Green Wave football makes long-awaited return, fall for second week straight

Ben Glazer, Staff Reporter

Tulane students celebrating a touchdown (Maggie Pasterz)

The Tulane University Green Wave football team finally returned to an electric atmosphere at Yulman Stadium in New Orleans against the University of Alabama at Birmingham. After being displaced for weeks by Hurricane Ida, Tulane relished the chance to practice and play in front of their home fans. Following a 61-21 blowout loss to Ole Miss last week, the Green Wave hoped to return to the win column to start off the first true home game of the season. 

The Green Wave struggled defensively during the first half as UAB marched down the field and into the end zone multiple times to the tune of an early 21-0 advantage. With five minutes and two seconds left in the first half however, quarterback Michael Pratt was able to put the Green Wave on the board with a 20-yard strike to receiver Will Wallace. After a missed UAB field goal, Pratt and the offense once again zipped across the field, scoring another touchdown to end the half. 

In the second half, both teams struggled to score for almost 12 minutes until UAB managed to find the end zone late in the third quarter for a 28-14 lead. Tulane was plagued by multiple drops from their wide receivers along with an interception by Pratt. 

Primarily, the Green Wave struggled to tackle and get stops in key moments as evidenced by UAB’s relative ease in moving the ball downfield. Running back Dewayn McBride rushed for 111 yards on only 18 carries, and UAB quarterback Dylan Hopkins completed 19 of 27 passes for 240 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

On the Green Wave, Pratt amassed 296 yards on 27 of 49 completed passing attempts with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Receiver Jaetavian Toles had 5 receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown.

With time running out, Pratt and the Green Wave offense attempted to cut into the deficit to give their team a chance, but it ultimately came to an unfortunate end with another interception. Subsequently, UAB ran out most of the clock but not before Tulane received the ball again with one last chance at a miraculous comeback. 

Facing a fourth and ten from UAB’s 15-yard line, Pratt delivered a perfect pass to his receiver, resulting in a score of 28-21. Suddenly, the Green Wave kicked and recovered an onside kick, giving them yet another opportunity to tie the game with less than two minutes left. This time, the magic ended with a Pratt fumble, effectively putting an end to the Green Wave’s comeback bid. 

When the clock hit zero, UAB won, dampening Tulane’s spirits and spoiling their return to campus. With the win, UAB improved to an impressive 3-1 record while Tulane dropped to a disappointing 1-3 start. Fortunately for the Green Wave, they showed great fight and resiliency near the end of the game. 

Coach Willie Fritz spoke glowingly about his team in relation to their mental toughness and perseverance, especially considering the difficult circumstances from Hurricane Ida. “Well, we got good kids. We got really good young men in our program. We were over there for 22 nights and we came back here and half the team is still staying at a hotel for the rest of the week … We’ll rebound from this. It’s going to sting for a while, but we’ll rebound,” Fritz said.

Next week, they look to end their two game losing streak against East Carolina University. Last week, the Pirates beat Charleston Southern 31-28.