Sept. 13, 2008
NEW ORLEANS - For the second-straight week, the Tulane football team went toe-to-toe with a top 15 team, but once again Tulane failed to deliver the knock-out blow. The Green Wave led 24-21 in the fourth quarter against No. 14 East Carolina, but a 24-yard touchdown pass with 1:41 remaining in the game helped the Pirates escape the Superdome with a 28-24 victory.
Tulane junior running back Andre Anderson ran for two touchdowns, and gained 82 yards on the ground while red-shirt sophomore quarterback Kevin Moore threw for a career-best 236 yards, including a touchdown.
Three times, Tulane answered Pirates touchdowns with touchdowns of their own before finally taking the lead in the fourth quarter on a field goal by junior kicker Ross Thevenot. But the Pirates responded in the waning minutes with their late score to drop the Green Wave to 0-2 overall and 0-1 in Conference USA. East Carolina improves to 3-0 on the season, 1-0 in C-USA.
The Pirates were led by Patrick Pinkney's 260-yard passing effort, which included two touchdowns on 22-of-32 attempts.
The Tulane defense pounded Pinkney for five sacks by five different players, and the Wave forced four fumbles, recovering three. Senior defensive end Reggie Scott led the Green Wave defense, turning in a sack and his first career interception. Senior linebacker Evan Lee recorded a sack and a fumble recovery, while sophomore linebacker Logan Kelley forced two fumbles.
But once again, an early special teams' play bit Tulane. After a scoreless first, the Pirates' C.J. Wilson blocked a field goal attempt from Thevenot, and Quentin Cotton scooped it up and returned the ball 44 yards for a touchdown for a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter.
The Wave knocked on the doorstep of the end zone midway through the second quarter. After a 12-yard gain by Anderson, Moore hooked up with junior wide out Jeremy Williams for 31 yards down to the four yard line. But the Pirates' defense held the Wave at bay, thwarting Tulane's fourth-down attempt to take over at the two-yard line with 3:32 left before the half.
But on the ensuing ECU drive, Kelley forced the ball free from ECU running back Jon Williams and Lee recovered the fumble for the Wave at the 10 yard line. On third and one, Anderson took the ball up the middle untouched for his third career rushing score, to tie the game at 7-7.
The Pirates sailed down to the 24-yard line before the half, but missed a 41-yard field goal attempt as the half expired.
For the second-straight week, Tulane kept a top 15 team's offense out of the end zone in the first half. The Wave held East Carolina to just 76 yards in the first half, and owned a 21:46 to 8:14 edge in time of possession.
East Carolina opened the second half with a 10-play, 49-yard drive capped by a three-yard touchdown run by Brandon Simmons.
But the Wave struck back, as Williams got behind the ECU safety for a 47-yard touchdown reception from Moore. Williams hauled in the second-and-10 pass at the five and trotted in to tie the game at 14-14 with 8:04 left in the third quarter.
Four plays later, the Pirates' Norman Whitley took a screen pass from Pinkney, and with a caravan traveled 51-yards to the house for a 21-7 lead, on what capped a string of 11 consecutive completions from Pinkney.
Moore found Williams again for a 50-yard gain to the ECU 19, splitting double coverage with a catch in traffic. Anderson took in his second touchdown of the day, also from one yard out, to knot the game once again, at 21-21 with 2:51 left in the third.
On a swing pass to the outside, senior corner Josh Lumar forced an ECU fumble, and senior safety David Skehan recovered the ball at the ECU 31. After Anderson's 13-yard rush, Moore found sophomore fullback Jordan Stephany on an 11-yard gain down to the six, setting up first and goal as the third quarter came to a close. The East Carolina defense held their ground, holding the Wave to a field goal. Thevenot's 28-yarder gave Tulane its first lead of the game, 24-21 with 13:40 left.
Each of the next two drives for both teams ended with punts, as Lee sacked Pinkney on third down, prior to the Wave going three-and-out. On ECU's next possession, Tulane sophomore corner Phillip Davis sacked Dwayne Harris on an end around option pass, and on the next play, Kelley sacked Pinkney and forced the ball free. Senior defensive tackle Julian Shives-Sams recovered the ball for the Green Wave at the ECU 36 with 6:39 to go. But the Pirates held their ground, forcing a punt with 5:46 to go.
After a 27-yard Pinkney pass to Darryl Freeney, Pinkney ran a keeper down to the Tulane 34-yard line. The Pirates converted on third down for just the third time in the game, keeping the drive alive as the game clock reached under two minutes. Two-plays later, Pinkney found Jamar Bryant for a 24-yard touchdown pass for a 28-24 lead with just 1:41 remaining.
The Green Wave moved to midfield before the Pirates stole the ball on an interception by Pierre Bell at the Tulane 47 with 28 seconds left. After a pair of kneel downs, East Carolina could breathe a sigh of relief and raise the Jolly Roger on a victory.
Williams finished with six receptions for 138 yards, the fourth 100-yard receiving game of his career.
The Green Wave will host Louisiana-Monroe in a non-conference home game next Saturday at the Superdome. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m.
Line Score Quarter 1 2 3 4 Final (Record) (14) East Carolina 0 7 14 7 - 28 (3-0; 1-0 C-USA) Tulane 0 7 14 3 - 24 (0-2; 0-1 C-USA)
Scoring Summary QTR Time Team Scoring Play ECU-TLN 2nd 12:16 ECU Quentin Cotton 44-yard field goal block return (Matt Dodge kick) 7-0 2nd 0:59 TLN Andre Anderson 1-yard run (Ross Thevenot kick) 7-7 3rd 9:55 ECU Brandon Simmons 3-yard run (Ben Ryan kick) 14-7 3rd 8:04 TLN Jeremy Williams 47-yard catch from Kevin Moore (Ross Thevenot kick) 14-14 3rd 5:45 ECU Norman Whitley 51-yard catch from Patrick Pickney (Ben Ryan kick) 21-14 3rd 2:51 TLN Andre Anderson 1-yard run (Ross Thevenot kick) 21-21 4th 13:40 TLN Ross Thevenot 28-yard field goal 21-24 4th 1:41 ECU Jamar Bryant 24-yard catch from Patrick Pinkney 28-24