Tulane (7-6) opened the 2018-2019 bowl season in college football by recording the first bowl victory for the school since 2002. Tulane defeated Louisiana (7-7) in the AutoNation Cure Bowl in Orlando on Saturday afternoon, 41-24.
Tulane had a 24-10 lead at halftime but started to feel pressure from Louisiana as the Ragin Cajuns battled back in the second half, cutting the Tulane lead to 27-24 early in the fourth quarter. But just when it seemed as though Tulane may let one slip through their fingers, a pair of fourth-down gambles paid off in a big way. On 4th-and-7 from the Louisiana 30-yard line, Willie Fritz decided to go for a first down and was rewarded with Justin McMillan completing a 15-yard pass to keep the drive going. A few plays later, Darius Bradwell scored a four-yard touchdown to give Tulane a two-score lead. After the defense came through with a quick series, Tulane once again faced a 4th-and-7 that worked out for the best. McMillan put the game away with just over three minutes to play on a keeper for a 16-yard touchdown run to extend Tulane’s lead to a 17-point margin on a fourth and seven.
One last offensive gasp by Louisiana came to an end with an interception in the endzone by Chris Joyce.
Despite a pair of turnovers, Tulane was called for just one five-yard penalty in the game and the Green Wave out-gained Louisiana 483-258. Bradwell rushed for a game-high 150 yards with two scores and McMillan combined for a pair of touchdowns in the win. The defense was a big factor in the first half, allowing just over 100 yards of offense before halftime despite giving up 75 yards on the first drive of the game. Louisiana scored a touchdown on the game’s opening possession but then struggled to move the ball against the Tulane defense until the second half.
Prior to Saturday’s win in the Cure Bowl, Tulane’s last bowl victory came in the 2002 Hawaii Bowl. This was the second bowl victory for Fritz, who previously won his only bowl game coached at Georgia Southern before coming to Tulane. Fritz is 2-0 in bowl games.
Tulane will head into 2019 season looking to take another step forward as a program as Fritz enters his fourth year on the job. The Green Wave have improved their win total each year with Fritz as the head coach as Tulane continues to try building itself into a contender in the AAC. The 2019 season will begin on Aug. 31, 2019 at home against FIU, followed by a road trip to Auburn the following week. Tulane will get home games in conference play against Houston and UCF and will make road trips to Memphis, Navy, and Temple as part of the conference schedule.
Louisiana will get to open their 2019 season in New Orleans with a matchup against Mississippi State on Aug. 31, 2019. The Ragin’ Cajuns also get home games against Liberty and Texas Southern in non-conference play and will get some big Sun Belt games at home against Appalachian State, Troy and rival ULM. Louisiana will travel to Arkansas State and Georgia Southern in the Sun Belt schedule next fall as well, with conference dates to be announced.