Nov. 17, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - Junior wide receiver Ryan Grant surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the season, junior kicker Cairo Santos nailed a trio of field goals, and senior quarterback Ryan Griffin became the Green Wave's career completion leader, but it was not enough as the Tulane University football team dropped a 28-23 decision to Conference USA foe East Carolina on Saturday afternoon in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Griffin completed 36-of-57 passes for 293 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the day and to move his career completion total to 800. He surpasses the former mark of 798 established by Tulane Hall of Famer and former first-round draft pick Patrick Ramsey from 1998-2001. Grant, meanwhile, had 94 yards on 10 receptions to bring his season total to 1,041 and Santos' - a semifinalists for the 2012 Lou Groza National Collegiate Place-Kicker Award - connected on kicks of 22, 26 and 43yards to keep him a perfect 20-for-20 for the season.
With the loss, Tulane falls to 2-9 on the year and 2-5 in C-USA play. East Carolina, meanwhile, improved to 7-4 overall and 6-1 in league action. The Green Wave will close out the 2012 season on Saturday, Nov. 24, at Houston. Kickoff for that game is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. and will be televised nationally on Fox Sports Net.
"We ended up on the short end of the stick," first-year Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson said. "Our guys played hard but we didn't do everything right. We wanted to send the seniors out with a bang and they played like it, but we didn't make the plays we wanted to."
The Green Wave drew first blood as Ryan capped a six-play, 54-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown strike to sophomore Xavier Rush to stake Tulane to a 7-0 lead. East Carolina answered with a seven-yard pass from Shane Carden to Justin Hardy five seconds into the second quarter, and Tulane came right back with a 23-yard Santos kick to make it 10-7 with 5:44 to go before the break.
A five-yard Carden run put the Pirates back on top at 14-10 with 2:48 to go before the break, and Santos cut the deficit to one with a 43-yard field goal on the final play of the first half.
East Carolina sandwiched a five-yard touchdown run on the first drive of the third quarter and an 11-yard scoring strike from Carden to Andrew Bodenheimer with 4:29 to go in the game around Santos' final field goal. Down 28-16, the Green Wave rallied to make it a one-score game on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Griffin to junior Wilson Van Hooser with 1:22 left to play. Santos' on-sides attempt on the ensuing kickoff got a nice high bounce, but East Carolina came away with the ball and the Pirates were able to run out the clock.
Junior linebacker Zach Davis led Tulane with a career-high 14 tackles (8 solo, 6 assists) while senior strong safety Shakiel Smith and freshman cornerback Jordan Batiste each had an interception in the ballgame.
Carden paced the East Carolina offense with 215 yards on 19-of-33 passing and added 36 rushing yards on seven carries. Vintavious Cooper led the Pirates ground game with 87 yards on 15 totes and Hardy had a team-best five catches for 55 yards. Gabriel Woullard had a team-best seven tackles (4 solo, 3 assists) while Derrel Johnson had 1.5 of the Pirates' five sacks.