Tulane drops heartbreaker to No. 17 SMU in overtime, 37-34

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NEW ORLEANS – The Tulane football team fell just short, 37-34, in a back-and-forth affair to 17th-ranked SMU in American Athletic Conference action Friday evening at Yulman Stadium.

Freshman quarterback Michael Pratt threw for 192 yards and one touchdown while rushing for two more scores. Senior running back Stephon Huderson rushed 19 times for a game-high 132 yards.

Tulane (2-3, 0-3 AAC) was first to light up the scoreboard with a scoring play when Pratt connected with graduate wide receiver Mykel Jones for a 31-yard touchdown strike with just under four minutes into the action.

SMU (5-0, 2-0 AAC) responded quickly on its next possession by going 91 yards on just five plays, capped by a 32-yard rushing touchdown to tie the game, 7-7.

The Mustangs took their first lead of the night on a 48-yard field goal with 5:32 left in the first quarter, but the Green Wave pulled back in front, 14-10, just over midway through the second quarter when Pratt ran it in from one yard out to finish off an 11-play, 72-yard drive.

SMU used nearly the next four minutes to construct a nine-play scoring drive that ended with a 10-yard passing touchdown to reclaim the lead, 17-14. The Wave used the next two minutes of game clock to hurry down the field on 10 plays to set up a 34-yard field goal by Merek Glover, tying the game at 17-all in the final minute before halftime.

Tulane jumped back in front on its first possession of the second half when Huderson raced for a 22-yard rushing touchdown. SMU provided an answer with a quick scoring drive just over one minute later after a 55-yard pass completion set up an eventual two-yard rushing score to draw the score even once again at 24-all.

Despite a 33-yard field goal putting the Mustangs ahead by three late in the third quarter, the Green Wave got a huge lift when Pratt completed a 42-yard pass to junior wideout Duece Watts on a third down play that was snapped 39 yards shy of the first down marker. That set up Pratt to scamper across the goal line from seven yards out just two plays later to give the Wave a 31-27 lead with 12:59 remaining in regulation.

The see-saw battle continued when SMU connected on another 10-yard scoring pass as part of a 14-play drive that used nearly six minutes of clock to take a 34-31 edge with 7:12 to go. Tulane did just the same when it got the ball back, using over five-and-a-half minutes and 13 plays to set up a 27-yard field goal by Glover to tie the game at 34 with 1:30 remaining.

A 57-yard field goal attempt by SMU with 21 seconds remaining hit the right upright for a miss, and a Tulane Hail Mary pass went long in an exciting final minute of regulation as the game advanced into overtime.

The Mustangs’ defense intercepted a Green Wave pass on their first possession and used two plays to set up a 34-yard field goal that won the game.

On defense, junior safety Larry Brooks led Tulane with a game-high 11 tackles (10 solo), as the Green Wave racked up 11 tackles for loss on the evening.

Up next, Tulane heads back on the road for an American Athletic Conference matchup at UCF on Saturday, October 24. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m., and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.

SMU 37 – TULANE 34 – POSTGAME NOTES

TEAM NOTES
• Tonight’s Tulane-SMU matchup marked the 27th matchup between the two teams.
• The Green Wave’s all-time record against SMU is 13-14.
• Tulane has dropped both of its home games this season by a combined six points.
• SMU is the second highest ranked team to ever play inside Yulman Stadium. SMU is just the third ranked opponent to play inside Yulman Stadium since the venue opened in 2014.
• Tulane’s matchup with SMU marked the second straight home game that the Green Wave have played on nationally-televised platform. The Green Wave opened their home slate with a matchup against Navy on ABC back on Sept. 19.
• The gameday captains for this week were DL Patrick Johnson, LB Dorian Williams, OL Corey Dublin and RB Stephon Huderson.
• The Wave of Change flag carrier was LB Patrick Henry.
• The No. 18 flag was carried by LB Nick Anderson.
• The Green Wave scored 30-or-more points for the third time this season.
• This is the first game of the season to go into overtime. The last time Tulane played in overtime was back on Aug. 30, 2018 against Wake Forest.

OFFENSIVE NOTES
• Offensive starters for the Green Wave were QB Michael Pratt, WR Duece Watts, WR Phatt Watts,WR Mykel Jones, RB Stephon Huderson, TE Tyrick James, OL Sincere Haynesworth, OL Corey Dublin, OL Ben Knutson, OL Trey Tuggle and OL Caleb Thomas.
• Mykel Jones had his first career receiving touchdown at Tulane, as he hauled in a 31-yard pass. His 31-yard touchdown catch is also a career long at Tulane.
• Caleb Thomas made his first career start.
• Ben Knutson had his first start of the season.
• Corey Dublin made his 43rd consecutive start.
• Michael Pratt threw for a career-high 192 yards. He also rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another. Pratt has accounted for a rushing touchdown and passing touchdown in every game he has played this season.
• The Green Wave had three scoring drives that spanned 10-or-more plays. In 2020, Tulane has nine scoring drives of 10 plays or more.
• This is the second game this season that Stephon Huderson rushed for more than 100 yards. He finished the game with career-bests in yards (132) and rush attempts (19).
• Duece Watts caught a career long reception of 42 yards. Watts also gained career records with three receptions and 56 receiving yards.

DEFENSIVE NOTES
• Defensive starters for the Green Wave were LB Kevin Henry, S Chase Kuerschen, S Macon Clark, DL Patrick Johnson, DL De’Andre Williams, DL Cameron Sample, DL Jeffrey Johnson, S Larry Brooks, CB Jaylon Monroe, CB Willie Langham and LB Marvin Moody.
• Leading the Green Wave defense was Larry Brooks with 11 total tackles, which is a career high.
• Kevin Henry followed with 7 total tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss and one pass break-up.
• Patrick Johnson tallied one sack. He now has a career total of 20.5 which ranks third all-time.
• De’Andre Williams had his 30th career start for the Green Wave.

SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
• Ryan Wright finished the game with six punts for 286 yards (47.7 average). He also had three punts of 50 yards-or-more.
• Merek Glover had two field goals, with a long distance of 34 yards in this game.
• Larry Brooks had his first career fumble recovery in the first quarter of the game on punt return coverage.

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