Oklahoma fends off late Tulane comeback in season opener

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Tulane Athletics

The field at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium emblazoned with Tulane’s Green Wave logo on both 25 yard lines.

Jake Blancher, Staff Reporter

Despite ultimately losing by a final score of 40-35, Tulane football opened the season looking extremely strong against the second-ranked Oklahoma Sooners football team. At plus-2500 moneyline and 31.5 point underdogs, the Green Wave far exceeded expectations led by resilient redshirt freshman quarterback Michael Pratt.

As a show of sportsmanship, The University of Oklahoma emblazoned the Tulane Green Wave logo on each 25-yard line. The game was originally supposed to take place at Yulman Stadium in New Orleans but was relocated after Hurricane Ida devastated Southern Louisiana.

The Green Wave jumped out to an early 7-0 lead following a Jadon Canady interception on the second play of the game and an incredible one-handed catch by Ygenio Booker, setting Tulane up for an easy swing route touchdown by sophomore running back Cameron Caroll.

The Sooners and Green Wave then traded quick touchdowns by a quarterback sneak and a 15-yard jet sweep run, respectively.

In the second quarter, the Sooners started to pull away, outscoring the Green Wave 23-0 following two costly fumbles by Pratt. Oklahoma wide receiver Marvin Mims Jr. contributed heavily to the Sooner’s first-half domination, recording over 100 receiving yards before halftime.

However, the Green Wave would not go down without a fight and came clawing back in the second half. In their second drive after halftime, Pratt scrambled for a four-yard touchdown.

Sophomore quarterback Michael Pratt leading the Green Wave against the Sooner defense. (Tulane Athletics)

Tulane defensive back Macon Clark recorded an incredible diving interception at the beginning of the fourth quarter to get the ball back in Green Wave hands. Pratt took advantage of this turnover, scoring on another touchdown pass to Caroll. 

Oklahoma caught a break when a Tulane interception was called back on a questionable defensive pass interference but failed to capitalize on their fortune after a missed field goal.

Eight plays later, Pratt tossed a five-yard touchdown to tight end Will Wallace. Against all odds, the Green Wave then recovered an onside kick. With just over two minutes left on the clock, down by five, with the ball in favorable field position, the Green Wave looked poised to make national headlines with an upset victory. 

However, after three unsuccessful plays, on fourth down and 13 yards, Tulane’s remaining hopes were dashed. Seeing no options downfield, Pratt stumbled initially, then scrambled, getting tackled a mere yard short of a first down.

There were some great takeaways from this rollercoaster of a season opener. Pratt continued to make his mark as an emerging collegiate football star, outplaying Heisman favorite quarterback Spencer Rattler, and demonstrating great determination after taking a series of big hits from Oklahoma defenders. Additionally, tight end Tyrick James had a great breakout game, catching six passes for 93 yards

The Green Wave’s gritty performance in Norman, Oklahoma bodes very well for the season ahead. The Olive and Blue are set to face Morgan State at noon at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama this Saturday, Sept. 11.