Football
Year-By-Year Summaries (1980s)
 
The 1987 Green Wave scored more points than any other team in Tulane team in the first 100 years of the program. Marc Zeno closed his career as the NCAA's career leader with 3,725 receiving yards.
 
The 1987 Green Wave scored more points than any other team in Tulane team in the first 100 years of the program. Marc Zeno closed his career as the NCAA's career leader with 3,725 receiving yards.
 
 

1980 (7-5)
Head Coach: Vince Gibson

New head coach Vince Gibson led Tulane to a 7-4 regular season record and an invitation to the Hall of Fame Bowl, marking the first time the Green Wave participated in postseason play in consecutive seasons.

Senior quarterback Nickie Hall, who had spent three seasons in the shadow of the great Roch Hontas, finally got his chance and delivered, tying Hontas' single-season TD pass mark of 21 while passing and running for a school-record 174 points. Against SMU, Hall set a total offense record with 384 yards, including an 84-yard pass to Marcus Anderson, then the longest in school history. Against Rice, Hall threw five TD passes and Robert Griffin caught four of them.

Defensively, linebackers Frank Robinson, Marty Wetzel and middle guard Wilfred Simon all had more than 100 tackles for the second consecutive season. Cornerback Lionel Washington, who went on to a fine NFL career with the Raiders, led the team with five interceptions.

The 1980 season was not short on exciting finishes, as kicker Vince Manalla kicked field goals to beat Ole Miss and Kentucky with no time remaining. After a 2-3 start, Tulane won five in a row to clinch the bowl bid. Win No. 5 was a special one, as Hall ran for two TDs and passed for another to lead Tulane to its first win over Georgia Tech in Atlanta since 1933.

                                                  Ranking
Date  Opponent                Location            Tul/Opp  Score  Result  Attendance
S6    Southern Miss           New Orleans, La.             14-17    L     44,698
S13   at Stanford             Palo Alto, Calif.    NR/13   14-19    L     54,829
S20   Rice                    New Orleans, La.             35-14    W     40,321
S27   at Ole Miss             Oxford, Miss.                26-24    W     37,419
O4    SMU                     New Orleans, La.             21-31    L     42,563
O11   at Vanderbilt           Nashville, Tenn.             43-21    W     35,960
O18   Air Force               New Orleans, La.             28-7     W     28,101
O25   at Georgia Tech         Atlanta, Ga.                 31-14    W     35,117
N1    Kentucky                New Orleans, La.             24-22    W     42,139
N15   Memphis                 New Orleans, La.             21-16    W     33,184
N22   at LSU                  Baton Rouge, La.             7-24     L     69,248
      HALL OF FAME BOWL
D27   Arkansas                Birmingham, Ala.             15-34    L     30,000

1981 (6-5)
Head Coach: Vince Gibson

With the graduation of Nickie Hall, it took a while to fill in the hole. When coach Vince Gibson finally found his man, junior college transfer Mike McKay, the team went from mediocre to excellent in a hurry. The Green Wave sputtered to an 0-4 start, but McKay came on late in game four and flashed the form that helped turn things around.

With McKay under center, the Wave won six of its last seven games. In eight games, McKay completed 78-of-124 passes for 927 yards with three interceptions and 10 TDs. Running back Marvin Lewis had a big year, rushing for 860 yards and nine TDs. Tight end Rodney Holman ended his career as the Green Wave's all-time leader with 135 catches.

The strength of the 1981 team was on defense, as the Green Wave allowed fewer points (144) than any Tulane team since college football went to an 11-game schedule in 1970. Defensive lineman Brian Douglas had 23 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, and linebackers Darryl Tipton, Ricky Goff, Jeff Roberts and Sly McGrew all had at least 100 tackles.

Four of the five losses were by nine points or less, including a 13-5 decision to '81 national champion Clemson. In the finale, Tulane crushed LSU, 48-7, to record its second win over the Tigers in three years.

                                                  Ranking
Date  Opponent                Location            Tul/Opp  Score  Result  Attendance
S5    Ole Miss                New Orleans, La.             18-19    L     43,685
S12   Clemson                 New Orleans, La.             5-13     L     45,736
S19   at Southern Miss        Hattiesburg, Miss.           3-21     L     32,756
O3    at Rice                 Houston, Texas               16-20    L     17,000
O10   Vanderbilt              New Orleans, La.             14-10    W     32,431
O17   at Air Force            Colorado Spr., Colo.         31-13    W     18,467
O24   Georgia Tech            New Orleans, La.             27-10    W     37,431
O31   at Cincinnati           Cincinnati, Ohio             13-17    L     19,486
N7    Maryland                New Orleans, La.             14-7     W     32,474
N14   at Memphis              Memphis, Tenn.               24-7     W     14,827
N28   LSU                     New Orleans, La.             48-7     W     71,546

1982 (4-7)
Head Coach: Vince Gibson

Vince Gibson's last Tulane squad was the only one to finish with a losing record, but the 1982 team ended its season in style with a win over Orange Bowl-bound LSU in Tiger Stadium. With the rain pouring down and time running out, Mike McKay tossed a fourth-down, 31-yard TD pass to fullback Reggie Reginelli for the game-winner in a come-from-behind 31-28 victory. It was the third and final lead change of the day and marked Tulane's third win over LSU in four seasons.

