In their first game as newly minted members of the American Athletic Conference, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane rallied from a 21-7 deficit to defeat the Tulane Green Wave 38-31 in double overtime at G.A. Chapman Stadium on Thursday night.
Making his first start in a Green Wave uniform, Tanner Lee, a product of Jesuit High in New Orleans, showed Green Wave fans a glimpse of things to come in the first quarter as he connected with Charles Jones for a 15-yard touchdown pass to give Tulane the early 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
After a missed field goal by Golden Hurricane kicker Carl Salazar, Tanner Lee went back to work in the second quarter as he found Dante Butler for a 1-yard strike. The Golden Hurricane would eventually strike back with a touchdown of their own as Dane Evans found Keevan Lucas for a 43-yard TD pass to trim the lead to 14-7 in favor of Tulane.
On the ensuing kickoff, Sherman Badie blazed down the Chapman Stadium turf for a 90-yard kickoff return TD to put Tulane up 21-7. And after several three and outs by both teams, Dane Evans once again made the Tulane secondary look silly as he again found Keevan Lucas for another long TD pass, this time an 84-yard strike to cut the lead to 21-14 in favor of the Green Wave as the game went to the half.
In the second half, Salazar redeemed himself by making a pair of field goals, including the lone score in the third quarter for both teams to make the score 21-20 Tulane. Needing some breathing room in the fourth quarter, Tanner Lee once again came up big as he connected with Xavier Rush for a 60-yard TD pass to make the score 28-20. Lee would finish the night with an impressive 262 yards and three touchdowns while his counterpart Dane Evans threw for 438 yards and four touchdowns of his own.
With a chance to put the game out of reach for the Golden Hurricane, Tulane coach Curtis Johnson opted to go for three instead of the knockout punch (think Mike Smith in Atlanta), sending kicker Andrew DiRocco out to make the chip shot kick, only to miss it.
In turn, Tulsa would take advantage of the DiRocco missed kick and score a touchdown plus a two point conversion to make the score even at 28. And after failing to prevent overtime, Andrew DiRocco redeemed himself in the period with a 30-yard kick to put the Green Wave up 31-28.
A kick by Salazar would tie the game at 31, forcing another overtime period and breathe new life into the Golden Hurricane, who took the lead when Drake Evans found Conner Floyd for an 8-yard TD pass. Only an intercepted pass by Lee would be the difference in the game.
Lost in the shuffle of what Tanner Lee did, the aforementioned Sherman Badie had a huge day at the office, rushing for 215 yards. His performance marked the first time a Green Wave running back rushed for more than 200 yards in a game since Andre Anderson ran for 255 in 2008.
Up next for the Green Wave is the Yulman Stadium debut when Tulane welcomes the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets to the Big Easy.
Game time is at 3 p.m. September 6th.