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Tulane coach Willie Fritz gestures to an official during Saturday's game against Cincinnati at Yulman Stadium.

ADVOCATE PHOTO BY A.J. SISCO

If you asked a Tulane fan about its football team a month ago, you probably would have gotten an answer along the lines of "what a difference a year makes."

Ask that same fan about the Wave now and the answer likely changes to "what a difference a month makes."

A team that just a month ago seemed to have made giant strides in Year 2 of the Willie Fritz era has relapsed over the past four weeks.

The throwback helmets they wore Saturday were a nod to the ones they wore back in the ’70s and ’80s, but the team wearing those helmets looked like the Tulane team from just a few seasons ago.

Ultimately, the Wave lost 17-16 to a Cincinnati team it probably would beat 8 out of 10 time.

They just couldn't do it on this Saturday, sending their fans home with yet another disappointing homecoming loss.

It was the fourth straight year Tulane lost on homecoming.

The last time the Wave won a homecoming game, they were still playing games in the Superdome.

They've yet to win one at Yulman Stadium, which opened in 2014.

This one stung because it came against a Bearcats team on a five-game losing streak.

Instead, it's Tulane that saw its skid continue. The Wave have now loss four in a row, including two (FIU and Cincy) that would fall in the "bad loss" category.

So it's understandable why quarterback Jonathan Banks described the postgame locker room the way he did.

"Everybody's frustrated," he said. "No words. Silence."

This one also stung because it puts Tulane's bowl aspirations on life support.

The Wave needed to win three of its last four games to earn a trip somewhere.

Now Tulane must win all three, starting with a trip next week to East Carolina followed by back-to-back dates with Houston (at home) and SMU (on the road).

"We just have to regroup and go," Fritz said. "It's disappointing. We have had our share of adversity this year. We have two choices: Quit, or keep pushing, just preparing as well as you can and playing as well as you can. That's our option, and that's what we are going to do."

On a day when alumni, friends and family were invited back to campus, someone perhaps shouldn't have invited the Bearcats. Tulane's last home win over Cincinnati came in 2002, when the teams were still in Conference USA.

The Bearcats overcame 123 yards' worth of penalties and then had to hold their breaths as Tulane kicker Merek Glover missed a potential game-winning 36-yard field goal with 1:21 remaining.

Tulane is now 3-6 and will have to run the table to get to .500 — a mark the team has reached just once in the past 14 seasons.

Junior safety Roderic Teamer, who finished with a team-high 10 tackles, says he isn't throwing in the towel just yet.

"We have had years when we have only had three and four wins," Teamer said. "We try to battle so we won't creep back into that mindset because we know the potential of our team. It's tough, but we're going to keep fighting. Coach Fritz preaches that to us. We have three more games and our dream of going to a bowl is still alive, so we have to win the last three. So that's what we are going to try to do."

Teamer says teammates aren't giving up on the season yet either. They talked about it after the game.

"We have 24 hours where we can be sad about this game," he said. "Then we come in and watch it and make corrections and move on to the next opponent."

This one, though, may take a little more than 24 hours to get over.

Follow Rod Walker on Twitter, @rwalkeradvocate.