Through eight games, Tulane had attempted an NCAA-low two field goals — a combination of few drives into the red zone (22), its effectiveness at scoring touchdowns when it got there (17) and coach Willie Fritz’s lack of confidence in his kickers.
Sophomore walk-on Merek Glover matched that total in the second quarter in Saturday's 17-16 loss against Cincinnati, hitting a career-long 37-yard attempt to tie the score at 10 and a 19-yarder on the last play of the half to put the Green Wave ahead 13-10.
Glover then hit a third kick to pull Tulane within 17-16 in the fourth quarter.
But his first miss — Tulane’s first miss of the season — was the difference in the Wave’s one-point loss. His kick, with a little more than a minute left, never had a chance, sailing wide of the left upright.
“It’s always tough to lose that close,” quarterback Jonathan Banks said. “Against Army we were in the same situation and were able to win (on a Banks scoring run). It’s disappointing. It was a quiet locker room.”
Junior safety Roderic Teamer, who sat out against Memphis with an injury Oct. 27, had a team-high 10 tackles for Tulane and one huge play that gave the Wave a chance to win.
Teamer tackled Cincinnati running back Gerrid Doaks in the open field after a short reception, leaving the Bearcats a yard short of a first down and forcing a punt with a little more than five minutes left.
“Making that play felt great for me,” Teamer said. “It was good to get back out there and contribute.”
Tulane then drove 66 yards before Glover’s missed field goal.
Teamer was not happy with his overall performance, however. Tulane gave up four pass plays of 30 or more yards, and he blamed himself for some of his teammates’ mistakes in the secondary.
A 40-yard completion led to Cincinnati’s opening field goal. The Bearcats scored their first touchdown on a 39-yard pass down the sideline. They scored their second touchdown one play after a 33-yard pass down the sideline.
The receivers were wide open each time.
“It was miscommunications,” Teamer said. “We wouldn’t get the call all the way across the board, and that falls on me (as the signal-caller).”
Sophomore wideout Darnell Mooney tied his career high with seven catches and shattered his mark for yards receiving with 115, putting Tulane in position to win on a day when the running game fizzled.
“I have confidence,” he said. “Every (day) I try to come out and work on my game, and eventually it all came together.”
Mooney was the biggest bright spot in a disappointing loss.
“He had a really good game,” Fritz said. “He made some big-time catches.”
Before Tulane settled for a 26-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 17-16 with 7:59 left in the fourth quarter, Cincinnati stuffed Dontrell Hilliard’s inside run on third-and-goal from the 7.
Banks had completed 5 of 6 passes in the second half to that point, including a 32-yarder to Mooney to set up first-and-goal. From there, the Wave ran three consecutive times, getting nowhere close to the goal line.
Fritz said the run on third down was not locked in. It was a zone-read decision by Banks at the snap.
Tulane wore throwback white helmets with an interlocking green "TU," the same style it used from 1977-80 and 1983-84. ... The crowd of 20,798 was the largest of the season at Yulman Stadium, surpassing the 17,256 for South Florida. ... Tulane failed to force a turnover for the first time this season.