Green Wave gives up 10-point lead, loses to SMU 35-31 in homecoming game

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Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Terren Encalade scores a touchdown with eight seconds left in the third quarter, bringing the score to 24-21 with Tulane in the lead. The Green Wave went on to lose 35-31 against SMU.

Jake Brennan, Staff Reporter [email protected]

Heartbreak has hit Tulane’s homecoming weekend.

The Green Wave football team fell 35-31 to Southern Methodist University on Saturday, despite holding a 10-point lead after a Sherman Badie touchdown on the first drive of the fourth quarter.

After an incredibly slow first half offensively, with only 80 total yards, something seemed to click during halftime. The Tulane offense came out of the locker room to put out an eruption of offense, totaling 311 yards in the second half alone.

Despite its best efforts, and a commanding lead in the fourth quarter, the Green Wave couldn’t hold on. SMU marched down the field to score on consecutive drives late in the fourth quarter, scoring the go-ahead touchdown with only 1:16 to play.

“Obviously, it was a really disappointing game,” head coach Willie Fritz said after the game. “It was a game that I thought would have been a really good win for the program.” 

SMU quarterback Ben Hicks needed only one minute and 53 seconds to score on the opening drive of the game, gashing the Tulane secondary with a 54-yard bomb and then an eight-yard touchdown pass to SMU receiving leader James Proche.

It took the Green Wave seven minutes and two drives to finally find the end zone, with Dontrell Hilliard capping off a nine-play, 47-yard drive with a run up the middle and into the end zone. It would be Tulane’s only touchdown in the first half.

After trailing 21-10 at half, the Green Wave offense seemed to be stalled once again after punting on its first two drives of the second half. After a slow start, the team pulled together three strong touchdown drives in short succession, putting it ahead 31-21 with 10 and a half minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

Although the Tulane defense looked solid all game, it couldn’t stop the Mustangs when it counted most, resulting in two SMU touchdowns in a row, with the dagger of a go-ahead score coming with 1:16 remaining in the game.

Despite the heartbreaking loss, a disappointed Fritz is still optimistic about the future of the program.

“We’re going to get this program turned around,” Fritz said. “Unfortunately, I wish it were sooner rather than later, but we’re really close. We just have to hang together and keep working hard.”