Tulane falls inches short at SMU, 41-38

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Final Stats | Postgame Audio | Audio Highlights

DALLAS – Junior quarterback Jonathan Banks was ruled just inches short of the goal line as time expired, and Tulane football fell at SMU, 41-38, Saturday in front of a crowd of 14,209 at Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

On first and goal from the SMU one-yard line with 0:09 left, Banks ran for the end zone, but the official marked the ball short of the goal line and time expired before the ball could be set for play. The ruling stood upon replay review. The Green Wave’s season ends at 5-7 overall and 3-5 in American Athletic Conference play.

“When I looked at the big screen, I thought it would be changed to a touchdown, but I guess those are tough ones to overturn. That’s not my call,” head coach Willie Fritz said. “Banks did a good job of driving us 87 yards down there, but sometimes it comes down to inches.”

Tulane took over possession with 1:59 remaining after the Mustangs (7-5, 4-4 American Athletic Conference | West) scored to take the lead on a 19-yard pass from Ben Hicks to Trey Quinn with 2:05 left. Redshirt senior running back Sherman Badie returned the kickoff 21 yards to the 27-yard line, where the Wave began their drive. The offense moved down to the SMU five-yard line in eight plays, and a pass interference penalty put the ball at the two-yard line. On third down, a second pass interference penalty placed the ball at the one-yard line with 0:09 on the clock.

Banks topped single-game career high in completions (18) and passing yards (314) with two touchdowns 48 rushing yards. Sophomore wide receiver Darnell Mooney caught both touchdowns and finished with six receptions for 168 yards. Redshirt junior wide receiver Terren Encalade caught seven passes for 111 yards, and sophomore running back Darius Bradwell led the way with a career-high 80 rushing yards on nine carries and two touchdowns.

The Green Wave totaled 485 yards of offense, while the Mustangs finished with 478 yards of offense, including 375 passing yards.

Tulane trailed 27-21 at the half, but took advantage of the receiving the second half kickoff and then an SMU fumble to sprint ahead, 35-27. Banks hit Mooney for a 15-yard strike to cap a 12-play drive that traveled 75 yards on the first possession of the third quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff, sophomore defensive end Larry Bryant forced a fumble on the return and senior defensive end Luke Jackson recovered it at the SMU 14-yard line. On the first play, senior running back Dontrell Hilliard galloped into the end zone untouched to extend the lead to 35-27 with 9:07 on the third quarter clock.

SMU answered with a 29-yard touchdown pass from Hicks to James Proche to cut it to 35-34 with 3:46 left in the period. The Green Wave then drove 67 yards, and sophomore placekicker Merek Glover knocked a 25-yard field goal through the uprights to make it 38-34 near the end of the third quarter.

The game started with what Tulane thought was a long fumble return for a touchdown on SMU’s opening possession, but upon replay review, it was ruled the ball carrier’s knee was down. Three plays later, Ke’Mon Freeman scored a touchdown on a three-yard run to give the Mustangs a 7-0 lead.

The Green Wave responded with a 77-yard touchdown drive that took six plays and 2:13 to tie the game, 7-7. Mooney caught a short pass over the middle, and did the rest of the work, winding 52 yards through the defense to the end zone. The Mustangs went ahead, 14-7, on a four-yard run by Freeman with 2:55 to play in the first quarter.

Three touchdowns within 0:32 resulted in a 27-14 SMU lead with 5:55 left in the half. SMU extended its lead to 20-7 on a 23-yard pass from Hicks to Ryan Becker with 6:27 left in the third. Tulane answered immediately with a 57-yard run by Bradwell on the first play of the ensuing possession, cutting it to 20-14. The Mustangs, however, then scored on a 77-yard touchdown pass from Hicks to Quinn to make the score 27-14.

Tulane cut it to 27-21 by halftime when Bradwell scored his second touchdown of the game on a one-yard dive with 0:56 left in the half. The score capped a 13-play, 75-yard drive that elapsed 4:50. Banks found Encalade for a 37-yard gain on third-and-10 down to the SMU six-yard line to set up the score two plays later.

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TULANE FOOTBALL POSTGAME NOTES AT SMU

Nov. 25, 2017

GAME

  • Game captains were senior running back Dontrell Hilliard and senior linebacker Rae Juan Marbley.
  • SMU won the toss and elected to receive. Tulane chose to defend the North goal.
  • Attendance was 14,209.

