane falls to No. 24 Memphis Tigers on the road

Another week, another ranked opponent.

After battling back from a huge deficit against American Athletic Conference opponent University of South Florida, Tulane showed much of the same heart as it attempted a comeback from a 35-point deficit against the No. 24 University of Memphis Tigers.

After receiving the kickoff, Memphis senior quarterback Riley Ferguson, along with Memphis sophomore running back Patrick Taylor Jr., led the squad to two methodical first downs. After these two quick advances, Tulane’s pass defense, led by senior cornerback Parry Nickerson, woke up and shut down Ferguson with the help of a particularly stout Tulane pass rush. After the punt, the Green Wave took over around midfield, only to have a quick three and out.

The second Tiger drive led to a quick and easy Memphis touchdown. After a quick rush and a 21-yard pass to Memphis redshirt senior wide receiver Anthony Miller, redshirt sophomore wideout Tony Pollard took a reverse for 58 yards to the house, putting Memphis up 7-0.

Following an onside kick recovery, Tulane took over yet again near midfield. The Wave had one decent rush by senior running back Dontrell Hilliard for a first down but then proceeded to be shut down after the first of many sacks.

Memphis’ Ferguson took advantage of the sluggish Tulane offense and suddenly lackluster Tulane secondary with three long passes, a drive-saving third down conversion to Miller, a 45-yard bomb to sophomore running back Darrell Henderson and a 16-yard touchdown to Miller.

This methodical, morale-killing rhythm of Memphis set the tone for the remainder of the first half, with three more Tiger touchdowns. A strong connection between Ferguson and Miller was too much for the Tulane defense to handle, even with two Wave touchdowns near the end of the half. The Green Wave went into halftime in a 35-14 hole.

In a similar manner to the matchup against USF last week, Tulane came out firing in the second half. The Wave scored its third unanswered touchdown shortly into the second half off a 6-yard pass from junior quarterback Jonathan Banks, who had struggled through the air in the first half with a lingering finger injury. This score cut the Memphis lead to 16.

On Tulane’s next drive, however, Banks missed a wide-open opportunity for a pass to sophomore wide receiver Darnell Mooney. The Tigers scored a defensive touchdown off a Banks fumble into the end zone.

On the Wave’s next drive, Banks led Tulane down the field with quick, accurate passing. He capped this surge of offense with a 41-yard touchdown pass to Mooney. Though this score again cut the Memphis lead to 16, it was the end of Tulane’s sudden offensive revival.

After three quick Green Wave touchdowns, the Tigers took matters into their own hands, with Ferguson running for two unanswered Memphis touchdowns. This sealed the deal for the Tigers, who won by a score of 56-26.

Tulane’s defense could not stop either portion of the dynamic Memphis offense, being dominated by both the passing and running game. This, combined with a stifled, typically powerful Tulane rushing attack, led to the Green Wave dropping its third straight game, falling to a record of 3-5.


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