WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The Willie Fritz era kicked off on Thursday night for Tulane football (0-1), but the home team, Wake Forest (1-0), spoiled the debut as the Green Wave fell just short in a 7-3 battle at BB&T Field. The Olive and Blue struck on their opening drive, claiming a 3-0 lead, but the Demon Deacons retaliated by beginning the second quarter with a 12-play, 53-yard drive that resulted in the lone touchdown of the game and the final 7-3 score.
“It was very disappointing,” Fritz stated. “We had a few passing situations, and obviously that is not our strength. We had a tough time protecting tonight and it was a four-man rush most of the time. The whole last series was a two or three-man rush. It was just a lot of guys playing their first ball game. Everybody has to do their job, and someone has to make a play.”
Tulane’s opening drive went eight plays, 51 yards in four-and-a-half minutes, resulting in an Andrew DiRocco 41-yard field goal for the game’s initial score. However, Wake Forest’s Kendall Hinton punched in a one-yard touchdown run with 14:16 left in the first half, marking the final score of the game.
The Wave ground game and defensive effort pushed Tulane into opponent territory twice in the second quarter, but one drive was stalled by back-to-back penalties, while the second was halted on a four-and-out on Wake’s 28-yard line.
The defensive battle waged on in the second half as only 110 total yards were accumulated by both squads in the third quarter. With Tulane still trailing 7-3 midway through the fourth quarter, and facing a 3rd-and-22, quarterbackGlen Cuiellette connected with Josh Rounds on a 46-yard pass that moved the ball to Wake’s 32-yard line. Later facing a 4th-and-3 on Wake’s 16, Cuiellette’s rush attempt fell short, losing two yards on the play, resulting in a turnover-on-downs with 4:22 remaining.
However, Tulane’s defense delivered once more, halting the Demon Deacons after six plays to get the ball back on their own 36-yard line with 1:35 remaining. On a 4th-and-10, Cuiellette connected with Devon Breaux on a 17-yard catch out-of-bounds on Wake’s 47-yard line. Yet three plays later, Tulane couldn’t convert on another fourth down, turning the ball over and thus closing out the game.
Up next, Tulane will come home to Yulman Stadium when they host Southern University on Saturday, Sept. 10, at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN3.
Green Wave Notes
- Thursday’s meeting between Tulane and Wake Forest marked the third meeting between the two schools. It was the first win in the series Tulane remains in the series lead with a record of 2-1.
- Tulane debuted a new helmet at Wake Forest, donning the “Angry Wave” on a white helmet as opposed to the traditional “T-Wave” worn in years past.
- The game marked the opening of the Willie Fritz era at Tulane, as Fritz joined the Green Wave program in Dec. 2015 after spending the previous two seasons at Georgia Southern.
- Prior to the season starting, Tulane was the lone Division I program that did not have a quarterback on its roster who had not thrown a pass. Redshirt sophomore Glen Cuiellette put that to rest in his first start, as the product from Mandeville went 12-for-23 for 134 yards. He also rushed 22 times for 54 yards.
- Redshirt junior Parry Nickerson recorded a career-best three pass breakups on the evening at Wake Forest.
- Redshirt senior WR Larry Dace III notched a career-best four receptions for 38 yards.
- Senior DT Tanzel Smart posted his second-consecutive game with multiple tackles for loss, as he notched 2.0 at Wake Forest. He had 2.0 against Tulsa in the 2015 season finale.
- Tulane scored on its opening drive with a 41-yard field goal from junior K Andrew DiRocco. The opening-drive score marked the second-consecutive game in which Tulane scored on the opening drive as the team notched a touchdown in the opening drive against Tulsa in the season finale last year.
- Six Tulane players extended their double-digit starting streaks on Thursday at Wake Forest Tulsa: OG Chris Taylor (28), LB Nico Marley (26), DT Tanzel Smart (25), CB Parry Nickerson (22), FS Jarrod Franklin (13), OT Todd Jacquet (13).
- Redshirt freshman OG Leeward Brown, redshirt sophomore QB Glen Cuiellette and redshirt sophomore DTRobert Kennedy made their first-career starts on the evening.
- Ten true freshmen in QB Darius Bradwell, S Will Harper, WR Chris Johnson, DB Sean Harper, DB P.J. Hall, LB Lawrence Graham, LB Larry Bryant, DS Geron Eatherly WR Darnell Mooney and WR D.J. Owens made their collegiate debuts at Wake Forest. OG Leeward Brown also made his collegiate debut.
- Senior TE Marshall Wadleigh carried out the No. 18 Flag in honor of former Green Wave player Devon Walker.
- Tulane’s game captains for Thursday’s contest at Wake Forest were senior LB Nico Marley, senior DTTanzel Smart, senior OL Chris Taylor and senior WR Devon Breaux.