New Orleans -- On Military Appreciation Day, complete with a pregame fly-over, things were going in Tulane’s favor right from the start against Army. On the first play from scrimmage, Dontrell Hilliard gets the ball and breaks-loose on a 75-yard touchdown run, to make it 7- 0 Green Wave. Hilliard led the ground attack with 134 yards on 14 carries.
Army jumps- ahead 10-7 by the second quarter, but Tulane had another big play to put them back out front. Sherman Badie with his moment—sprinting 72 yards for the score, and the Green Wave rolls ahead 14-10.
Then it was all about Tulane’s defense, getting two big 4th-down stops—one at the end of the first half and then one to start the second half. Then on top of that, late in the third quarter, Donnie Lewis Jr. comes-up with the interception in the endzone to keep the Black Knights at bay.
“Any time they throw the ball, you’ve got to take advantage of it because now it gets them behind the sticks," said Tulane Head Football Coach Willie Fritz. "Or if you get a minus play against them. But I thought by and large, our defense did a pretty nice job.”
In the 4th quarter, Army makes things interesting. Connor Slomka scores the 5-yard touchdown, and with 5:32 to play, the Black Knights take the 17-14 lead.
Cue the Jonathan Banks show. On 4th down on their ensuing drive, he picks-up the first down to the 37, but gets blasted on the play.
“Oh, I was good," Banks said. "It felt good. It woke me up.”
He only sits-out one play and he’s back in. Tulane converts two more 4th downs on the drive and gets down to the 4 yard line. Then who else, but Banks. He keeps it himself and scores the game winning touchdown with 23 seconds to play. A pick from Parry Nickerson seals the deal, as Tulane beats Army 21 to 17.
“I feel like we worked all summer coming-through in the 4th quarter and being able to just be clutch," Banks said. "That’s what it’s all about. We had the momentum and we kept it.”
“We’re excited about the win," Fritz said. "I thought our program needed a win like this. I don’t think Tulane’s had a win like this in a couple decades. I don’t know. For a while.”
Tulane improves to 2 and 2 with the win heading into their bye-week ahead of their next game against Tulsa on October 7th at Yulman Stadium.