Nov. 19, 2011
HOUSTON - On a day when neither team managed more than 300 yards of total offense, the Tulane football came up short in the defensive battle at Rice, falling 19-7, on Saturday afternoon at Rice Stadium.
The Green Wave (2-10, 1-7 C-USA) defense held Rice (4-7, 3-4 C-USA) to just 237 yards of total offense and was led by Dezman Moses and Trent Mackey who each recorded nine tackles. Moses also collected a pair of sacks and Mackey had another.
"We worked hard today and tried to give our best on every down," Moses said. "We made some mistakes today and that cost us, but one of our goals coming into the game was to try to pressure the quarterback and stop the run."
Tulane gave up first quarter and fourth quarter touchdowns runs to Rice that sandwiched a pair of 50-plus yard field goals for the Owls, but could not muster any scoring of their own until the fourth quarter.
"This was a well-played game by both teams and it was very competitive throughout," Tulane interin head coach Mark Hutson said. "It turned into a defensive game and came down to making plays when you had the wind at our backs. We had several deep shots but we didn't make plays when the opportunity was presented. You have to give the Rice defense credit. They were able to stop us from making those big plays."
"Offensively, we were able to put together a 16-play, 75-yard drive and make it a one score game," Hutson added. "On their next series, our defense came up with a stop to get the ball back for our offense, but we suffered a sack and went three and out. In the end, they were able to put the game away with a score."
Griffin finished the day with 163 yards passing on 19 of 39 with that lone score.
Orleans Darkwa added 19 carries for 78 yards on the ground to go with five catches for 23 yards. Tulane as a team collected 289 yards of total offense on 72 plays.
Wilson Van Hooser also had five catches for the Green Wave for 56 yards.
Rice, who's scoring plays in the game all came with less than two minutes remaining in each quarter, opened the scoring with a five-yard touchdown run by Tyler Smith with 1:20 left in the first quarter that capped a nine-play, 52-yard drive.
The Owls then cracked the scoreboard again, with just 11 seconds remaining in the first half, when Chris Boswell nailed a 54-yard field goal that would have been good from at least 60 yards. The field goal capped a three-play, eight-yard drive after Tulane was forced to punt after a three and out.
Boswell then added a second field goal, this one from 51 yards away with 1:20 left in the third quarter. That kick capped a nine-play, 21-yard drive that put the Owls up, 13-0.
Rice iced the game when Smith crossed the goal line for the second time in the game, this time on a seven-yard run with 1:04 remaining in the fourth quarter to put the Owls up 19-7. Rice regained possession after Tulane was forced to punt after a five-play drive stalled out at their own 22.
Tulane completed the Conference USA schedule with a 1-7 mark and will end the season next Saturday with a trip to the 50th state to battle Hawaii for a 10 p.m. CT kickoff.