The Tigers' three-game winning streak came to an end Saturday afternoon at Yulman Stadium in New Orleans. Tulane scored early and put up touchdowns in each quarter, never trailing, to improve to 6-5 on the season and 3-5 in the American Athletic Conference. The Tigers fell to 6-3 (4-3) and have now lost two straight at Tulane.
After falling behind by a touchdown, the Tigers tied the score at 7-7 when Brady White
connected with Calvin Austin III
for a 59-yard score just five minutes into the game. (Austin later dropped a pair of would-be touchdown passes.) The Green Wave regained the lead when quarterback Michael Pratt found Jha'Quan Jackson for a 42-yard touchdown late in the first quarter. Memphis played from behind the remainder of the contest.
The Tigers played without two of their top defensive linemen, as O'Bryan Goodson didn't suit up and Joseph Dorceus was sidelined early after a blow to the head.
White's second touchdown pass of the game — a six-yarder to tight end Sean Dykes
— brought Memphis within seven points (28-21) with 5:13 to play in the third quarter. On Tulane's ensuing drive, Tiger safety Quindell Johnson
intercepted his second pass in as many weeks. (Johnson also forced a fumble for the second straight game.) But the Tiger offense couldn't finish drives, Austin's two drops proving especially painful. Cameron Carroll's nine-yard touchdown scamper put Tulane up by 14 points with 11:34 left on the clock and proved to be the clincher.
White completed 19 of 39 passes for 248 yards, becoming only the second Memphis quarterback to top 10,000 yards for his career. (He needs 56 yards to surpass Danny Wimprine's program record.) White threw a pair of interceptions in addition to his two touchdown tosses. Austin caught five of his passes for 110 yards.
An ongoing problem for the Tigers — their running game — resurfaced, Memphis gaining only 45 yards on 28 carries. Tulane ran the ball for 165 yards and Pratt passed for 254 more.
The Tigers will complete the strangest regular season in memory next Saturday when Houston (3-3) visits the Liberty Bowl. For the first time in four years, Memphis will not have an appearance in the AAC championship game to extend the season. A bowl berth likely awaits, perhaps the Birmingham Bowl, where Memphis last played in 2015.