Junior safety Shakiel Smith had 10 tackles, including nine solo stops, in Tulane's 31-3 loss to Conference USA foe Tulsa on Saturday in the Louisiana Superdome.
Sept. 10, 2011
NEW ORLEANS - Junior middle linebacker Trent Mackey and junior strong safety Shakiel Smith had 10 tackles each, and the Green Wave defense tallied three sacks among six tackles for loss, but it was not enough as the Tulane University football team dropped its Conference USA opener to Tulsa Saturday afternoon in the Louisiana Superdome.
The Green Wave (1-1, 0-1 C-USA) turned a first-quarter interception by junior cornerback Ryan Travis into a 32-yard Cairo Santos field goal to Tulane a 3-0 advantage 8:22 into the ballgame, but the Golden Hurricane (1-1, 1-0 C-USA) rattled off 31 unanswered points - including 14 off Green Wave turnovers - to come away with the victory.
"We are obviously very disappointed about losing the football game - probably (most) disappointed in the way we lost it," Tulane head football coach Bob Toledo said. "We came out in the first half and I thought we played extremely hard. Our defense did a really nice job, but they got worn down a little bit. Offensively, we threw interception, we had two fumbles, we dropped numerous passes, we had a lot of pressure on the quarterback and we couldn't establish the run game.
"We just have to re-group now. There is a lot of football to be played. We have to go down to Alabama-Birmingham and see if we can win us a league game next week."
For the second consecutive game, Tulane spread the ball around on offense as seven players had at least one rushing attempt and junior quarterback Ryan Griffin completed passes to 11 different receivers. The Green Wave, however, managed just 235 yards of total offense, including 59 rushing on 35 attempts (1.7 avg.).
Tulane also missed a pair of 40-plus yard field goals and turned the ball over three times. All three turnovers came in Tulsa territory to thwart potential scoring drives. Tulsa, meanwhile, racked up 412 yards of total offense (166 rushing, 246 passing) and averaged 6.0 yards per play.
"We turned the ball over too much," Griffin said. "We didn't execute. We got the ball in the red zone and we beat ourselves. We turned the ball over and it wasn't good by us. It was a poor performance."
Following Santos' field goal, Tulsa tied the score on a 28-yard Kevin Fitzpatrick boot 4:34 later, but the Tulane defense kept Tulsa out of the endzone for most of the first half. With 4:08 left to play in the second quarter, Golden Hurricane quarterback G.J. Kinne directed a six-play, 73-yard drive he capped with a five-yard touchdown pass to Bryan Burnham to give his team a 10-3 lead it would not relinquish.
It was the first of two consecutive drives that Tulsa would hit paydirt as the Hurricane opened the second half with a nine-play, 82-yard march which saw Alex Singleton score on a two-yard run over right guard to make it 17-3. Tulane got the ball down to the Tulsa 22-yard line on the ensuing drive, but Santos was wide left on a 44-yard field goal attempt.
Following a Tulsa punt, the Green Wave appeared to have something going as Tulane took possession of the ball at midfield and drove inside the red zone. On second-and-10 from the 15, however, Tulsa defensive end Cory Dorris jarred the ball loose from Tulane running back Albert Williams and Jack Jewell pounced on the loose pigskin at his own 23. Kinne made the miscue hurt as he lofted the ball deep to Burnham at the goal line three plays later. Burham, who was facing tight coverage from junior cornerback Jordan Sullen, tipped the ball up over his head, spun around and caught the deflection to extend the lead to 24-3.
The Golden Hurricane closed out the scoring when Kinne rolled right and found Clay Sears alone in the endzone from one yard out to cap a seven-play, 67-yard drive with 8:47 left in regulation to account for the final score. Tulane got the ball into Tulsa territory in each of its next two drives only to see the scoring chances slip away as Dobbins forced a recovered an Orleans Darkwa fumble with 7:29 to play and Griffin's fourth-down pass attempt fell incomplete 4:07 later.
Griffin ended the day 18-of-39 for 170 yards and senior Joe Kemp once again led the aerial attack with four receptions. Darkwa paced Tulane's run game with 53 yards on 17 carries.
Kinne led all players with 241 yards and three touchdowns on 21-of-29 passing while Burnham accounted for 94 yards on seven receptions. Singleton tallied a game-high 61 rushing yards on nine carries.Cornelius Arnick paced the Tulsa defense with eight tackles.
The Green Wave return to action on Saturday, Sept. 17, when Tulane travels to Birmingham, Ala., to take on UAB at Legion Field. Kickoff for that contest is slated for 3 p.m. The game against the Blazers is the first of three straight road games for Tulane as the Wave will play at Duke on Sept. 24 and at Army on Oct. 1. The Green Wave's next home game will be on Saturday, Oct. 8, when Tulane plays host to Syracuse at 7 p.m. in the Louisiana Superdome.
For ticket information, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office. The Ticket Office is located on the first floor of the James W. Wilson, Jr., Center on Ben Weiner Drive, and tickets can be purchased in person, over the phone at 504-861-WAVE (9283) or via the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.