Former Newman star Kendall Bussey returned to New Orleans on Saturday night but was upstaged by another high-impact transfer.
That’s putting it mildly.
While Bussey (Texas A&M) played well for Nicholls State, Tulane’s Corey Dauphine (Texas Tech) was transcendent.
On his first carry, he made a sharp cut near the line of scrimmage and raced 38 yards for a touchdown.
He was just warming up. The second time he got the ball, he scored from 69 yards out, turning the corner near the Tulane sideline, cutting back across the field and zig-zagging his way to the end zone for a spectacular score.
Two touches, two touchdowns, 107 yards.
So much for Nicholls State’s hopes of stunning its second consecutive FBS foe following its win at Kansas in overtime last Saturday. Tulane (1-1) coming off a frustrating overtime loss to Wake Forest, went ahead 14-3 on Dauphine’s second touchdown and ran all over the Colonels (1-1), finishing with 268 yards on 41 rushing attempts on its way to a comfortable 42-17 victory at Yulman Stadium.
Darius Bradwell contributed a career-best 93 yards on 13 carries, but he was upstaged, too. Dauphine is maximizing every chance he gets after not touching the ball since September of 2016 with Texas Tech until Tulane’s opener.
“I was just looking for any kind of crease that I could find and just hit it full speed,” he said. “It felt great. I really had a chip on my back coming into this game.”
Dauphine, the third running back the Wave used for the second consecutive week, added an 8-yard run up the middle to convert a third-and-7 as Tulane scored a touchdown on its opening possession of the second half.
One thing he does not have to worry about is overuse. After rushing five times for 29 yards against Wake Forest, he had only the two carries in the first half against Nicholls and sat out the rest of the half with dehydration after his highlight-reel touchdown to open the second quarter.
“It had been a while since I played, so my adrenaline was up there,” he said. “I need to get back in game shape. That’s on me.”
His work load picked up in the second half, but not by much. His sixth and final carry came with 8:47 left in the fourth quarter, when he sprinted untouched 35 yards for a score as the Wave went ahead 35-17.
He gained 152 yards, averaging 20.5 yards a pop.
“He brings everything,” said wide receiver Darnell Mooney, who helped out with six catches for 111 yards and a score. You saw him out there tonight. Every time he touched the ball, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown.”
Bussey, who like Dauphine did not start despite rushing for 123 yards against Kansas, ripped off a 12-yard run on his first carry as Nicholls threatened to go ahead early. But Lorran Fonseca missed a 46-yard field goal at the end of the drive, and the Colonels never had a chance to take the lead again.
Nicholls settled for a 21-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 7-3 at the end of the first quarter after having a first-and-goal at the 4.
“We’re always focused on building that line at the goal line and don’t let them in,” Tulane linebacker Zach Harris said. “Our philosophy is bend but don’t break. As long as they don’t get the touchdown, that’s a successful drive right there.”
Bussey finished with 51 yards on 12 attempts. Nicholls auarterback Chase Fourcade, a Rummel product, had a team-best 53 rushing yards and also threw for 239, but he tossed two interceptions.
Dauphine was not on the field for Tulane’s third touchdown drive, an eight-play, 80-yard effort that ended with two huge plays from quarterback Jonathan Banks and a 21-3 lead.
First, he lobbed a 25-yard touch pass under pressure to wide receiver Terren Encalade to the Nicholls 5. Then, he pile drove into the end zone after being stopped a couple of yards short.
That same ability cost him late in the second quarter when he refused to go down for a sack, remaining upright for about five seconds before defensive end Kenny Dotson stripped him. Linebacker Evan Verron picked up the ball and returned it 12 yards to the Tulane 26, setting up a 7-yard strike from Fourcade to Gabe Fuselier with 23 seconds left.
Trailing 21-10, Nicholls drove to the Tulane 34 on its first series of the third quarter before safety Roderic Teamer intercepted a Fourcade floater at the 5.
That turnover kickstarted a 14-play, 95-yard drive, with Mooney catching a 12-yard pass on a slant for the touchdown.
It was Mooney’s third career 100-yard game. Banks was an efficient 12 of 16 for 190 yards in the air.
When Nicholls again pulled within 11, 28-17, on a 32-yard touchdown run by Dontrell Taylor, Dauphine struck again.
The Wave scored its final touchdown after sophomore safety Chase Kuerschen intercepted Fourcade deep in Nicholls territory, sending a sizable contingent of Colonels fans home unhappy.
“We gotta be able to stop the run,” Nicholls coach Tim Rebowe said. “We didn’t stop the ball. They did a tremendous job in the second half. We got out of our gaps a couple of times, missing tackles.”