Oct. 13, 2007
BIRMINGHAM, ALA.-Senior running back Matt Forté ran for 209 yards and a touchdown, and sophomore wide receiver Jeremy Williams posted a career-best 133 receiving yards, but it was not enough as the Tulane University football team dropped a 26-21 decision to Conference USA foe UAB Saturday evening at Legion Field.
Tulane trailed 26-14 with four minutes remaining in the ballgame and the Green Wave made things interesting when Williams hauled in a six-yard scoring strike from sophomore quarterback Anthony Scelfo with 2:06 remaining. Following a failed on-side kick attempt, the Green Wave had another chance to score as the Tulane defense forced a three-and-out. The Wave drove 24 yards to 44 yard line, but redshirt-freshman quarterback Kevin Moore's heave downfield on fourth-and-20 fell harmlessly to the ground to thwart the come-back attempt.
"We just self destructed," Tulane head coach Bob Toledo said. "On the first drive of the second half, they go down and throw a long pass. We're right there to make a play, but don't make it. They had a kickoff return for a touchdown, and we just self destruct. We have to learn how to win.
"We have some guys who don't know how to win on this football team. I mean there's penalty after penalty after penalty, and you can't get any drives going. It's impossible to get any continuity when you're doing that. We've got some guys really working hard and doing a great job, and those guys are suffering because a handful of guys are making too darn many mistakes."
Tulane out-gained UAB in total offense, 504-372, but saw 12 penalties halt drives. A pair of interceptions also cost the Green Wave as both came deep inside Blazer's territory.
Things went well for Tulane early on as Forté put the Wave on the board first with a eight-yard scoring run with 11:36 left to play in the first half. UAB tied the ballgame shortly thereafter as Frantrell Forrest returned the ensuing kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown.
The Green Wave got the points right back when Scelfo connected with junior wideout Brian King for a 31-yard scoring strike just over three minutes later. On the next drive, the Blazers drove 83 yards down the field and caught a lucky break as Dexter Barnett fumbled near the goal line, only to fall on it in the endzone for a touchdown. UAB kicker Swayze Waters, however, missed the PAT and couldn't connect from 33-yards out at the end of the half as the Green Wave went into the locker room leading 14-13.
The Blazers wasted little time establishing control of the game early in the second half as Sam Hunt connected with Forrest for a 57-yard strike to give UAB a first down at the Tulane 17 and capped the drive with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Joseph Webb to put the home team ahead 20-14.
The score remained that way for the rest of the third quarter, but Waters opened the fourth with a 47-yard field goal and addeda 21-yarder three possessions later to give the Blazers a comfortable 26-14 lead.
Scelfo led the Green Wave 80 yards on 10 plays, capping it with his six-yard pass to Williams, to make things interesting, but following Moore's Hail Mary attempt, UAB knelt on the ball to milk the final seconds off the clock.
Forté's 209 yards marked his second consecutive 200-plus yard rushing game and third of the season, but it was for naught as the Green Wave came up short in the end. He now has 919 yards and nine touchdowns rushing on the season, and is on pace to shatter the Tulane single-season rushing record.
"That's what makes me sick," Toledo said. "There are some guys out there busting their fannies and a handful of guys are keeping us from winning because of penalties. Matt Forté is a great football player and I feel for him so bad to be going through this kind of situation. He doesn't deserve this. He's given a great effort and I feel for him. I really do." Scelfo posted career-best numbers across the board Saturday against UAB, completing 19-of-37 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns. Williams led seven players with at least one grab with six, while King and Forté followed with four each. Junior cornerback Josh Lumar and junior middle linebacker Evan Lee paced the defensive effort with seven tackles each. The Green Wave return to action on Saturday, Oct. 20, when they travel to Dallas, Texas, to take on C-USA foe SMU at 7 p.m. The game from Gerald Ford Stadium caps a three-game road swing for Tulane and will be aired regionally on Fox Sports Net-Southwest.
Tulane's next home game will be on Saturday, Oct. 27, when it celebrates Homecoming 2007 with a 2 p.m. showdown against Memphis. Single-game tickets for the 2007 Green Wave season remain on sale through the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office. Tickets can be purchased in person, over the telephone at (504) 861-WAVE or via the internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.