By Jim Rapier
Special to the Enquirer
NEW ORLEANS - The University of Cincinnati football team had one streak snapped, another streak against it continue and the status of its starting quarterback uncertain Saturday.
LaDaris Vann grabs a pass in front of Tulane defender Sean Lucas during the first half.
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Tulane continued its mastery of Cincinnati in games played in New Orleans by defeating the Bearcats 35-17 in the Louisiana Superdome.
The loss stopped Cincinnati's five-game road winning streak in Conference USA and was the Green Wave's fifth consecutive victory against Cincinnati (2-4, 1-1) in New Orleans since 1976. That was the last time the Bearcats left New Orleans with a win.
"We are an average football team right now, way below average, in fact, today," Bearcats coach Rick Minter said.
Injury was added to insult when Cincinnati starting quarterback Gino Guidugli suffered a knee injury on UC's second-to-last possession and was helped from the field.
The report from the Cincinnati locker room was Guidugli suffered a hit to the lateral side of his left knee and he probably will have an MRI today or Monday to determine the extent of the injury.
Cincinnati running back Tedric Harwell tries to get away from Tulane defender Jeff Sanchez.
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"I don't know what happened," Guidugli said. "I was in my read progression and looking downfield when I got hit. I don't know where he (defender) came from and I don't know what happened on the play."
What happened before Guidugli's injury was Cincinnati turned over the ball three times, all interceptions, and the Green Wave (4-3, 2-2) made of the most of fewer yards. The Bearcats outgained Tulane 435-255, but the Bearcats gave up three touchdowns in the last 9:58 of the first half.
Tulane led 9-7 when Sean Lucas intercepted a Guidugli pass and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown. Jonathan Ruffin answered with a field goal for the Bearcats to cut the lead to 16-10, but Tulane countered with a four-play, 48-yard touchdown drive. The Green Wave then forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and recovered it at the Bearcats' 13-yard line.
It took Tulane one play to score, as J.P. Losman threw a 13-yard pass to Damarcus Davis to give the Green Wave a 29-10 lead.
"Basically we stunk up the field today," Minter said. "I don't question the heart of the football team, just the execution in all phases. We have not put together four quarters of Bearcat football yet."
Despite all the passing yards against Tulane and being ranked No.1 in passing in the conference, Cincinnati did not execute against a Green Wave defense.
Minter said the turnovers and bad field position for the Bearcats in the first half proved that.
"We have to go back home and re-group," Minter said. "Our backs are against the wall now."
TUL-FG 50 Marler, 12:06.
CIN-Murray 12 pass from Guidugli (Ruffin kick), 1:48.
TUL-FG 46 Marler, 14:49.
TUL-FG 47 Marler, 11:53.
TUL-Lucas 42 INT return (Marler kick), 9:58.
CIN-FG 18 Ruffin, 5:19.
TUL-Smith 17 pass from Losman (kick blocked), 0:56.
TUL-Davis 13 pass from Losman (Marler kick), 0:43.
TUL-Losman 1 run (pass failed), 10:36.
CIN-Vann 9 pass from Guidugli (Ruffin kick), 12:45.
|First downs||19 15|
|Return Yards||25 115|
|Time of Possession||32:43 27:25|
RUSHING-Cincinnati, McCleskey 19-72, Hall 7-66, Harwell 3-18, Team 1-(minus 1), Murray 2-(minus 2), Guidugli 7-(minus 17). Tulane, Moore 25-93, Losman 9-6, Team 1-(minus 1).
PASSING-Cincinnati, Guidugli 33-20-3-245, Murray 4-2-0-5, Vann 1-1-0-0. Tulane, Losman 23-14-0-163.
RECEIVING-Cincinnati, Vann 11-112, Olinger 5-84, Keith 3-82, Murray 1-12, Guidugli 1-5, Harwell 1-4, McCleskey 1-0. Tulane, Davis 4-29, Smith 3-36, Moore 2-9, Narcisse 1-36, Jackson 1-27, Bush 1-15, Sanchez 1-6, McGee 1-5.
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