McKay threw for 1,903 yards and finished as Tulane's career leader in completion percentage. His prime target was Robert Griffin, who had a then-record 56 catches. Tony Wood had a strong season kicking, booting 52- and 53-yard field goals and going perfect on 22 extra points.

                                                  Ranking
Date  Opponent                Location            Tul/Opp  Score  Result  Attendance
S4    Mississippi State       New Orleans, La.             21-30    L     53,641
S11   at SMU                  Dallas, Texas        NR/8    7-51     L     33,814
S18   Rice                    New Orleans, La.             30-6     W     33,460
O2    at Vanderbilt           Nashville, Tenn.             21-24    L     39,456
O9    Georgia Tech            New Orleans, La.             13-19    L     34,321
O16   Southern Miss           New Orleans, La.             10-22    L     39,685
O23   Memphis                 New Orleans, La.             17-10    W     26,710
O30   Baylor                  New Orleans, La.             30-15    W     23,463
N6    at Ole Miss             Jackson, Miss.               14-45    L     23,314
N20   Florida                 New Orleans, La.             7-21     L     27,795
N27   at LSU                  Baton Rouge, La.     NR/12   31-28    W     76,114

1983 (2-9)
Head Coach: Wally English

Wally English began a controversial two-year reign as Tulane's head coach in 1983. The day before the season opener with Mississippi State, Jon English, Wally's son, filed suit against the NCAA and Tulane, alleging that he was unjustly being deprived of a final season of eligibility. He received a temporary restraining order that allowed him to play while the case worked its way through the courts, and played in six games before his attorneys ran out of legal maneuvers and he was declared ineligible. The two games that Tulane won during that time were forfeited to Ole Miss and Florida State, and the Green Wave wound up 2-9.

Future NFL performers like Bubby Brister, Don Maggs, Ron Tilton and Burnell Dent dotted the roster. Brister left the team after being replaced by Jon English midway through the first two games. Dent set a TU record for tackles in a season with 172.

                                                  Ranking
Date  Opponent                Location            Tul/Opp  Score  Result  Attendance
S3    at Mississippi State    Starkville, Miss.            9-14     L     27,311
S10   Ole Miss#               New Orleans, La.             27-23    L     33,389
S17   Florida State#          New Orleans, La.     NR/9    34-28    L     35,463
S24   at Kentucky             Lexington, Ky.               14-26    L     57,425
O1    Vanderbilt              New Orleans, La.             17-30    L     30,756
O8    at Memphis              Memphis, Tenn.               25-28    L     29,367
O15   UL-Lafayette            New Orleans, La.             17-15    W     26,980
O22   at Southern Miss        Hattiesburg, Miss.           14-7     W     31,257
O29   at Baylor               Waco, Texas                  18-24    L     20,050
N5    Virginia Tech           New Orleans, La.             10-26    L     21,391
N24   LSU                     New Orleans, La.             7-20     L     51,765
      #Tulane later forfeited game

1984 (3-8)
Head Coach: Wally English

Coach Wally English led the Green Wave to a 3-8 record in his final season as head coach. Notre Dame transfer Ken Karcher took over the starting quarterback spot. His favorite target was sophomore tight end Larry Route, who led the squad with 46 catches. Mike Jones led the team in rushing with 573 yards, including 129 in the season finale with LSU. Linebacker Burnell Dent led the team in tackles again (139).

The Tulane-LSU game was called with less than a minute remaining when a bench-clearing brawl broke out between the teams on an extra point attempt. English's two-year tenure ended the following week when Tulane announced it would seek a new head coach.

                                                  Ranking
Date  Opponent                Location            Tul/Opp  Score  Result  Attendance
S1    Mississippi State       New Orleans, La.             3-30     L     38,695
S15   at Florida              Gainesville, Fla.            21-63    L     65,265
S22   Kentucky                New Orleans, La.             26-30    L     16,505
S29   at Ole Miss             Oxford, Miss.                14-19    L     33,866
O6    at Vanderbilt           Nashville, Tenn.             27-23    W     41,216
O13   Southern Miss           New Orleans, La.             35-7     W     30,734
O20   at Florida State        Tallahassee, Fla.    NR/15   6-27     L     54,785
N3    at Virginia Tech        Blacksburg, Va.              6-13     L     30,400
N10   at Pittsburgh           Pittsburgh, Pa.              10-21    L     20,159
N17   Memphis                 New Orleans, La.             14-9     W     20,109
N24   at LSU                  Baton Rouge, La.             15-33    L     77,983

1985 (1-10)
Head Coach: Mack Brown

Mack Brown, barely 34 at the start of the 1985 season, took over the head coaching and athletic director responsibilities and set about to rebuild the football program. The Green Wave went just 1-10 in 1985, but Brown stayed the course and slowly righted the ship.

