Nov. 21, 2009
ORLANDO- Tulane senior Jeremy Williams became the fifth player in school history to surpass 1,000 receiving yards in a single season, but that was about the only thing that went right for the Wave as UCF forced TU into a season-high five turnovers and reeled off 28 points in the third quarter to hand Tulane a 49-0 loss in front of 31,390 at Bright House Networks Stadium.
Tulane (3-8, 1-6 C-USA) was guilty of five miscues (2-interceptions/3-fumbles) and its offense was held to a season-low 50 yards by UCF's defense, while the Wave defense allowed UCF (7-4, 5-2 C-USA) to convert 9-of-14 third down conversions and surrendered 504 total yards. UCF handed Tulane its worst Conference USA loss since a 59-6 loss at Southern Miss in 2001 and marked the Wave's first-ever shutout in a C-USA game, a span of 98 league games.
"The first half turned on us," Tulane head coach Bob Toledo said. "The punter fumbled the snap and it quickly became 14-0. We came out the second half and it is fumble, interception, fumble, and then there's the long drive for a touchdown. We had to punt and then they get another touchdown. It was a combination of us making mistakes and part of it was their play because they are really good. We could not generate anything offensively. We could not run the football and we did not throw it well. We dropped balls. Defensively we had a hard time holding up, and we got real worn down. We could not get off the field."
UCF wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard. The Knights received the opening kickoff and marched 70 yards on four plays that culminated in a 50-yard touchdown gallop by running back Brynn Harvey with just 1:52 gone by in the opening quarter.
On the ensuing drive, senior Jeremy Williams caught two passes from redshirt-freshman quarterback Ryan Griffin for 12 yards, including his second for eight yards, that pushed him past 1,000 receiving yards on the year, which made him just the fifth Tulane receiver in school history to surpass the 1,000-yard mark in a single season. He became the first receiver to notch 1,000 yards in one season since Roydell Williams registered 1,066 yards in 2003.
"Before the season started, it was one of my goals to have 1,000 receiving yards, so I am very excited to reach that accomplishment," TU's Jeremy Williams said. "We got beat up pretty good today, but it's still a landmark in my career. It's a great honor and I'm glad the coach gave me the opportunity to do this and I feel very blessed."
Although Tulane was unable to muster any kind of drive on its opening possession, the Green Wave defense came through with a stop on the goal line when freshman Jordan Garrett stopped UCF quarterback Brett Hodges for a one-yard loss on fourth down. However, the Green Wave offense was once again stopped and senior Ross Thevenot boomed a career-long 77-yard punt to pin the Knights deep in their own territory.
UCF took over and marched into the red zone but Hodges pass was intercepted in the end zone by junior cornerback Phillip Davis, who returned the pick 40 yards. Tulane took over and drove into UCF's end of the field for the first time on the day, but on a third down and one, Griffin's deep pass for Williams was intercepted in the end zone.
The teams then traded possessions before Tulane's special teams' woes reared its ugly head. On fourth and 12 near the UCF goal lone, Thevenot mishandled the snap on the punt and fumbled the ball. The Knights' Ronnie Weaver recovered the miscue giving UCF a first down on the TU three-yard line.
UCF took over and needed just two plays to go three yards and Harvey chalked up his second touchdown of the day with a two-yard run with 1:31 remaining in the second quarter to make the score 14-0 in favor of the home team.
Following intermission, Tulane took the second half kickoff and reeled off four plays before UCF's Justin Boddie stripped Griffin of the ball during a pass play and Travis Timmons picked up the carom and returned it 10 yards to the Tulane three-yard line, setting up his team first and goal.
Two plays later, Harvey crossed the goal line from two yards out for his third score of the day to put UCF up 21-0 at the 12:28 mark in the third period.
On the ensuing possession, the Green Wave managed four plays and a first down following Griffin's pass to junior tight end Cody Sparks, but Griffin was intercepted on the next play when he rolled out to his left and attempted a pass for junior receiver Casey Robottom. UCF's Josh Robinson stepped in front of the pass for the interception and returned it 16 yards to the Tulane 29-yard line. One play later, Hodges found Kamar Aiken for a 29-yard touchdown strike to push their advantage to 28-0.
Tulane once again turned the ball over on the ensuing kickoff when freshman Jordan Sullen fumbled the kickoff after he was hit by Ishmael Kernal and Weaver recovered the fumble at the Tulane 22-yard line.
The Knights made quick work of the Green Wave defense with a three-play drive that ended with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Hodges to Aiken and the Knights extended their lead to 35-0.
UCF struck again in the waning seconds of the third quarter when Jonathan Davis capped off a14-play, 97- yard drive with a nine-yard touchdown scamper that brought the score to 42-0.
Redshirt-sophomore quarterback Joe Kemp assumed control of the Tulane offense on the Wave's first s series from scrimmage in the fourth quarter, but the results were the same-- three and out.
UCF subbed Rob Calabrese in at quarterback and the results were the same for the Knights. The sophomore led a 6-play, 25-yard drive that ended with his six-yard touchdown pass to running back Brendan Kelly at the 11:33 mark.
"Their defense is really good, better than I thought. I thought we could establish some kind of run and would be able to throw the ball a little bit, but they snuffed us out. They are really good," Toledo said.
Tulane senior running back Andre Anderson finished with -2 yards rushing and the Wave's ground game was -30 yards on the ground today. Griffin finished 10-of-20 for 67 yards, but suffered two picks and was sacked three times.
Aside from his bobbled snap in the first half, Thevenot finished the game with seven punts for 345 yards for an average of 49.3 yards per punt.
Freshman D.J. Banks was a bright spot in the return game with four returns for 119 yards, including returns of 46 and 47 yards.
Freshman linebacker Austen Jacks registered a team-best eight tackles on the day.