Tulane’s comeback attempt fell short Saturday night at SMU, as the Green Wave fell to the Mustangs 37-20 at Gerald J. Ford Stadium.
With the loss, the Green Wave dropped to 6-6 on the year. Tulane ouastgained SMU 465-377 and rushed for over 200 yards for the ninth time this season. The Green Wave finished the game with 223 yards on the ground.
In his final regular season game as a starter, senior quarterback Justin McMillan threw for 242 yards and rushed for 50 yards.
The Green Wave defensive unit was led by Chase Kuerschen’s team-high eight tackles. Kuerschen has now totaled eight or more tackles in back-to-back games. Tulane also got strong defensive efforts from linebacker Lawrence Graham and defensive lineman Cameron Sample, as they finished with seven and five stops, respectively.
SMU jumped out to an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter thanks to a pair of Shane Buechele touchdown passes.
The Green Wave responded at the end of the first quarter with a three-yard touchdown run by redshirt freshman running back Cameron Carroll, which capped a nine-play, 60-yard drive.
The Mustangs would extend their back up to 14 points at the 2:32 mark of the second quarter thanks to a one-yard touchdown by running back Xavier Jones to make the score 21-7. Tulane once again responded, as it marched 64 yards in 14 plays and connected on a 33-yard field goal as time expired in the first half.
Tulane held SMU scoreless in the third quarter and in the process trimmed the Mustangs lead to just four points thanks to a 35-yard touchdown run by redshirt senior Corey Dauphine. Dauphine’s touchdown was his seventh score of the season and his fifth rush of 30 yards or more.
The Green Wave threatened to score to close out the third quarter, but were unable to close out the drive from inside the 10-yard line and turned the ball over on downs. SMU would then go 93 yards in 13 plays to take a 27-17 lead with 10:23 to go in the game.
Less than three minutes later, SMU stopped another Tulane fourth down conversion attempt, which the Mustangs translated into seven points on their following offensive possession. Tulane finished the game 0-for-4 in fourth down attempts.
Both teams would go on to trade field goals over the final five minutes, as SMU secured the win. Junior Merek Glover’s 42-yard field goal was his third field goal from 40 yards-or-longer.
Up next, Tulane will await its postseason bowl selection. The Green Wave have not played in back-to-back bowl games since the 1979-80 seasons.
Tulane sports information contributed to this story.