Tulane thumps USF on Senior Day, 45-14

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Tulane beats USF
(Photo: Parker Waters)

NEW ORLEANS – An offensive outburst of 35 unanswered points in the first half by the Tulane University football team (2-9) carried the Green Wave to a 45-14 victory over South Florida (2-9) at Yulman Stadium on Saturday.

With the win, head coach Willie Fritz moved into a tie with Henry E. Frnka for the fifth most head coaching wins at Tulane with 31.

Tulane scored 28 points in the first quarter for the first time since it posted the same score against Southern on Sept. 10, 2016, at Yulman Stadium. The 45 unanswered by the Wave was the largest scoring run by Tulane since it scored 45-straight points earlier this season against Morgan State on Sept. 11.

As a team, Tulane outgained the Bulls 501-297. The Green Wave posted a season-best 311 yards through the air and surpassed 100 yards rushing for the ninth time this season with 190 yards on 35 carries.

“It was just a good, solid team win,” Fritz said. “In all three phases we played well and we had zero penalties. I don’t know the last time we had zero penalties.”

Freshman Michael Pratt eclipsed 300 yards passing for the first time in his career completing 79 percent (19-24) for 311 yards and three touchdowns. This marks the 15th game with multiple touchdown passes in Pratt’s career and the seventh this season. Nine different receivers hauled in at least one catch, as Shae Wyatt led the Tulane air attack with four catches for 89 yards. Jaetavian Toles, Cam Carroll and Tyrick Wallace accounted for the three receiving scores for the Wave.

“It was awesome to see the offense dominate,” Pratt said. “The offense finally went out there and started early. That’s been one of the biggest things for us is needing to go out there and start fast and that’s what we did today. The energy transferred to the defense and it just kept going all day.”

Redshirt freshman Tyjae Spears led the Green Wave on the ground with career-high 111 yards on 13 carries. He also found the endzone twice for his team-best sixth and seventh rushing touchdowns of the season.

Defensively, Tulane recorded five total sacks and forced a pair of turnovers. Sophomore Dorian Williams led the Wave with six total tackles. Jeffery Johnson led Tulane with two stops in the backfield including one sack. Macon Clark with an interception and Jaylon Monroe with a fumble recovery combined to force the turnovers for the Wave.

“Coach Fritz said before the game ‘let’s go out there and give it our all,'” junior linebacker Nick Anderson stated. “This season didn’t really hand us a good card but it’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish. It was about your attitude, having pride, and being on your home field one last time this year and going out there to give it your all. And that’s what we did. I’m so proud of this team.”

Merek Glover passed Seth Marler with 334 points to become Tulane’s all-time scoring leader after knocking through the extra point on the Green Wave’s first touchdown of the day. He currently sits at 337 career points.

The Wave was rolling in the first quarter scoring 28 unanswered points after USF scored a touchdown on the opening drive of the game. Spears opened the scoring for Tulane with a 69-yard touchdown for his sixth rushing score of the season. Macon Clark’s fourth interception of the year set up Tulane to take the lead on a nine-yard touchdown catch by Cam Carroll. After a three-and-out by the Bulls, Pratt connected with Tyrick James for a 30-yard score. In the final minute of the quarter, Spears found the endzone again this time from six yards out.

The offense slowed down for Tulane in the second quarter as the Green Wave scored once on a 48-yard pass from Pratt to Toles. The Green Wave defense kept the Bulls scoreless in the quarter to head into the locker room with a 35-7 advantage at the half.

Tulane tallied 356 yards of total offense in the first half with Pratt accounting for 230 through the air and Spears led the ground attack with 94 yards on eight carries for two touchdowns.

Carroll’s second score of the contest and his first on the ground accounted for the only points of the third quarter. The Tulane defense limited the Bulls to just 29 yards in the quarter including nine yards on nine carries.

The Green Wave added a 36-yard field goal from Glover early in the fourth quarter. USF accounted for the final points of the contest as it found the endzone with 5:37 remaining. Tulane claimed the win by a final tally of 45-14.

