Tulane football shows out at Homecoming Game

Jeremy Rosen, Sports Editor

Tulane football put on a show this Homecoming Weekend with a 38-28 victory over the Memphis Tigers. The win keeps the Green Wave at the top of the American Athletic Conference standings and moved them to the 23rd spot in the latest AP Top 25 Poll

The offense was nothing short of spectacular to open the game. Michael Pratt moved the offense down the field quickly and efficiently with quick passes and short rushing gains. He ran into the endzone himself for the first touchdown of the game. 

The defense forced a three-and-out from Memphis on their first possession of the game. When they punted the ball away, Jha’Quan Jackson caught the ball and took off down the left side of the field. He electrified the crowd with a 90-yard punt return that he was able to take all the way into the endzone for a touchdown. Jackson’s punt return is the second longest in school history, just behind Joe Bullard’s 92-yard punt return in 1969.

The Green Wave was in full control of the game in the first half. They could not be stopped when they got into the red zone, with easy rushing touchdowns from Tyjae Spears and Shaadie Clayton-Johnson. Pratt found Duece Watts in the endzone for a six-yard touchdown to give the Green Wave a 35-0 lead going into halftime. 

Head coach Willie Fritz chose to play much more conservatively in the second half, playing it safe with a run-heavy offense. The offense looked much more sluggish in the second half, as they couldn’t find the endzone even once after their dominant second half. A late 25-yard field goal from Valentino Ambrosio kept Tulane from getting shutout in the second half.

The defense did not look the same in the second half either. Memphis quarterback Seth Henigan was able to take advantage of the conservative play calling and chip away at the defense. He threw for 312 yards throughout the game and completed three passing touchdowns in the second half. What looked to be a blowout game turned into a 38-28 match that was just a little too close for comfort.

On Memphis’s last drive of the game, they were able to move the ball all the way up to Tulane’s 16-yard line and potentially make it a one-score game. When Henigan attempted the pass into the back corner of the endzone, Jarius Monroe completely covered up the receiver and picked the ball to seal the win. 

The defense was led by the linebacker duo of Dorian Williams and Nick Anderson. Williams racked up a whopping eight solo tackles and a sack, while Anderson got 11 total tackles. Larry Brooks also played a significant role in the defense with six solo tackles and an interception.

Pratt only threw for a total of 158 yards this game, a step back from his previous two games where he had over 320 passing yards in both games. However, he did a good job of maintaining possession of the ball and managing the offense. Spears was the backbone of the offensive game plan, carrying the ball 24 times for 125 yards and a touchdown. When the offense looked sluggish in the second half, Fritz frequently looked to Spears to move the ball down the field.

Tulane will have a well-earned bye week to rest and recover and then get back on the road against Tulsa on Nov. 5. 

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