Courtesy of Danny Wild
A banged up and bruised Army West Point team descended on the Big Easy to take on the Tulane Green Wave, in a game that was predicted to be a close one and that turned out to be the case. The Black Knights were missing starting safety Rhyan England, starting fullback, Darnell Woolfolk, and safety Jaylon McClinton was limited by an injury as well. The absence of the two starting safeties showed up early in the game as Tulane scored on two long runs in the first half to take a 14-10 lead. The Black Knight offense was able to move the ball well most of the day against Tulane, but stupid penalties got Army off to a slow start, and an ineffective passing game stopped a couple of drives short as well.
The Black Knight defense came up short on the final drive by Tulane after forcing the Green Wave into a couple of 4th down situations. Army missed on a couple of interception possibilities which turned out to be fatal. Army was 2 of 4 on 4th down conversions and allowed Tulane to convert all 3 of their fourth down attempts.
First Quarter - Tulane Strikes Quickly
Courtesy of Danny Wild
The game couldn’t have started off much worse as Hilliard ran for a 75 yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage to give Tulane an early 7 point lead.
Kell Walker got a good return to the 37 on the ensuing kickoff, but the offense failed to take advantage of the good field position. Ahmad Bradshaw lost yardage on the first play and back to back false start and delay of game penalties brought up a third and long. Bradshaw dropped back to pass and threw the ball out of bounds on a failed 3d down conversion attempt.
Nick Schrage punted the ball out of bounds at the Tulane 6 and a penalty put the Green Wave back to their own 3 to start their second possession. The defense held for three downs forcing a Tulane punt, but Justin Thomas was called offsides, giving Tulane a first down on their 12. Tulane took advantage driving the ball into Army territory at the 46, where Army defense held again. Tulane lined up for an apparent fourth down attempt but kicked it away to the Army 3 where Army started their second possession.
Andy Davidson got Army some breathing room with a 3 yard gain to the 6 and picked up another 4 yards on the next play, and Connor Slomka came in to get the first down. Bradshaw kept for 23 yards on the next play and then Calen Holt and Davidson picked up another first down in Tulane Territory. Bradshaw completed a pass to Jermaine Adams but Tulane was called for holding and Army took the penalty for a first down on the Tulane 29 as time ran out in the first quarter with Tulane holding a 7-0 lead.
Second Quarter - Army Takes Lead - Tulane Strikes Back
Courtesy of Danny Wild
The quarter started off with another Army false start penalty, and two short plays brought up a 4th and 9; so Blake Wilson was sent in for a 46 yard field goal try that he converted to close the gap to 7-3.
Tulane returned Schrage’s kickoff 16 yards to the 22, where Tulane began their first possession of the quarter. Hilliard broke loose on the outside for a 25 yard gain to the Army 48, but the defense held Tulane to negative yards on the next three plays and Tulane was forced to punt. A Tulane player nearly downed it inside the 5 but the ball trickled into the end zone for a touchback and Army took over on their own 20.
Two running plays picked up 6, but Bradshaw failed to connect on a 3d down passing attempt, and Schrage came in to punt it 39 yards for an out of bounds on the Tulane 35.
A couple of missed tackles allowed Tulane to pick up a first down on the Army 48, but three good defensive plays brought up 4th and 17 on the next series, and Tulane had to punt it away again. Reynolds returned the punt to the Army 15 for the start of Army’s third possession of the quarter.
Davidson gained 5 yards and Bradshaw followed with 7 for a first down on the 35. Holt was held for no gain, but Walker swept right end for 11 and another Army first down. Two runs by Davidson picked up another first down at the Tulane 43, and on the next play Davidson broke loose for another 43 yards to the half yard line. Bradshaw kept for the touchdown on the next play and Wilson converted to give Army the lead at 10-7.
Tulane returned the kickoff 12 yards to the 23, where Tulane started their third possession of the quarter. Tulane got 4 yards on their first play and then Sherman Bady got loose around right end for a 72 yard score to give Tulane the lead back at 14-10.
Walker let the ball go into the end zone for a touchback and Army started on their own 25. An illegal hands to the face call after a 3 yard gain by Slomka moved the ball out to the 43. Walker picked up 3, followed by a 2 yard gain by Holt and then Jordan Asberry picked up 10 for a first down at the Tulane 41. Davidson picked up a yard and Asberry got another 6 to bring up 3d and 3, and Army took a timeout. Davidson picked up another 2+ to bring up 4th and a yard, but Tulane stopped Bradshaw for a loss to turn the ball over to Tulane with 53 seconds left in the half. Tulane ran out the clock to take their 4 point lead into the locker room.
