Green Wave wins home opener against Southern, 66-21

Colin Threlkeld, Contributing Reporter

Coming off a 7-3 loss on the road against Wake Forest, the Tulane football team had a dominant performance Saturday night, defeating Southern University 66-21 and marking the first time the Green Wave has topped 60 points in a game since 1998.

Electing to kick off to start the game, Tulane quickly got the ball back when defensive tackle Tanzel Smart recovered a Southern fumble forced by defensive end Ade Aruna. The Green Wave offense quickly capitalized on the turnover with a two-play drive capped by a Dontrell Hilliard 5-yard touchdown run.

Throughout the night, Southern had no answer to the Green Wave’s rushing attack, which scored a combined seven touchdowns on the ground. Hilliard led with three rushing touchdowns, followed by Josh Rounds and Lazedrick Thompson, who each added two more of their own. True freshman quarterback Jonathan Brantley also ran for an impressive 119 yards in his first career start. 

Linebacker Nico Marley and cornerback Parry Nickerson both had interceptions off of Southern quarterback Austin Howard, with Nickerson returning his 96 yards for a touchdown.

Not to be outdone, the special teams unit chipped in a touchdown as kick returner Sherman Badie reeled off an 86-yard touchdown return immediately following Southern receiver Dillon Beard’s 20-yard touchdown reception, effectively killing any momentum the Jaguars might have taken from their first scoring drive. That return would put Tulane up 28-7 with 2:15 to go in the first quarter and all but sealed the outcome. Taking a 49-7 lead into halftime, the Green Wave was able to coast to its first victory of the season.

With the win, Tulane moves to 1-1 on the season. The team will open American Athletic Conference play with a home contest against the Navy Midshipmen (2-0) at 6 p.m. Saturday.