Tulane football drops fourth straight against Cincinnati

Following a 3-2 start, the season looked bright for Tulane football. Unfortunately, the light is slowly dimming, as Tulane suffered its 4th straight loss to Cincinnati this week, 17-16, bringing them to 3-6 on the season, putting the team one loss away from losing bowl eligibility.

The matchup with the Bearcats began in a tight back-and-forth battle. Tulane deferred to Cincinnati, which proceeded to march down the field with a good mix of passing and rushing. The Green Wave defense, however, held up when backed up to its own eight-yard line and prevented a Cincinnati touchdown. The Bearcats put through a field goal, giving them the early 3-0 lead.

Tulane’s first drive of the game was the beginning of its many woes. One of the first plays of the game would have been a long touchdown pitch to senior running back Dontrell Hilliard, had there not been an unnecessary holding penalty. After this call, the Tulane drive lost all momentum, and the Wave was forced to punt. The subsequent Cincinnati drive played out in a similar fashion, and Tulane quickly reclaimed possession.

Junior quarterback Jonathan Banks was the highlight of the Green Wave’s second drive. His scrambling enabled him to find junior receiver Jabril Clewis for two key first downs. Near midfield, Banks let his legs finish off the drive with a beautiful 53-yard touchdown coming off another scramble.

Cincinnati took action after Tulane took its first lead. Bearcats freshman quarterback Gerrid Doaks exploited the Tulane secondary with his swift, methodical passing. He capped the drive with a stunning 39-yard touchdown pass.

Neither Tulane or Cincinnati could capitalize on their following drives. Each offense struggled mightily and was forced to punt.

The final three drives of the half were also quite uneventful, other than a series of Cincinnati penalties. Tulane entered the Bearcat red zone twice but only left with a field goal on each trip. Cincinnati, on the other hand, managed no offensive momentum due to its penalty trouble. At the end of the half, Tulane led 13-10 and would receive to start the third quarter.

Tulane came into the second half with the ball and the lead, but to no avail. Its first drive managed next to no yards and led to a quick three-and-out. The Bearcat defense was able to completely contain the Green Wave rushing attack.

The Tulane secondary was again exploited on Cincinnati’s following drive. Even with three Bearcat penalties, the Green Wave secondary failed to shut down the drive, which was saved by a desperate, easily preventable 33-yard pass to Bearcats sophomore receiver Thomas Geddis. The Bearcats marched into the red zone and punched through Tulane’s defensive line with a five-yard Mike Boone touchdown rush, putting them up 17-13.

Both defensive units stepped up for the remainder of the third. The following Green Wave drives and Cincinnati drive were quickly shut down by stout defensive play. The score remained 17-13 Cincinnati going into the fourth quarter.

Cincinnati had a chance to increase its lead going into the fourth. After marching deep into Tulane territory riding their rushing attack, however, the Bearcats were stopped and forced to take a field goal. The field goal attempt went wide, and Tulane had an opportunity to take the lead.

Following the Green Wave takeover, Hilliard and Banks took the Wave the distance of the field but were shut down and forced to take another field goal. This would put Tulane within one point. Cincinnati retained its lead, which was cut to a score of 17-16.

Cincinnati was in a dire position on its next drive. With a rejuvenated Tulane offense, the Bearcats’ lead cut to one and time running down in the fourth quarter, the Bearcats almost had to score. They did manage a little offense but were eventually shut down and forced to punt, leaving the door open for the Green Wave offense.

Tulane had the potential to win the game on the following drive. With time running down in the fourth and an offense running seamlessly, this was their game to lose. The Green Wave marched into Cincinnati territory riding the immaculate connection between Banks and sophomore receiver Darnell Mooney.

The Tulane offense put its trust in the hands of sophomore kicker Merek Glover deep in Cincinnati territory. On his 36-yard field goal attempt, Glover missed wide left. The Bearcats easily closed out the game and earned their first conference win of the season by a score of 17-16.

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