Tulane honored its departing class before the game, with scholarship seniors safety Darion Monroe, defensive end Royce LaFrance, defensive tackle Corey Redwine, running back Rob Kelley, offensive tackle Arturo Uzdavinis, quarterback Jordy Joseph, punter Peter Picerelli and kicker being recognized along with redshirt juniors center Nathan Shienle, guards Colton Hanson and Bob Bradley and defensive tackle Calvin Thomas.
Also honored were a pair of players who were medical hardship cases and had to give up football — Fudge Van Hooser and Alex Paul — and walk-on Alex Macias and kicker Trevor Simms.
Monroe, Redwine and LaFrance started on defense, while Kelly, Joseph and Uzdavinis started on offense.
Hanson also started, but Shienle, but Junior Diaz started at center in place of Shienle. Diaz replaced Shienle in the first quarter at SMU and played the rest of the way. The move by Shienle and Hanson to make this their final season surprised the coaching staff, and Curtis Johnson said earlier this week they might change their minds and return for a fifth year.
Setting record in style
Picerelli broke Tulane’s career record for punt attempts and yardage when his pooch attempt in the third quarter traveled 39 yards and was downed at the Tulsa 1-yard line.
Picerelli, who lost his job to freshman Zach Block earlier this year but has rotated in for punts each game, sent a perfect low kick that landed around the 10 and rolled slowly as Tulane played surrounded it.
The effort gave him 250 punts for 9,926 yards. He was averaging a career-low 36.6 yards entering the Tulsa game.
Picerelli’s punt did not end up helping Tulane, even though the Green Wave almost scored on the next play.
The Wave was not fooled when Tulsa inserted backup quarterback Chad President and had him try to throw on first down from the 1. He almost was sacked for a safety, and his throwaway pass went through the hands of freshman cornerback Taris Shenall in the end zone.
Tulsa then drove 99 yards for a touchdown, converting three third downs. Wide receiver Keyarris Garrett broke a tackle on the last one and raced to the end zone as the Golden Hurricane pulled within 24-21.
It was the third time in the past two weeks a Tulane opponent had the ball at its own one and scored a touchdown. SMU had a second-and-14 at its 1 before getting to the end zone and later started a drive at its 1 before scoring a touchdown.
Joseph’s first three touchdown passes of his career — all this year — were to tight end Charles Jones, who has no TD catches from anyone else. Joseph finally broke the strange streak with scoring tosses to Teddy Veal and Dontrell Hilliard. … Hilliard’s 66-yard score on a shovel pass was the longest touchdown reception of his career. ... Defensive end Royce LaFrance had 1½ sacks, finishing with 20 for his career. He stayed in third place all-time in the Tulane record book behind Kenon Blackmon (22.5) and Floyd Dorsey (21.5).