“You go through this adversity and a lot of times it reveals character or a lack of character,” Fritz said. “Our guys have done a good job of staying together and not acting a fool.”

Tulane is back in action for the season finale Saturday, Nov. 27, on the road against Memphis. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. CT and will be aired on ESPNU.

TULANE 45, USF 14 – POSTGAME NOTES (14,496)

TEAM NOTES
• The Green Wave’s matchup with USF served as Tulane’s final home game of the 2021 campaign.
• Prior to the game, Tulane honored 16 players as part of senior day. Tulane players Noah Seidan, Cameron Jackel, Matt Smith, JoJo Dorceus, Merek Glover, Jeffery Johnson, Corey Dublin, Ryan Wright, Connor Prouet, Marvin Moody, Darrian Rakestraw, Ajani Kerr, Kevin Henry, Jaetavian Toles, Cyron Sutton and Jaylon Monroe were all recognized as part of Senior Day.
• With the win, Tulane snapped it’s eight game loss streak.
• Tulane did not commit a penalty for the entire game.
• In their third matchup against USF, the Green Wave claimed their first win against the Bulls at Yulman Stadium. Tulane has won its last two meetings against USF by a combined 57 points.
• Tulane went into halftime leading 35-7. In the 2021 season, the Wave won both games where they held the lead at halftime.
• Since 2016, Tulane is 22-3 when scoring 35 points or more.
• The Green Wave won the turnover battle for the fourth straight week.
• In the first half, Tulane had 356 yards of total offense while holding USF to 201 yards.
• Tulane finished the game with 501 total offense yards.
• Nick Anderson, Dorian Williams, Sincere Hayesworth and Michael Pratt served as the team captains.
• Kicker Merek Glover became Tulane’s all-time leading scorer, passing former kicker Seth Marler. He currently has 342 career points.
• With the win, head coach Willie Fritz moved to 224-116-1 all-time. Fritz’s win also moved him into a tie for fifth place all-time for head coaching wins at Tulane.

OFFENSIVE NOTES
• Offensive starters for the Green Wave were QB Michael Pratt, RB Tyjae Spears, WR Duece Watts, WR Jaetavian Toles, WR Phat Watts, OL Caleb Thomas, OL Sincere Haynesworth, OL Corey Dublin, OL Rashad Green, OL Joey Claybrook, TE Tyrick James.
• Pratt has thrown a touchdown pass in19 of his 20 career games. He now has 40 career touchdown passes which ranks seventh in program history.
• Pratt began the game by going 6-for-6. His third quarter interception snapped a streak of 128 straight attempts without a pick.
• Pratt threw for 311 yards, marking a career high. The last time Tulane passed for over 300 yards was against ECU in 2018.
• Pratt’s three first-half touchdowns also tied his career high.
• Jaetavian Toles hauled in a career long 48-yard touchdown reception.
• Tyjae Spears ran for over 100 yards for the second time this season. Spears also rushed for a season-high two touchdowns.
• Junior wide receiver Shae Wyatt totaled a career-high 89 receiving yards.
• As a team Tulane rushed for over 100 yards. Tulane has now rushed for 100 yards or more in 73 of its last 76 games.

DEFENSIVE NOTES
• Defensive starters for the Green Wave were LB Nick Anderson, LB Dorian Williams, DB Jaylon Monroe, DB Jadon Canady, DB Larry Brooks, DB Macon Clark, DL Angelo Anderson, DL Darius Hodges, DL JoJo Dorceus, DL Jeffery Johnson, DL Adonis Friloux.
• Clark and Williams tied for the team lead with six tackles.
• Clark also had an interception for the second straight game.
• The Green Wave totaled five sacks tying their previous season high.

SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
• Punter Ryan Wright averaged 46 yards a punt, kicking three times for 139 yards. Wright dropped one inside the 20.
• Earlier this season, Wright was selected as a Ray Guy award semifinalist.

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