Tulane struggles as they face upset from East Carolina

Blaise Noble-Schueller, Staff Reporter

After a rollercoaster first four weeks of the Tulane football season, the Green Wave went to Greenville, North Carolina with high hopes of knocking off the East Carolina Pirates. However, the Green Wave fell to the Pirates 52-29 in a heartbreaker for Tulane fans. Leading up to this game, the Wave have had its ups and downs this season, starting the year off with possibly one of the “best losses” that a team could have, losing a thriller against the number six team in the country, the University of Oklahoma Sooners

The loss against Oklahoma was not only a good loss in terms of the score, but also in the way that Tulane went toe to toe with the Sooners in just about every facet of the game. Michael Pratt looked like he could duel with one of the best quarterbacks in college, Spencer Rattler, and the defense looked like they may be able to do just enough to fend off the offensive juggernaut of Oklahoma.

Following the loss to Oklahoma, Tulane once again impressed, crushing Morgan State University 69-20. After a promising first two games, Tulane fans felt optimistic as the team headed down to Oxford, Mississippi to face the 14th-ranked Ole Miss Rebels. This game was not nearly as promising as the first two, as the Wave was humbled, losing 61-21. 

As the first home game rolled around against the University of Alabama at Birmingham excitement filled the Tulane campus, students had the chance to go to their first “real” sporting event in nearly two years. Unfortunately, this game did not quite go as planned either, as Tulane ended up losing 28-21 against a UAB team that many thought the Green Wave could have easily beaten. 

Ultimately, last week’s game against East Carolina was very reminiscent of that against UAB. To put the whole game simply, Tulane just did not look all that great as they lost extremely handily to the in-conference opponent. As Tulane went in as 3.5-point favorites on the road, the final score of 52-29 was disappointing.

The game itself was not close for a vast majority of the time. ECU came out like a bat out of hell, scoring the first 24 points of the game and giving little hope to the Tulane offense. Tulane attempted to make it close, coming within eight points in the third quarter making the score 31-23. The close game was short lived however as ECU finished the game on a 21-6 run, putting the nail in the coffin midway through the fourth quarter when Ryan Jones received a 14-yard pass from Mason Garcia with 8:15 left to play, making the score 23-45.

Though the ECU offense did play well, Tulane did shoot themselves in the foot on multiple occasions, committing four turnovers, compared to zero by ECU. Star quarterback Pratt had a subpar day, going 22 of 36 for 268 yards, throwing one touchdown and rushing for a couple more. But the only number that people will remember from this game were the three costly interceptions that he threw.

Tulane’s defense could not keep up with the dominant rushing attack of ECU. ECU’s running back Keaton Mitchell rushed for his career-high 222 yards along with two touchdowns while quarterback Holton Ahlers threw for 288 yards, going 21-32 with two touchdowns. 

Though the start of this season has not been all that Tulane fans have hoped for as the team has fallen to 1-4, there is still much to be excited for looking forward to the next couple of weeks. Tulane plays rival University of Houston at home this Thursday as they look to add another storied chapter to a rivalry that has had some amazing games the last few years. Following their game against Houston, the Wave is set to play two ranked opponents — number 24 Southern Methodist University, followed by quite possibly the best team Tulane has played in a while, number five University of Cincinnati. 

If Tulane manages to win one or a few of these next couple games, the team morale and excitement will be sure to grow, despite a disappointing record and a flat start to the season.