Tulane falls to ULL 24-21 in New Orleans Bowl
Tulane appeared to have overcame a jittery start to its first
bowl game in 11 years, only to be stunned by a cruel ending to
kicker Cairo Santos’ otherwise distinguished college career
Orleans Darkwa scored three touchdowns as the Green Wave rallied
from a 21-0 deficit, but Santos’ 48-yard field goal try in the
final seconds missed wide left, and Tulane fell 24-21 to
Louisiana-Lafayette in the New Orleans Bowl on Saturday night.
Santos was the 2012 Lou Groza award winner as the nation’s best
college kicker, and he’d made a couple of game-winning kicks this
season to help Tulane to its first bowl since 2002.
”Cairo’s made those before,” Tulane coach Curtis Johnson said.
”It just didn’t fall for him this time.”
The game might not have come down to that kick if Tulane hadn’t
hurt itself with turnovers, penalties and rough first
quarter-and-a-half in which Johnson said his team appeared too
emotional to function as well as usual.
”It was uncharacteristic of us,” Johnson said. ”Then all of a
sudden we settled down and for three quarters of the game, from the
second quarter on, we played pretty well. … A great comeback.
We’ll get it next year.”
Louisiana-Lafayette’s Corey Trim intercepted Nick Montana and
returned it 82 yards for a touchdown, and Sean Thomas’ second
interception set up Hunter Stover’s go-ahead field goal in the
Those were plays the Ragin’ Cajuns needed with their
quarterback, Terrance Broadway, playing with a cast on his broken
”We preached turnovers,” Thomas said. ”Going into the game,
we knew we had to help our offense out a lot.”
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had touchdowns runs for
the Ragin’ Cajuns (9-4). Broadway passed for 143 yards and ran for
33, but was intercepted twice, sacked four times and took a lot of
hits in the second half before being replaced by Jalen Nixon in the
Devin Powell replaced Montana in the first half and passed for
223 yards for Tulane (7-6), but his underthrown pass that Thomas
picked off was costly. Tulane’s Ryan Grant had seven catches for
113 yards. Darkwa finished with 86 yards rushing and was named the
game’s most valuable player, the first time a losing player
received that distinction in a New Orleans Bowl.
”The MVP is fine, but I wanted the win like everybody else
did,” the senior running back said.
It wasn’t clear until kickoff who was going to play quarterback
for either team. ULL coach Mark Hudspeth had all but ruled out
Broadway, who broke his throwing arm Nov. 30. Johnson said he was
unsure if he could start Montana, who’d struggled much of the
season with injuries, including to his throwing shoulder.
Both quarterbacks ended up starting, but only Broadway took the
majority of his team’s snaps.
”We felt like he was ready enough,” Hudspeth said. ”Sure
enough, he was. He made some outstanding plays tonight. His health
kept him from doing what he’d normally like to do at times, but
man, what a competitor and what a leader.”
Nixon’s play was crucial on ULL’s final offensive series, in
which the Cajuns drove from their own 9 to midfield, eating up 5:45
before Tulane got the ball back on its own 5 with 1:35 left.
Powell completed passes of 34 yards to Justin Shackleford and 27
yards to Grant to move the Green Wave into tying field goal
The Ragin’ Cajuns needed six plays to produce the game’s opening
score. McGuire capped the drive with a 27-yard run in which he
reached for the pylon as he was knocked out of bounds.
Tulane’s first turnover came on a trick play in which Grant took
a reverse handoff and threw deep. Thomas intercepted it and
returned it to the ULL 27, setting up a six-play, 73-yard scoring
drive that ended with Harris’ 15-yard scoring run.
The Wave was in position to halve its deficit when Montana drove
Tulane inside the ULL 20. But Trim’s interception made it 21-0
After that, Tulane was desperate for points, and converted on
fourth-and-3 from its own 47 on Powell’s 42-yard completion to
Devon Breaux, setting up Darkwa’s first TD.
Jordan Sullen’s interception at the Tulane 35 set up the Green
Wave’s second scoring drive, which began with Powell’s 49-yard pass
to Grant. That led to Darwka’s second score on a 7-yard run up the
middle shortly before halftime.
Darkwa’s tying touchdown came on a 22-yard run shortly after
Derrick Strozier intercepted Broadway’s attempted throw-away along
Sullen was later knocked out by a knee to the head and carted
off the field, but Johnson said he was expected to be fine.