Tulane corral Mustangs in senior night win

Mark Keplinger, Sports Editor

On a cold Thursday night with Tulane looking to rebound from a tough loss to the UCF Knights, the Tulane Green Wave dominated the Southern Methodist Mustangs 59-24 and played their most complete game of the season thus far.

It was Tulane’s final regular season home game, and the seniors on the football team, support staff, marching band, cheer team and Shockwave dance team were all honored before the game and at halftime.

SMU came in as one of the most potent offenses in college football. Two weeks ago, SMU put up 77 points in a win against the University of Houston. Veteran quarterback Tanner Mordecai and wide receiver Rashee Rice lead the Mustangs offense. Rice currently leads the nation in receiving yards with 1167 entering the game.

After forcing SMU to punt, Tulane drove 81 yards for a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead. The Green Wave overcame two false start penalties and a fourth and one with the drive being capped off by a 7-yard touchdown run from quarterback Michael Pratt.

After another quick SMU possession, Tulane marched 81 yards in four plays for another touchdown. Pratt found Shae Wyatt for 30 yards before Tyjae Spears broke free for a 48-yard gain. Two plays later, Spears took the ball in for a 2-yard touchdown run.

Looking for any momentum on their subsequent drive, the Mustangs kept their offense on the field on fourth and two at their own 47. Mordecai took a deep shot to an open Rice, but the Mustangs star receiver dropped the pass. Tulane took over but was forced to punt. 

Disaster struck for the visitors during the punt when Roderick Daniels dropped the ball, giving Tulane great field position at the SMU 7-yard line. Two plays later, Pratt passed the ball to Spears, who dove into the end zone for a 5-yard score, giving Tulane a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. 

SMU caught a huge break at the beginning of the second quarter when Jha’Quan Jackson muffed a punt for the hosts. SMU recovered the fumble at the Tulane 19, and on the next play, they scored a touchdown. Tulane linebacker Dorian Williams tipped the pass; however, SMU tight end RJ Maryland caught the pass and rumbled in for a touchdown. 

Tulane responded quickly after Lawrence Keys III had a huge 62-yard kickoff return. Three plays later, Pratt kept the ball on a read option and scored on a 26-yard touchdown run. 

SMU’s offense continued to stall out. First, Mordecai’s deep pass attempt was picked off by a leaping DJ Douglas. On the next SMU possession, the Mustangs fumbled on two-straight plays in Tulane territory, forced to by Williams and Larry Brooks respectively. SMU recovered the first fumble, but Patrick Jenkins covered up for the hosts on the second. 

At the end of the half, SMU’s long drive stalled out, and their 49-yard field goal attempt went wide left, resulting in a 28-7 lead at halftime for Tulane. 

Tulane opened the second half with another long kickoff return by Keys, setting up Tulane at the SMU 45. A few plays later, Pratt dropped in a beautiful 26-yard touchdown pass to Shae Wyatt. 

SMU’s offensive woes continued when Darius Hodges forced a strip sack of Mordecai and Corey Platt Jr. recovered for the Green Wave. Two plays later, Spears once again ran in for a 12-yard touchdown run. 

On the next SMU possession, Mordecai was sacked twice, and on fourth and 11, he threw an interception to Lummie Young IV. The very next play, Shae Wyatt hauled in a 49-yard touchdown catch on a blown coverage to extend the Tulane lead to 49-7. 

Shortly before the end of the third quarter, a long Mustangs drive was capped off by an RJ Maryland touchdown. However, this effort was merely a consolation. On Tulane’s next drive, Pratt and Shaadie Clayton-Johnson marched down the field, and Pratt capped it off with a 1-yard touchdown scramble. The quarterback took a huge hit in the endzone which resulted in a large scrum where SMU was flagged for a personal foul.

The Mustangs tacked on a 30-yard field goal, but Tulane responded with their own 33-yard field goal on a drive engineered by the Green Wave’s second team offense to give Tulane a 59-17 lead. 

Despite not converting a third down all day, the Green Wave forced five turnovers. Pratt had six touchdowns on the day — three through air and three on the ground. Spears rushed for two touchdowns and caught one more. 

Tulane will play their final regular season game on Nov. 25 in an exciting matchup away to the Cincinnati Bearcats. The game is at 11 a.m. and will be broadcast on either ABC or ESPN.

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Tulane honored the three victims of University of Virginia shooting. Before the game, a moment of silence was held to remember Lavel Davis Jr., Devin Chandler and D’Sean Perry. (Courtesy of Parker Waters)

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