The major positive development of Brown's first year was the signing of quarterback Terrence Jones, who went on to be one of Tulane's all-time greats. With Ken Karcher returning as the No. 1 quarterback, Jones volunteered to play tailback and led the team in rushing.

The season opened with eight straight losses before Tulane beat Southwestern Louisiana for its only win. Marc Zeno set a Tulane season records with 73 catches for 1,137 yards in 1985 and set a then-single-game mark with 208 yards against LSU. Linebacker Burnell Dent led Tulane in tackles for the third straight season with 120.

                                                  Ranking
Date  Opponent                Location            Tul/Opp  Score  Result  Attendance
A31   Florida State           New Orleans, La.     NR/19   12-38    L     37,478
S14   at TCU                  Fort Worth, Texas            13-30    L     31,512
S21   at Kentucky             Lexington, Ky.               11-16    L     56,812
S28   Ole Miss                New Orleans, La.             10-27    L     32,578
O5    Vanderbilt              New Orleans, La.             17-24    L     25,979
O12   at Memphis              Memphis, Tenn.               21-38    L     31,298
O19   at Mississippi State    Starkville, Miss.            27-31    L     30,420
N2    at Georgia              Athens, Ga.                  3-58     L     81,407
N9    UL-Lafayette            New Orleans, La.             27-17    W     24,040
N23   at Southern Miss        Hattiesburg, Miss.           6-24     L     21,753
N30   LSU                     New Orleans, La.             19-31    L     64,194

1986 (4-7)
Head Coach: Mack Brown

Coach Mack Brown's second team took some lumps, but the record improved to 4-7 as it became obvious that better days were ahead. One reason for that was the emergence of sophomore QB Terrence Jones. In the opener vs. TCU, Jones set a school record with 388 passing yards and 484 yards of total offense, and when the season was over he had thrown for 2,124 yards with just seven interceptions while completing 159-of-284 pass attempts.

Receiver Marc Zeno had a dynamite junior season, catching 68 passes for 1,033 yards while setting Tulane career marks for receptions and yards. Fullback Rodney Hunter led the squad in rushing with 657 yards, the most by a Tulane back since 1981. Defensively, linebacker Richard Harvey and defensive back Thurston Harrison each had over 100 tackles.

                                                  Ranking
Date  Opponent                Location            Tul/Opp  Score  Result  Attendance
S13   TCU                     New Orleans, La.             31-48    L     34,187
S20   at Vanderbilt           Nashville, Tenn.             35-17    W     40,155
S27   at Ole Miss             Oxford, Miss.                10-35    L     25,000
O4    Wichita State           New Orleans, La.             20-21    L     24,481
O11   at Florida State        Tallahassee, Fla.            21-54    L     53,701
O18   Mississippi State       New Orleans, La.     NR/13   27-34    L     47,263
O25   Southern Miss           New Orleans, La.             35-20    W     28,417
N1    UL-Lafayette            New Orleans, La.             42-39    W     44,132
N8    Louisville              New Orleans, La.             12-23    L     22,108
N15   Memphis                 New Orleans, La.             15-6     W     23,614
N29   at LSU                  Baton Rouge, La.             17-37    L     78,131

1987 (6-6)
Head Coach: Mack Brown

Coach Mack Brown's last Tulane team was an exciting one, scoring and giving up more points than any other squad in the first 100 years of Green Wave football. It was a competitive club that finished the regular season with a 6-5 record, with three of the losses by seven points or less. After the regular season, Tulane played in its eighth bowl game, facing Washington in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport.

Tulane's Marc Zeno set the NCAA career receiving yardage record as he ended his college career with 3,725 yards. Zeno's 77 receptions and 1,206 yards surpassed his own school marks and he earned All-America honors.

Junior quarterback Terrence Jones was on the throwing end of nearly all of Zeno's receptions that fall as he set new Green Wave records for passing yards and total offense. With a full season left, Jones was already Tulane's career total offense leader. Tailback Marvin Allen scored 11 TDs, including four against Virginia Tech on three short runs and a 76-yard bomb from Jones. Tulane triumphed 57-38 to record the most points by the Green Wave since 1950. On the season, Tulane amassed a school-record 370 points.

The Green Wave and LSU played one of the great games in the series in 1987, as the Tigers scored in the final minute to win 41-36. Just prior to the Independence Bowl, Brown announced he was leaving to become head coach at North Carolina. He coached the bowl game, which the Green Wave lost, 24-12, to Washington.

