Sept. 12, 2010
NEW ORLEANS - Sophomore wide receiver D.J. Banks had a career-high 85 yards on six catches and sophomore linebacker Trent Mackey posted a personal-best 14 tackles (10 solo, 4 assists), but it was not enough as the Tulane University football team dropped a 27-13 decision to Ole Miss Saturday evening at the Louisiana Superdome.
Trailing 24-3 at halftime, the Green Wave outscored the Rebels 10-3 over the final 30 minutes of play. A fumble on the opening drive of the second half and big plays by the Ole Miss offense throughout the game, however, cost Tulane in the long run. With the loss, Tulane falls to 1-1 on the year. The Rebels, meanwhile, improved to 1-1.
"First of all, let me say that I'm disappointed that we lost the football game," Tulane head football coach Bob Toledo said. "The team is disappointed as well but we're extremely proud of the effort that we made. I'm proud of my guys. They battled 60 minutes and did a heck of a job. It was a heck of a football game.
"You take away the touchdown pass just before half, you take away the long pass where the guy made a double move, and made a big play and got a field goal out of it - that's ten points. And then you take away our fumble inside the five and it's an interesting football game. I was just disappointed that those few plays happened, but that's football. You take a handful of plays every game and it's the difference in winning and losing."
For the second consecutive game, all of Tulane's points came via true freshmen as running back Orleans Darkwa scored the Green Wave's lone touchdown on a one-yard plunge with 1:51 to go in the third quarter while rookie kicker Cairo Santos drilled field goals of 19 and 38 yards and was true on his extra point try. The difference in the ballgame was big plays by the Rebels who out-gained the Green Wave in total offense, 374-312, and posted five sacks for 40 yards in losses defensively.
Ole Miss wasted little time taking the lead as quarterback Jeremiah Masoli capped a seven-play, 42-yard drive to open the ballgame with a one-yard touchdown run on fourth down to give the Rebels a 7-0 lead they would not relinquish. Following a Tulane punt, Ole Miss marched 78 yards on 11 plays and chewed 5:45 off the clock to take a two-touchdown lead when Brandon Bolden touched paydirt from 16 yards out.
The Tulane defense held tough for most of the remainder of the half, and the offense showed signs of life as the Green Wave mounted a 10-play, 77-yard drive midway through the second quarter which culminated in Santos' first field goal of the night.
The defense held Ole Miss to a 41-yard field goal by Bryson Rose on the ensuing drive but a 70-yard scoring strike from Masoli to Markeith Summers with 1:19 left in the half put Tulane down by 21 heading into the break.
After winning the coin toss and deferring until the second half, Tulane took the third-quarter kickoff and marched down to the Ole Miss five-yard line following a seven-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Ryan Griffin to senior wide receiver Casey Robottom. On the very next play, however, sophomore running back Payten Jason mishandled an option pitch from Griffin, and Jason Jones recovered for the Rebels to halt the drive.
Tulane's defense held Ole Miss to a three-and-out, and the Green Wave followed with a 12-play, 84-yard drive that Darkwa capped with his touchdown to cut the deficit to 24-10. Following an interception by senior cornerback Phillip Davis, the Wave trimmed the Rebels' advantage to 11 when Santos connected on a season-long 38-yard field goal with 10:24 left in regulation.
Two plays into the ensuing drive, however, Masoli connected with Summes for a 61-yard gain down the right sideline and Rose split the uprights with a 29-yard field goal four plays later to account for the final score. Tulane had its chances to make things interesting late but went three-and-out on its next possession and gave up three sacks on its final drive before time expired.
"I thought we made big strides," Toledo said. "We ran the ball better this week. I thought we threw the ball vertically better this week. We didn't give up as many long passes this week, but we've got to continue to work on protection. Let's give Masoli credit, too. The guy is a mobile quarterback. He throws the ball well. He's a tough little guy. He's a tough competitor. You can see why he was up for the Heisman and why Oregon won as many games as they did."
For the game, Griffin completed 21-of-30 passes for 203 yards while Robottom had seven catches for 41yards. Darkwa led all players with 53 yards rushing and sophomore running back Albert Williams was close behind with 40 yards on seven carries.
Mackey's tackle total led all players and sophomore cornerback Ryan Travis was next for the Green Wave with 10 tackles (6 solo, 4 assists). As a team, Tulane posted five tackles for loss - one each by Mackey, Travis, sophomore linebacker Darryl Farley, senior defensive tackle Justin Adams and freshman linebacker Dominique Robertson.
Masoli led Ole Miss with 281 passing yards after completing 14-of-20 passes and Enrique Davis paced the Rebels' ground attack with 40 yards on 14 carries. Summers posted a game-high 165 receiving yards on five catches while Brandon Bolden had four receptions for 36 yards.
Jonathan Cornell led the Rebel defense with 11 tackles (7 solo, 4 assists) and a game-high three sacks. Charles Sawyer was next with 10 stops (7 solo, 3 assists) while Wayne Dorsey and Kentrell Lockett each had single tackles for loss.
The Green Wave will enjoy an open date next week and return to action on Saturday, Sept. 25, when they travel to the Lone Star State to take on Conference USA foe Houston at 2:30 p.m. at Robertson Stadium. The game is the first of two straight road contests for Tulane, which will play at Rutgers on Oct. 2 before returning to the Superdome for a Homecoming showdown with Army on Oct. 9.
For ticket information to the Homecoming contest, as well as future Green Wave Athletic events, contact the Tulane Ticket Office at (504) 861-WAVE. Tickets can be purchase in the Ticket Office, which is located on the first floor of the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center, over the phone or online at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.