TEAM

  • Tulane wore white pants, with jerseys and green helmets.
  • The helmet/uniform combination for this game was the ninth different combination in 12 games this season. The Green Wave were 4-3 when wearing green helmets.
  • Redshirt junior wide receiver Terren Encalade carried the No. 18 flag, honoring former Tulane football student-athlete Devon Walker, who was injured and paralyzed during a game in 2012. Redshirt senior nickelback Jarrod Franklin carried the American Athletic Conference P6 (#AmericanPow6r) flag leading the Green Wave out of the tunnel.
  • Tulane scored a touchdown on its first offensive possession for the second time in three games. The Green Wave scored their first possession at ECU on Nov. 11.
  • The Green Wave scored three first-half touchdowns for the first time in seven games, dating back to the Tulsa game on Oct. 7.
  • Of the Green Wave’s 40 touchdowns scored this season, 21 were with plays that went 20 yards or longer.
  • Senior running back Dontrell Hilliard’s 14-yard touchdown run in the third quarter was Tulane’s quickest scoring drive of the season (eight seconds).
  • Tulane has posted three scoring drives that last only 11 seconds this season – Hilliard’s 75-yard touchdown run vs. Army West Point on Sept. 23, redshirt junior wide receiver Terren Encalade’s 62-yard touchdown reception from junior quarterback Jonathan Banks vs. Tulsa on Oct. 7 and sophomore running back Darius Bradwell’s 57-yard touchdown run today at SMU.
  • The Green Wave have rushed for 100 or more yards in 27 straight games, dating back to the final three games of the 2015 season.
  • Tulane passed for more than 100 yards for the ninth time this season. The other eight games were vs. Grambling State (185 yards), vs. Army West Point (103 yards), vs. Tulsa (165 yards), vs. USF (221 yards), at Memphis (203 yards), vs. Cincinnati (196 yards), at ECU (121 yards), and vs. Houston (251 yards).
  • In 24 games under head coach Willie Fritz, the Green Wave have recorded an interception in 18 games (eight last season and Grambling State, Navy, Army West Point, Tulsa, FIU, USF, Memphis, ECU, Houston and SMU this season), including in 14 of the team’s last 16 games and 17 of the team’s last 20 games.

PLAYERS

  • Redshirt senior cornerback Parry Nickerson made his 45th career start, redshirt senior Jarrod Franklin made his 36th consecutive start (38th start in his career), senior running back Dontrell Hilliard made his 25th straight start (33rd in his career) and redshirt junior offensive lineman John Leglue (25th in his career) and junior receiver Terren Encalade (31st in his career) made their 24th consecutive starts.
  • Senior running back Dontrell Hilliard closed the regular season ranked fifth in career rushing yards (2,948), tied for fourth in career rushing touchdowns (30) and fifth in career carries (557) in school history.
  • On the school’s single-season career lists, Hilliard closed the regular season ranked sixth in rushing yards (1,091), tied for third in rushing touchdowns (12) and tied for sixth in carries (210).
  • Junior quarterback Jonathan Banks has thrown for more than 100 yards in six consecutive games – 221 vs. USF, 203 at Memphis, 196 vs. Cincinnati, 110 at ECU, 251 vs. Houston and 314 at SMU.
  • Banks threw for a career-high 314 passing yards, topping his previous high of 251 vs. Houston on Nov. 8.
  • Banks threw multiple touchdowns for the fourth time this season. His other occurrences were three vs. Grambling State, two vs. USF and three at Memphis.
  • Redshirt junior wide receiver Terren Encalade posted his second straight and fourth 100-yard receiving performance of his career.
  • Sophomore wide receiver Darnell Mooney topped a personal single-game high with two touchdown receptions.
  • Mooney’s 52-yard touchdown catch at the 8:50 mark in the first quarter was his longest catch and longest touchdown catch of his career.
  • Sophomore running back Darius Bradwell ran for a career-high 80 yards on nine carries.
  • Bradwell’s 57-yard touchdown run at the 6:16 mark in the second quarter was his longest run and longest touchdown run of his career.
  • Bradwell recorded the first multi-touchdown game of his career with two scoring runs. All four of his rushing touchdowns have come this season.
  • With his interception at the 0:21 mark in the second quarter, redshirt senior cornerback Parry Nickerson now has six interceptions this season and 16 for his career. His 16 career interceptions rank second in school history behind Paul Ellis’ 18 from 1969-71.
  • With one pass breakup, Nickerson moved his career total 31 pass breakups, which rank third in school history.
  • Freshman safety Tirise Barse recorded the first sack (1.0) of his career in the first quarter.
  • With a sack (1.0) in the second quarter, redshirt senior nickelback Jarrod Franklin recorded his first sack of the season, moving his career sacks total to 4.5.
  • Junior safety Taris Shenall grabbed his first interception of the season and third of his career at the 11:09 mark in the second quarter.
  • Sophomore placekicker Merek Glover hit his last four straight field goals. He is 8-of-9 on field goals this season.
  • Freshman running back Stephon Huderson’s 44-yard kickoff return in the first quarter was the first kickoff return of his career.
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