What we Learned
Tulane’s new-look offense misfired too often, costing the Green Wave and coach Willie Fritz another opportunity to beat a Power Five opponent. Jonathan Banks was off target early, and Terren Encalade dropped a potential touchdown pass on the opening possession of an ugly first half when Tulane failed to score despite getting in position repeatedly. With the running game struggling from start to finish, the passing game simply was not crisp enough. A couple of huge passes from Banks top Encalade gave the Wave a chance to steal this one at the end, but once again, the offense could not make a play in scoring position at the end of regulation before going backwards in overtime.
Tulane’s young playmakers on defense are on the right track. Yes, Wake Forest freshman quarterback Sam Hartman had a prolific night, but the Wave was active up front before wearing down, came up with three critical turnovers and stopped the Demon Deacons when it mattered most. Junior linebacker Lawrence Graham was as good as the coaches expected in his first start, making seven tackles in the first half and making a nice diving grab for an interception. It was a tough first assignment against a fast-break offense, but the defense should get better and better as the year goes along.
Close is not good enough anymore. After the defense made a huge stop late in the fourth quarter and the offense drove inside the Wake Forest 40, Tulane had to find a way to make the winning play. It did not happen. Banks underthrew Encalade on a pressure throw on third down that would have set up Merek Glover for a game-winning field goal attempt, and everything that could go wrong in overtime, did. A big-play offense simply did not make enough routine plays to pull out the victory.