January 22, 2022
"Changing Lives, Improving Communities"

Green Wave Fall Short of Comeback. Final Score: Tulane 31, UCF 34


Following an unsuccessful scoring drive by the Tulane offense, the UCF Knights scored the day’s first points after a 12 play drive resulted in a field goal attempt for the Knights. UCF went up 3-0 early in the 1st, as the Green Wave offense looked to respond.

McMillan and company began their 2nd offensive possession with a successful completion to wideout Amare Jones on a 14 yard reception. Jones then took the following handoff for 16 yards as the Green Wave crossed midfield. On a 3rd and 13, McMillan found Moony to bring up a 4th and 1, which coach Fritz squad failed to convert with Jones unable to find much space between the tackles. UCF would then take over at their 48. 

Behind good running from UCF’s Dillon Gabriel, the Knights quickly made their way inside Tulane territory. On 1st and 10, Gabriel took a shot at the end zone, but the Green Wave’s secondary allowed little room for separation. Gabriel then took a QB keeper on 3rd and 6 for 7 yards and a 1st down, then immediately followed up with a 23 yard tocuhdown pass to put the Knights up 10-0 with under 4 minutes remaining in the 1st quarter. 

McMillan got his legs moving on the following possession, on a 1st and 20, McMillan scrambled for 10 yards to give the offense some breathing room. Unfortunately for the Wave, a 3rd and 7 pass attempt was broken up by UCF, forcing Tulane to punt and turn the ball back over to Gabriel and the explosive Knight offense. 

Tulane’s defense finally made a crucial stop. Gabriel was unable to find any open receivers against tight coverage, as the Wave forced multiple incompletions while forcing a UCF punt. With the Tulane offense continuing to struggle, McMillan was sacked inside the Green Wave 10 yard line to bring up a 3rd and 15 as the quarter game to an end. In miraculous fashion, McMillan somehow found Jalen McKleskey for a gain of 22 and a Green Wave 1st down. After two plays for no gain, Tulane found itself in yet another 3rd down scenario, this time with no such luck. McMillan attempted to scramble outside to the right, but was met immediately for a gain of only 2 to bring up another Wave punt. 

On consecutive possession, Tulane’s defense forced UCF into 3rd and long scenarios. Gabriel dropped back and fired across midfield, nearly being picked off while now being forced to punt out of their own endzone. The 45 yard punt set up Tulane’s offense in a favorable spot. After an 11 yard return, the Wave would take over at the UCF 42.

Tulane’s offense, finally showing signs of life, began its march to the endzone with Dauphine powering his way through the line of scrimmage on consecutive runs. The Green Wave offense found itself in the red zone, and after successfully picking up a 4th and 1, McMillan attempted a pass to the endzone but came up short to bring up a 2nd and 10 from the 14. Dauphine would not be touched on the 2nd and 14, sprinting untouched to cut UCF’s lead to 3. Dauphine’s 14 yard run capped off an 8 play 42 yard drive, putting the score at 10-7 with the Knight’s leading with 9:53 remaining in the half.

Riding the momentum of the Wave touchdown, the defense came out on fire, first forcing a 3 yard loss on first down, then PJ Hall coming up big with a pass breakup to force a 3rd and long. UCF would fail to pick up the 1st through the air, resulting in a 3-and-out and another UCF punt. The 29 yard punt gave the Green Wave excellent field position once again. The Knight defense forced Tulane into a 3rd and 8, but UCF’s pass rush was too much as McMillan scrambled picking up only 2 yards. 

The Knights took over at the 20 yard line following a touchback on the Wave punt. Gabriel completed a quick 5 yard pass, then followed up with a 17 yard completion to Marlon Williams. Williams came up big again, this time hauling in a 14 yard reception around midfield. Following the completion, UCF’s Otis Anderson found the edge of the Tulane defense, it in the for the score on a 44 yard touchdown rush.

Following the Knight score, Justin McMillan picked up 20 on the ground to get the offense going. Stephon Huderson took the next two carries, setting up the Green Wave for a 3rd and 5. McMillan then got to work again on the ground, picking up 17 as the Wave offense set up shop on the UCF 33. Tulane found themselves in a 3rd and 8 following McMillan’s run, but the Knight defense met Corey Dauphine in the backfield for a loss of 3. At 4th and 11, Tulane opted to go for the first as the Wave were effectively out of field goal range, McMillan tried the middle of the field but was unsuccessful, turning the ball over on downs.

UCF’s high octane offense slowed its pace towards the end of the half, Leading a slow, methodical drive down field through the legs of Dillon Gabriel along with a few short passes. The Knights, faced with a 4th and 7 from the Tulane 32, opted to go for it but a false start penalty pushed UCF back further. Gabriel, being hit as he threw, found a receiver downfield but a bobbled ball was jarred loose by the Wave secondary, giving Tulane one last shot to score before half. 

McMillan, with 48 seconds remaining, rushed up the middle for a gain of 10, but was sacked on the next play for a loss of 6 with the clock stopped at 0:29. On 2nd and 16, Tulane tried setting up the middle screen, but the UCF defense snuffed it out with McMillan getting called for an intentional grounding as the half closed out. 


UCF began the second half on offense and continued its success from the 1st half. Gabriel led a methodical drive downfield, until the Wave defense forced the Knights into a 4th and 5. Gabriel then connected on a long ball downfield, setting up the Knights at the 1 yard line. On 2nd and goal, UCF would walk into the endzone to add to their lead, 24-7. 

The 17 point lead lasted only for a moment, however. On the ensuing Knight kickoff, Stephon Huderson fielded the ball at the 2, then breaking through the walls of the UCF special teams unit, Huderson exploded on a 98 yard touchdown return to put the Wave down only 10. 

Following Huderson’s kickoff return, Tulane’s defense came out inspired, forcing a UCF 3-and-out with the Knight punt barely crossing the 50. The excellent field position setup Tulane in great position to cut the lead even further. 

The Green wave did just that. McMillan and co. drove down the field, with Merek Glover successfully hitting his 3 point try to bring Tulane within a touchdown. 

Gabriel and the Knight offense quickly struck back. Gabriel found Otis Anderson across the middle, resulting in a 58 yard reception as UCF found the redzone in a single play. The Wave defense did an excellent job in the redzone, forcing UCF into a 4th and goal from the 3 yard line. Unfortunately, the Knights converted on 4th and goal, picking up a touchdown to stretch the lead to 14 in UCF’s favor. The Knights continued to separate from Tulane as the 4th quarter progressed. Gabriel and the UCF offense marched down field to add another score to their lead, with the Knights tacking on a field goal to make it 34-17 with 10:43 remaining in the game. 

Tulane did an excellent job of answering the Knight score. McMillan and Tulane’s offense strung together a 10 play, 75 yard possession resulting in a 7 yard touchdown rush by Dauphine to make it 34-24 with 7 minutes remaining. The Green Wave would go on to score again, but ultimately did not have enough time to close the gap, losing 34031 and dropping to 6-5 overall on the season.

Tulane will conclude its final regular season game next Saturday at SMU.