Banks’ late TD run lifts Tulane over Army 21-17
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — On Tulane’s first offensive play, Dontrell Hilliard ran 75 yards for a touchdown, which came 11 seconds into the game.
On the Green Wave’s last offensive play, Jonathan Banks ran 4 yards for a touchdown with 23 seconds left in the game.
In between, Tulane’s offense didn’t do a whole lot — but it did enough to take a 21-17 victory against Army on Saturday.
The Black Knights (2-2) had taken a 17-14 lead with 5:32 left. Connor Slomka gained 4 yards on a fourth-and-1 and on the next play he ran 5 yards for a touchdown, which completed a 15-play, 71-yard drive.
But Banks led the Green Wave (2-2) on a 19-play, 75-yard drive on which it converted three fourth downs and two third downs.
“That was a sensational job by Jonathan Banks on that last series,” Tulane coach Willie Fritz said. “He made a lot of plays on his own with his legs and his arm. Our program needed a win like this. I don’t think Tulane has had a win like this in a while.”
The Green Wave went 0 for 8 on third-down conversions before the final drive.
“A couple of times we had them in fourth down and didn’t make the play,” Army coach Jeff Monken said. “The outcome could have been different if we had just made one of those.”
Banks — who started after missing last week’s loss to No. 2 Oklahoma because of an injured midsection — finished with 10 carries for 40 yards and completed 10 of 22 pass attempts for 103 yards. He left the game for one play after being shaken up while converting a fourth-and-8 with a 10-yard run early in the winning drive.
“That shows how mentally tough he is,” Hilliard said.
Hilliard had his second consecutive 100-yard rushing game for the Green Wave, finishing with 134 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. He had 104 yards and a touchdown in the 56-14 loss at Oklahoma.
Andy Davidson had 130 yards on 26 carries for Army, but the Black Knights went without a pass completion for the second time this season, finishing 0 for 5 with two interceptions. The first interception — by Donnie Lewis Jr. in the Tulane end zone midway through the fourth quarter — marked the first time this season in 14 tries that the Black Knights failed to score after getting inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.
“We didn’t get on the board (enough),” Monken said.
The Black Knights were 0-for-2 passing in a 64-6 victory against Fordham in the season opener Sept. 1.
The game started with Hilliard running up the middle for the 75-yard touchdown.
“Our biggest thing is to come out right and set the tone for the game,” Hilliard said.
Army scored 10 unanswered points, but the Green Wave run game broke free again as Sherman Badie ran 72 yards for a touchdown that gave Tulane a 14-10 halftime lead.
“We gave up two huge plays and that was the bulk of their offense,” Army linebacker Alex Aukerman said.
Army once again showed its ability to put together long scoring drives. Two of the scoring drives lasted 13 plays and 15 plays, giving the Black Knights five drives of at least 13 plays in the last three games, including a record-tying 18-play, 99-yard touchdown drive at Ohio State last week.
Tulane had possession for barely one-third of the game, holding the ball for 20:42, compared to Army’s 39:18, and running 52 plays compared to the Black Knights’ 74. Despite having fewer opportunities, the Green Wave’s 356 total yards were just 15 less than Army’s total.
ARMY: The Black Knights lost their second consecutive game after beginning the season with consecutive victories. They lost 38-7 loss at No. 10 Ohio State a week earlier.
TULANE: The dramatic winning drive salvaged an important win for second-year coach Willie Fritz, whose team had lost its last two games after opening the season with a win against FCS member Grambling. Banks showed poise throughout the final drive.
ARMY: The Black Knights play host to UTEP next Saturday.
TULANE: The Green Wave have an open date next Saturday before playing host to Tulsa in an American Athletic Conference game Oct. 7.