                                                  Ranking
Date  Opponent                Location            Tul/Opp  Score  Result  Attendance
S5    at Louisville           Louisville, Ky.              40-42    L     32,242
S12   Iowa State              New Orleans, La.             25-12    W     27,561
S19   at Southern Miss        Hattiesburg, Miss.           24-31    L     16,023
S26   Ole Miss                New Orleans, La.             31-24    W     40,302
O3    Vanderbilt              New Orleans, La.             27-17    W     34,878
O17   at Memphis              Memphis, Tenn.               36-45    L     32,751
O24   Virginia Tech           New Orleans, La.             57-38    W     31,280
O31   at Florida State        Tallahassee, Fla.    NR/4    14-73    L     52,210
N7    at Mississippi State    Starkville, Miss.            30-19    W     23,647
N14   UL-Lafayette            New Orleans, La.             38-10    W     31,253
N21   LSU                     New Orleans, La.             36-41    L     70,168
      INDEPENDENCE BOWL
D19   Washington              Shreveport, La.              12-24    L     41,683

1988 (5-6)
Head Coach: Greg Davis

Greg Davis, Tulane's assistant head coach under Mack Brown, was promoted to the top spot in 1988 and led the team to a 5-6 record. The Green Wave started 3-1, but a four-game losing skid dampened chances for a winning season. Tulane bounced back with wins over Ole Miss and Mississippi State, but dropped the finale at LSU to finish a game below .500.

The 1988 season marked the end of the fabulous college career of Terrence Jones, who accumulated 9,445 yards of total offense to rank among the top 10 in NCAA history. Jones shattered nearly every career passing record during his four years on campus and led Tulane in rushing and passing in 1988.

He had a new target in converted quarterback Jerome McIntosh, who caught 52 passes for 908 yards and seven TDs. Michael Pierce also emerged as an offensive threat as he brokeTommy Mason's 28-year-old record for all-purpose yardage with 1,644. Defensively, Mitchell Price intercepted five passes, while linebacker Richard Harvey led the team in tackles for the third straight season.

                                                  Ranking
Date  Opponent                Location            Tul/Opp  Score  Result  Attendance
S3    Chattanooga             New Orleans, La.             33-19    W     21,777
S10   at Iowa State           Ames, Iowa                   13-30    L     41,780
S17   Kansas State            New Orleans, La.             20-16    W     24,490
S24   Memphis                 New Orleans, La.             20-19    W     26,426
O1    Florida State           New Orleans, La.     NR/6    28-48    L     34,364
O8    Southern Miss           New Orleans, La.             13-38    L     22,704
O22   Louisville              New Orleans, La.             35-38    L     24,824
O29   UL-Lafayette            New Orleans, La.             34-51    L     26,687
N5    at Ole Miss             Oxford, Miss.                14-9     W     32,000
N19   Mississippi State       New Orleans, La.             27-22    W     20,176
N26   at LSU                  Baton Rouge, La.             14-44    L     75,497

1989 (4-8)
Head Coach: Greg Davis

In 1989, Coach Greg Davis and his team took on the first 12-game regular season schedule in the school's history.

Deron Smith took over at quarterback and set season records for pass attempts, completions and yards. Jerome McIntosh was the team's leading receiver for the second straight season, catching 55 passes for 899 yards. Smith and McIntosh put on a clinic in a 37-13 win at Vanderbilt, connecting 11 times for 271 yards, including a 77-yard TD pass. Smith threw for 370 yards that afternoon and McIntosh's 271 yards are the most ever by a Tulane receiver.

Fullback Chance Miller gained 99 yards in the opener at Hawaii before injuring his knee. He missed the next six games after undergoing surgery, but ran for 106 yards against Memphis in his second game back.

                                                  Ranking
Date  Opponent                Location            Tul/Opp  Score  Result  Attendance
S2    at Hawai'i              Honolulu, Hawai'i            26-31    L     47,489
S9    Rice                    New Orleans, La.             20-19    W     29,469
S16   UL-Lafayette            New Orleans, La.             17-10    W     28,144
S23   at Florida State        Tallahassee, Fla.            9-59     L     61,613
S30   Iowa State              New Orleans, La.             24-25    L     20,156
O7    at Southern Miss        Hattiesburg, Miss.           21-30    L     18,891
O21   Ole Miss                New Orleans, La.             28-32    L     34,291
O28   at Virginia Tech        Blacksburg, Va.              13-30    L     26,353
N4    Memphis                 New Orleans, La.             38-34    W     24,861
N11   at Mississippi State    Starkville, Miss.            7-27     L     25,105
N18   at Vanderbilt           Nashville, Tenn.             37-13    W     30,174
N25   LSU                     New Orleans, La.             7-27     L     41,573

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