Third Quarter - Two Long Army Drives = Zero
Walker received the second half kickoff and returned it to the 17 where Army started their first drive of the second half. Asberry picked up 8 yards on the first play, and Davidson got a long yard to the 26, leaving it for Holt to pick up the first down. Holt picked up another 6 yards on the next play, Davidson followed with another 3, and Slomka came in to pick up the first. On the next play, Bradshaw broke loose for a 21 yard gain toe the Tulane 37. Fred Cooper took a pitchout for 5 and Davidson picked up a short 2 as Bryce Holland was injured on the play. Bradshaw gained 2 to bring up 4th and 2 and then Tulane dropped Bradshaw for a yard loss to get the ball back on their 31.
Tulane ran two plays for 5 yards and then James Gibson broke up a Tulane pass attempt to bring up a 4th down and Tulane punted to the Army 25.
On the first play of the next possession, Walker took a handoff for a big 35 yard gain to the Tulane 42. Holt ran for 2 and Walker picked up another 10 yards in two carries to pick up another first down on the 30. Davidson plunged for 4 as Holland returned to the game. A couple of short gains brought up a 4th down and 4 on the Tulane 24 and Davidson bulled his way forward for a first down on the Tulane 19. Davidson picked up another 6 to the Tulane 13 followed by a short gain to the 12. On 3d and 2, Bradshaw tossed a soft pass into the end zone that was an easy interception for the Tulane defender giving Tulane the ball on their 20.
Tulane picked up a quick first down on a missed tackle by Mike Reynolds and Max Regan missed an opportunity for a pick on the next play. Tulane missed its next pass attempt, but Javhari Bordeau was called for pass interference on 3d and 10 to give Tulane another first down on their 47. A four yard rush put the ball on the Army 49 as time ran out in the quarter.
Fourth Quarter - Army Takes Lead - Can’t Hold It
Alex Aukerman dropped Banks for a 2 yard loss and Banks was flushed out of the pocket on his next pass attempt to bring up a 4th down and a Tulane punt. Reynolds signaled for a fair catch and Tulane was called for interference, giving Army the ball on their own 29 for their first possession of the final quarter.
Davidson picked up 9 yards in two carries, then Holt came in to pick up the first down at the 41. Davidson ran for another 3, and Holt picked up 9 for another first down on the next play. Slomka picked up 3, but Davidson was stopped for no gain to bring up a third and 7 at the Tulane 44. Bradshaw found a hole for 11 yards to pick up another first down at the Tulane 32. Holt followed with another 9 yards up the middle and Slomka picked up another first with a 4 yard gain as the Black Knights continued to pound the middle into the Red Zone at the Tulane 17. Davidson and Holt combined for 6 yards and then Slomka took it an inch away from a first down. Slomka leaped over the line on the next play for a first down and goal on the Tulane 5 Slomka broke through for his first career touchdown on the next play running right through the Tulane safety to put Army West Point back in the lead at 17-14.
Schrage kicked it through the end zone for a touchback to give Tulane the ball on their 25 with 5:32 left in the game. Banks turned a potential Sack into a 3 yard gain and Regan missed a in interception opportunity on a tipped pass. James Nachtigal broke up a third down attempt, but Banks went for it on 4th down and 7 and picked up a first down on a keeper. Gibson drilled him on the play and Banks came out of the game. Tulane picked up 6 yards on 3 plays and then converted on a 4th and 4 for a first down on the Army 43. Banks returned to the game with 2:14 left on the clock. He was pressured but picked up a first down on an 4 yard draw to the Army 15 and Jeff Monken called a timeout with 1:05 left on the clock. Reynolds broke up a pass attempt to the end zone, and Tulane rushed for 3 to the 12 and called a timeout. Banks picked up 5 yards to the 6 where Tulane had 4th and 1. Monken called a second time out as Tulane lined up for the 4th down conversion attempt. Hilliard fell forward for a first down at the 4 and on the next play Banks kept for a 4 yard touchdown for the final score of the game to Put Tulane ahead for the final score of 21-17.
Monken put Kelvin Hopkins into the game to attempt a comeback, but his last ditch attempt was intercepted to close out the game.
Army rushed for 371 yards on 74 attempts and controlled the ball for 39:18, but Bradshaw was 0 for 3 with 1 interception and Hopkins was 0 for 2 with an interception in his last ditch attempt. Tulane got 253 yards rushing, most of it coming on two long runs of 75 and 72 yards and Banks was 10 of 22 passing for 103 yards.
Stay tuned for a more in depth analysis in our GBK Monday Morning Quarterback
**To chat with other Army fans about this article and more, please visit The 12th Knight message board**