Tulane lost their first home game in 2019, falling to UCF, 34-31.
Tulane (6-5, 3-4) out-gained UCF (8-3, 5-2) 221-165 on the ground, but the Knights took a 319-181 advantage in the passing game. Senior quarterback Justin McMillan led the Olive and Blue with 102 yards rushing and 181 yards and one touchdown passing. Senior Corey Dauphine added 11 rushes for 58 yards and two touchdowns, while senior Jalen McCleskey was tops on the team receiving with three catches for 77 yards and a touchdown. Junior Chase Kuerschen led Tulane with eight tackles.
The Green Wave got the ball with 1:49 left in the fourth quarter at their own 25-yard line. Tulane marched 75 yards in nine plays for a seven-yard McCleskey receiving touchdown to cut the UCF lead to 34-31 with 26 seconds remaining. On the ensuing kickoff, it appeared the Olive and Blue recovered the onside kick, but after a review the ball was awarded to the Knights. UCF knelt out the clock to finalize the win.
In the first quarter, the Knights opened the scoring with a 35-yard field goal at the 8:04 mark to take a 3-0 lead. UCF made it 10-0 with a touchdown with 3:58 left in the opening quarter.
Senior Corey Dauphine cut the score to 10-7 with a 14-yard touchdown run to cap off an eight-play, 42-yard dive with 9:53 left in the second quarter. The Knights responded with a 44-yard touchdown run with 6:19 left in the first half to stretch the lead to 17-7, which they held going into halftime.
The Knights scored on the opening possession of the second half to take a 24-7 lead. Junior Stephon Huderson took the ensuing kickoff 98 yards to the endzone to cut the score to 24-14. This was Tulane’s first kickoff return for a touchdown since Sherman Badie returned one 86 yards for a score on Sept. 10, 2016 against Southern.
The Green Wave cut the score to 24-17 as junior Merek Glover knocked down a 29-yard field goal to cap off a nine-play, 44-yard drive with 4:50 left in the third quarter. UCF scored a touchdown on its next possession to stretch the lead to 31 -17 with two minutes left in the third quarter.
The Knights knocked down a 26-yard field goal with 10:43 left in the fourth quarter to stretch their lead to 34-17. Dauphine scored his second touchdown of the game with a seven-yard run to cut the Knights’ lead to 34-24 with seven minutes remaining in the game. The touchdown ended a 10-play, 75-yard drive for Tulane.
With a three-yard carry in the third quarter, senior Darius Bradwell became the 13th running back to rush for 2,000 or more yards in a career.
Up next, the Green Wave will travel to play SMU in Dallas to close the regular season on Saturday, Nov. 30.
Tulane sports information contributed to this story.