Tulane vs. Louisiana, Cure Bowl score: Green Wave notches first bowl win since 2002
Tulane leaned on its run game to stave off Louisiana
The first bowl game of the 2018 college football postseason was a monumental one for Tulane. The Green Wave leaned on their run game and aggressive third- and fourth-down play-calling to stave off a second-half comeback from Louisiana to win the Cure Bowl 41-24. It's the first postseason victory for Tulane since the 2002 Hawaii Bowl (Tulane 36, Hawaii 28). It's also only the fifth bowl win in program history.
The Green Wave rushed 65 times for 342 yards and four touchdowns, led by the play-calling of offensive line coach Alex Atkins. Darius Bradwell led all rushers with 150 yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries, while quarterback Justin McMillan added 72 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
But don't confuse the rushing attack for playing it safe; Tulane stayed aggressive in third and fourth-down situations and the results showed. Specifically, Tulane put itself in mostly manageable third-down situations and converted 50 percent of their opportunities (7-of-14). For the season, Tulane's third-down success rate was only 34.48 percent, 11th in the AAC. The Green Wave also went for it on fourth down three times, converting two and scoring a touchdown on one to put the game away for good. Tulane had been dead last in the AAC on the season in fourth down success rate at 32 percent.
The move to McMillan at quarterback also paid dividends for this team, which won four of its last five regular-season games before capturing the bowl victory on Saturday. The win moves Tulane to 7-6, its first winning season since 2013.
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