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Tulane Beats East Carolina 24-17

Quarterback Justin McMillan and Tulane picked up their third straight victory in a 24-17 win over East Carolina.
Quarterback Justin McMillan and Tulane picked up their third straight victory in a 24-17 win over East Carolina.

Justin McMillan threw for 372 yards and three touchdowns to lead Tulane to a 24-17 win over ECU in New Orleans for their third straight win. Prime receiver Darnell Mooney had six of those receptions for 219 yards and was the recipient of a pair of touchdowns from McMillan in the Green Wave homecoming victory.

It marks the Green Wave’s first three game win streak since 2013 and first ever since Tulane entered the American Athletic Conference. With the loss, ECU drops to 2-7. With any chance for a bowl dashed, the Pirates remain winless in AAC play on the season.

Tulane(5-5/4-2 AAC) kept their bowl hopes alive with a stingy defense that kept the Pirates out of the endzone down the final stretch run of the fourth quarter despite several opportunities to try to close the deal. That after ECU cut the lead to seven on a Holton Ahlers to Trevon Brown strike and subsequent two-point conversion pass from Ahlers to Brown for the Pirates' only touchdown of the second half.

The Pirate freshman threw for 360 yards on just 21 completions in 67 attempts with a pair of touchdowns with one interception. He also led ECU with 67 rushing yards, but it was ECU’s inability to get the game tying touchdown to send the contest into overtime that ultimately proved to be the difference in the contest.

ECU got the scoring started just over four minutes into the game when Jake Verity connected on a 46-yard field goal. Tulane then answered with an 86-yard Darnell Mooney first quarter touchdown catch from Justin McMillan, the LSU quarterback transfer.

The Green Wave added seven more when McMillan burned the ECU secondary for another deep touchdown, this time for 73-yards to Terren Encalade that extended the Tulane lead to 14-3.

After an ECU defensive stop with 3:15 to go before halftime, Ahlers found Trevon Brown in stride for an 80-yard strike and a touchdown that trimmed the lead to three in just sixteen seconds.

The Pirates had two more chances to score before halftime. A pair of Trevon Brown drops on deep passes from Ahlers and a holding penalty on what looked to be a made 49-yard field goal from Jake Verity stymied ECU’s best efforts to score again before halftime.

After ECU was unable to score on the first possession of the second half, McMillan torched strong safety Daniel Charles in the Pirate secondary for a 79-yard strike on Mooney’s second touchdown of the day. That put Tulane up 21-10 with 12:19 to go in the third quarter.

The Pirates got several defensive stops in a row as the two teams headed into the fourth quarter. Then a Tulane pass interference penalty led to a Trevon Brown touchdown catch on the next play on a 31-yard strike from Holton Ahlers. Then Ahlers hit Brown on the two-point conversion to cut the lead to 21-18.

After an ECU stop in the Tulane redzone limited the Wave to a 33-yard Glover field goal, the Pirates had multiple opportunities on offense to produce points but could not generate points down the stretch.

Tulane out gained the Pirates in total offense 535 to 450 on six less first downs. The Green Wave also generated five sacks on the day.

ECU returns home next week for the final time this season to take on UConn on CBS Sports Network television. Kickoff is slated for 7 o'clock in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.