GREENVILLE, N.C. — The overtime game between Tulane and East Carolina on Saturday night was the Pirates’ first since losing to the Green Wave 36-33 at the Superdome after three extra sessions in 2013.
History repeated at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, with the Wave escaping 31-24 to stop a four-game skid in dramatic fashion.
Tulane seems to like these extra sessions under coach Willie Fritz. The Wave beat Louisiana-Lafayette in four overtimes at Yulman Stadium last year.
The temperature at kickoff was 38 degrees and stayed there for most of the game, but Tulane did not appear overly affected by the cold weather.
Quarterback Jonathan Banks was 11 of 19 for 110 yards (with two touchdowns), and he rushed for 90 yards and two touchdowns. Dontrell Hilliard rushed for a career-high 189 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown run.
The Wave defense held East Carolina quarterback Gardner Minshew, who completed a school-record 52 passes against Houston last Saturday, to 11-of-22 passing for 109 yards in the first half. Cornerback Donnie Lewis blanketed receivers almost every time the ball was thrown in his direction.
Tulane had not played a true cold-weather game since losing at SMU 49-21 on Nov. 21, 2015. When the Wave played at Memphis last month, it was raining and in the 40s just before kickoff, but the rain went away once the game started.
Senior nickelback Jarrod Franklin left in the first quarter with an apparent right shoulder injury and was replaced by P.J. Hall.
Right offensive tackle John Leglue left with an injury on the Wave’s opening possession, returned for the next series and left again after being called for holding. Keyshawn McLeod replaced him.
The Wave made another defensive change that was not dictated by injury. Freshman free safety Chase Kuerschen, who is stronger against the run than the pass, was replaced by Taris Shenall to combat the Pirates’ pass-heavy attack.
East Carolina quarterback Thomas Sirk was instrumental in two Duke victories against Tulane in 2014 and 2015, operating as a wildcat quarterback in the first meeting and the starter in the rematch.
He did not make the same impact this time.
Benched for Gardner Minshew last week, Sirk, who transferred to East Carolina as a graduate student, came in as a wildcat quarterback in the third quarter, but the decision backfired.
After running for 2 yards on his first play, he came back in on a fourth-and-2 from the Tulane 34 with the Pirates trailing 17-14 in the third quarter. He faked a run, then stepped back and had his pass down the middle of the field to an open receiver deflected by defensive end Ade Aruna.
Tulane scored a touchdown on its next series to go ahead 24-14.
Later, Sirk returned after East Carolina recovered a fumble at the Tulane 15, but he could not produce a first down, throwing the ball into the ground with only white jerseys near it on third down.
When Sirk briefly entered for a key fourth-and-2 later in the fourth quarter, fans booed him. East Carolina called a timeout and went back to Gardner Minshew.