Tulane defensive backs Alex Wacha, Charles Harris and Chinonso Echebelem tackle BYU wide receiver O'Neill Chambers during the first half.
Sept. 12, 2009
NEW ORLEANS - It started out a close game and ended a rout as the Tulane University football team dropped a 54-3 decision to No. 9 BYU Saturday afternoon in the Louisiana Superdome.
BYU held a slight 6-3 lead following a 29-yard field goal by Tulane's Ross Thevenot with 6:03 left in the first half. From there, however, it was all Cougars as BYU got a pair of touchdowns later in the period and scored on four if its first five possessions in the second half. With the loss, the Green Wave fall to 0-2 on the year. BYU, meanwhile, improves to 2-0.
"We played a really good football team today," Tulane head coach Bob Toledo said. "They deserve their ranking. They're an experienced team, they're a very mature team and they know how to win - they've been winning for a long time. They got some real good players and they did a great job of coaching. I think we made them look a little better than what they really are to be perfectly honest with you.
"You can't make that many mistakes against that type of team and even make it competitive. We had sacks early in the game that took us out of drives. We had numerous penalties that took us out of drives - penatlites killed us today, I thought. And then of course we had the interceptions and the fumbles - so we turned the ball over. Defensively, we missed some tackles and we gave up some big, big pass plays."
BYU quarterback Max Hall completed 24-of-31 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns. J.J. DiLuigi ran for 71 yards and two scores on 12 carries, while Bryan Kariya was close behind with 63 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Dennis Pitta and O'Neill Chambers hauled in four passes each for 47 and 38 yards, respectively.
Tulane quarterback Joe Kemp, one of four passers used by the Green Wave on the day, led the team with 101 yards on 14-of-19 passing. Senior wideout Jeremy Williams and freshman receiver Ryan Grant each hauled in five passes apiece, and senior running back André Anderson led the Tulane ground effort with 36 yards on 12 carries.
BYU got on the board first as Mitch Payne capped a 10-play, 45-yard drive with a 31-yard field goal less than nine minutes into the ballgame and put the Cougars on top 6-0 with a 20-yarder 45 seconds into the second quarter. After getting just a pair of first downs on their first two possessions, the Green Wave offense got things going in the second stanza and drove from their own 32 down to the Cougar 12. BYU's defense kept Tulane out of the endzone and Thevenot's field goal made it a 6-3 ballgame.
From there, the Cougar offense turned things up a notch, driving 67 yards in just 2:35 capped by a one-yard touchdown jaunt by Brian Kariya and turned a Tulane interception into another score as Hall connected with Kariya for 12 yards with 25 seconds to play in the first half to go into the locker room on top, 20-3.
Tulane senior defensive back Chinonso Echebelem picked off Hall on BYU's first possession of the second half, but that was perhaps the Green Wave's lone highlight the rest of the way.
DiLuigi scored his first touchdown of the day on a three-yard run to cap a 13-play, 89-yard drive with 6:24 left to play in the third quarter, and Hall found McKay Jacobson deep for a 38-yard touchdown strike just over three minutes later to stretch the Cougar lead to 34-3. DiLuigi found paydirt again 1:53 into the fourth quarter
The Cougar defense, meanwhile, forced a pair of fumbles, including one returned by Jordan Pendleton for a 12-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter. The defense got into the scoring mix on the ensuing possession when Terrance Hooks forced a fumble, which was picked up by Jordan Pendleton and returned 12 yards for a score. Backup quarterback Riley Nelson closed out the scoring with a one-yard keeper with 2:00 remaining in the ballgame to account for the final score.
Echebelem paced the Tulane defense with nine tackles, including six solo stops, while junior defensive back Alex Wacha was next with eight. True freshman defensive lineman Shane Delery posted the team's only tackle for loss, and both Wacha and redshirt-freshman Alex Lauricella tallied a pass break-up.
Shawn Doman, Matt Bouman and Scott Johnson tied for the BYU tackle lead with five each. Grant Nelson posted a pair of sacks on the day while Brian Logan and Craig Bills each had interceptions.
The Green Wave return to action on Saturday, Sept. 26, when they play host to McNeese State at 2:30 p.m. in the Louisiana Superdome. For ticket information, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office at 504-861-WAVE. Tickets can be purchased in person, over the phone or via the internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.