Long, late drive propels UAB past Tulane

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Green Wave football team rallied from a 14-point second-half deficit to tie its game at UAB, but the Blazers put the final points on the board to defeat Tulane 31-24 at Legion Field on Saturday afternoon.

After trailing 21-7 at halftime, Tulane (1-2) got Darnell Mooney receiving touchdowns on its first two possessions of the second half against UAB (2-1) to get within 3 points. A career-long 40-yard field goal from Merek Glover tied things at 24-24 early in the fourth quarter.

The Blazers, though, made the most of their next possession and went 93 yards over 13 plays to go ahead 31-24 with 2:19 remaining.

Tulane could not find the end zone in the final two minutes, and UAB picked up the win at home.

Mooney was the team’s leading receiver, making four catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns. On the ground, Darius Bradwell ran for 90 yards and a first-half touchdown.

Defensively, Tulane got huge first-half interceptions from Donnie Lewis Jr., and Thakarius Keyes – both in the end zone – that kept the team in the game. Birthday boy Lawrence Graham had a team-high seven solo tackles and nine total. Zachery Harris also had nine tackles while Roderic Teamer Jr. finished with eight.

Tulane came out of the second half on a mission, and Mooney provided a spark that helped get the Green Wave back in the game.

On Tulane’s first drive of the half, quarterback Jonathan Banks found Mooney downfield for a 44-yard touchdown pass, making it a 21-14 game. The drive lasted just six plays and went 75 yards.

Following a UAB field goal, the Green Wave drove down the field again, putting up a touchdown drive that was exactly six plays and 75 yards again. Mooney caught a shovel pass from Banks to get in the end zone this time, taking the short pitch 24 yards down the right sideline and diving into the end zone to bring Tulane within 3 points.

Two drives later, Glover tied things at 24-24 with a 40-yard field goal, the longest of his Tulane career by one yard.

While Tulane got things going offensively in the second half, UAB had its offense cooking in the first.

UAB went right down the field for 65 yards on its first drive, scoring a touchdown as quarterback A.J. Erdely went 8 yards on the ground. On their second drive, the Blazers moved the ball 90 yards down the field before Lewis saved Tulane from going down by two touchdowns. Lewis picked off Erdely in the end zone, earning his seventh career interception and second of the season.

But on their third drive, the Blazers could not be stopped. They went 59 yards in 13 plays, capping things off with a 2-yard touchdown run from Spencer Brown to make it a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.

The Green Wave responded after that, as Banks hooked up with Mooney for a 44-yard reception on Tulane’s next drive. It was all Bradwell after that, with Bradwell converting a fourth-and-2 with a 5-yard run, following that with a 15-yard scamper and finishing the drive with a 3-yard touchdown on a direct snap to make it 14-7.

With the Blazers driving at the end of the half, Keyes made it two end zone interceptions for the Green Wave, leaping for a grab with just 26 seconds left in the second quarter. Keyes’ interception, the first of his career, gave Tulane some momentum heading into the break.

The Green Wave stay on the road next weekend, heading to Columbus, Ohio, to take on No. 4 Ohio State. Tulane and the Buckeyes are set for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff.

UAB 31, TULANE 24 – POSTGAME NOTES (21,991 – Attendance)

TEAM NOTES
-Tulane’s matchup with UAB marked the 10th meeting between the two schools. The series is tied at 5-5.
-Team captains for this afternoon’s game were Jabril Clewis, Peter Woullard, Noah Fisher and Taris Shenall.
-LB Lawrence Graham, who celebrated his birthday today, carried the No. 18 flag in honor of Devon Walker.
-Tulane has rushed for 100 yards or more in every game since 2016.
-The Green Wave have forced at least two turnovers in each of their first three games.
-With the loss, Fritz falls to 203-91-1 all-time. He also dropped to 69-27 all-time in the month of September.
-Since 2017, Tulane has dropped six games by one score or less.

OFFENSIVE NOTES
-The Green Wave offensive starters were QB Jonathan Banks, RB Darius Bradwell, WR Darnell Mooney, WR Terren Encalade, WR Jabril Clewis, TE Kendall Ardoin, OL Noah Fisher, OL Dominique Briggs, OL Corey Dublin, OL John Leglue and OL Keyshawn McLeod.
-Encalade and Leglue each made their 27th consecutive start.
-Bradwell scored his first touchdown of the season as he rushed in from three yards out. He finished the game with a team-best 90 yards on 15 carries.
-Running back Corey Dauphine broke loose for a 45-yard run in the second quarter. Dauphine has now posted carries of 40 yards or more in back-to-back weeks.
-Banks’ second quarter interception was his first in the last 98 attempts dating back to last season.
-Mooney surpassed 100 yards receiving for the second straight game and the fourth time in his career.
-Mooney also hauled in his second and third touchdowns of the season and his eighth and ninth scores of his career.

DEFENSIVE NOTES
-The Green Wave defensive starters were CB Donnie Lewis, S Roderic Teamer Jr., S P.J. Hall, CB Will Harper, CB Thakarius Keyes, LB Lawrence Graham, DL Patrick Johnson, LB Zachery Harris, DL De’Andre Williams, DL Cameron Sample and DL Robert Kennedy.
-Lewis made his 34th career start. His 34 career starts are the most of any current player on the defense.
-Lewis collected his seventh career interception in the first quarter, as he picked off UAB quarterback AJ Erdely in the endzone. Lewis’ interception was his second of the season.
-Keyes recorded his first interception of his career as he picked off Erdely in the endzone.
-Graham finished the game with a career high nine tackles.

SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
-Senior punter Zachary Block had three punts for 142 yards. He also dropped two punts inside the 20-yard line.
-Safety Roderic Teamer blocked a punt in the second quarter. The blocked punt was the first for Tulane since Larry Bryant’s blocked punt against UConn on Nov. 26, 2016.
-Junior kicker Merek Glover drilled a career long 40-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.

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