The Tulane Green Wave (3-1) hosted the Houston Cougars (1-3) for a Thursday night National showdown on ESPN. Tulane entered yesterday’s game as a four-point favorite, basically considered a push considering it was a home game. That is why the huge comeback win for the Green Wave can be considered an upset, despite owning a better record.
Houston got off to a rough stretch this season by playing two ranked teams in their first three games which sandwiched an important win. For the third time in four games, the Cougars were on national TV, and for the third time, they failed to finish.
Houston and Tulane were tied midway through the first quarter before the Cougars raced out to a three-score lead early in the second quarter. Senior phenom D’Eriq King accounted for three scores for the Cougars with passes of 75 and 28 yards, while also running for a 35-yard score.
Tulane was down, but not out, cutting the deficit to 14 before halftime. The Green Wave continued to ride that momentum by scoring 17 consecutive points, shutting down Houston till the final seconds. The Cougars wound up re-tying the game 31-31 with a chip shot field goal with under 30 seconds left.
Just when it seemed like extra time would be needed, Tulane put together a magical drive in front of their home fans. With 18 seconds left and the ball on their own 29-yard line, Tulane opted to fake a kneel down, faking everyone out as Amare Jones toted the pigskin for 18 yards. They followed that up with a strike from Justin McMillan to Jalen McCleskey for a 53-yard go-ahead score. A pair of Cougars bounced off McCleskey, he turned upfield and did the rest. It’s a sequence you have to see to believe.
Houston ran out the final three seconds on the ensuing kickoff, surely stunned from Tulane’s bold playcalling and execution.
With the win, Tulane moves to 3-1 with their lone loss coming to Auburn. Even then, the Green Wave managed to keep the Tigers in check by allowing 24 points, while their offense was held to six. Their season doesn’t get much easier with Army up next on the schedule. Army pulled off a near-upset over the Michigan Wolverines in the Big House a couple of weeks ago and has grabbed attention, currently receiving 50 votes in the rankings.
Tulane has been on a roll dating back to last season, not only making it to a bowl game for the first time since 2013 but crushing Louisiana-Lafayette 41-24 in the Cure Bowl. Tulane’s head coach, Willie Fritz, has had mixed success. He owns a 19-22 record since taking over in 2014, including tying for the conference last season. With his Green Wave picking up their third win of the season last night, they’re off to one of their best starts with Fritz. While it’s early this season, it seems the Green Wave will be bowl-bound once again in 2019.