With Tulane coming off a desperately needed 24-17 win against Tulsa, two football players picked up weekly awards.
Redshirt junior quarterback Justin McMillan earned a spot on the American Athletic Conference honor roll after rushing for two touchdown in his first college start, including a nifty tie-breaking score with 3:46 left as the Green Wave snapped a two-game losing streak.
McMillan’s passing number were underwhelming (10 of 19 for 92 yards), but he hurt Tulsa with his feet, leading the Green Wave (3-5, 2-2 AAC) to 17 consecutive points after it fell behind 17-7 in the third quarter. His option keeper from 1 yard out cut the deficit to 17-14, and his winning score came when he faked a handoff and fooled the entire defense, racing 39 yards untouched to the end zone.
“He had a very good week of practice,” coach Willie Fritz said Monday. “He did a good job of having a calmness to him, and he's a smart kid. He really knows what's going on and where the ball should go based on the pre-snap look, and he's running the ball. He's starting to get into the running game, and you have to have that with our quarterback.”
TULSA, Okla. — Tulane's quarterback change to Justin McMillan from Jonathan Banks was done both out of necessity and the Green Wave's need for…
McMillan’s last start was as a senior at Cedar Hill (Texas) High in 2014. He played two games at LSU, throwing one pass, before transferring to Tulane this August. He supplanted senior Jonathan Banks as the starter after Banks lost two fumbles in the fourth quarter against Cincinnati on Oct. 20.
“(McMillan) handled himself well with a lot of poise,” Fritz said. “I’m sure there are a few throws he’d like to have back, but overall, he did an excellent job.”
Sophomore defensive end/outside linebacker Patrick Johnson was named to Pro Football Focus’ national all-defensive team for his performance. Johnson finished with four tackles, 1½ stops for loss and a sack, registering that sack on Tulsa’s second-to-last offensive play and forcing a short pass on fourth-and-18 by getting to quarterback Seth Boomer again on the Golden Hurricane’s last snap.
According to Pro Football Focus, Johnson also did not allow a completion on any of the six times he dropped into pass coverage.
For the year, he leads the Wave with 8½ tackles for loss and five sacks.
“He has just gotten better, better and better,” Fritz said. “He's really a defensive end, and we've moved him out to a standup position. He'll rush the passer, he'll drop into coverage, but he's really taken to that position and understands how to dip and win the edge out there on the perimeter in pass rushing. The last play of the game he did a really nice job of pressing the pocket but then coming back underneath and getting his arms around the quarterback and forcing a quick throw. He played really well for us."
Tulane plays at South Florida (7-1, 3-1) this Saturday. The Bulls lost for the first time, 57-36 to Houston, on Saturday and fell out of the top 25.
ECU game set
Tulane’s Nov. 10 homecoming game against East Carolina at Yulman Stadium will have a 3 p.m. kickoff and be televised by ESPNews, the AAC announced Monday.
The Wave’s most recent game on ESPNews was a 20-17 upset of Houston last November.
Tulane beat East Carolina 31-24 in overtime last season.