NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Optimism is sky high around a talented Tulane team entering what's expected to be a promising season. But everything they are present day began with hitting their lowest point last year when they were denied at the goal line on the last play of the game at SMU.
"That's not something you'll forget," says senior safety Roderic Teamer Jr. "Seeing it, talking about it, coaches telling you about it, to give every inch that you can. Because you never know when it will cost you like it cost us last year."
"We were inches short of winning and going to a bowl game," says quarterback Jonathan Banks. "And it wasn't just that game. There were about three or four games that we were inches short."
So to combat those sour endings from a year ago, the focus is on finishing and avoiding those fourth quarter pitfalls.
"We lost four games by a total of 12 points last season," says head coach Willie Fritz. "There were a couple of games that we won that were close ball games at the end as well. Those are the ones that you've got to win the majority of in order to go to a bowl or compete for a conference championship."
Ironically, they'll open the season against a bowl game winner from last year, Wake Forest. Facing a non-conference opponent at home should provide all the motivation they need to start the season on a high note.
"You work on that game more than you work on any other game that you play throughout the year because of where it falls," says Fritz. "We'll have about 12 practices where we're going to start working and zeroing in toward Wake Forest."
"We use that as motivation," says cornerback Donnie Lewis Jr. "They've got to come play us at home. So we're going to come out and set the tone for the year. That's what we plan on doing."
A bowl game appearance would break a four-year drought for the Green Wave. Their last bowl game win came back in 2002 over Hawaii.