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SMU vs. Tulane final: Mustangs lose 27-26

After blowing a double-digit lead late in the second half, the Tulane Green Wave rebounded with a last-minute touchdown to defeat the SMU Mustangs 27-26 on Saturday afternoon. The first victory of the season for Tulane, it comes in stunning fashion after the team nearly choked away an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter.

Riding a 20-6 lead into the halftime break, Tulane seemed to be fully in control of the game, but the Mustangs would battle back to take a 23-20 lead midway through the fourth quarter. That put SMU in a position to potentially put away the game late, but the Tulane defense came through with a huge stop.

Starting with nearly eight minutes remaining in the game, Garrett Gilbert led the Mustangs on a massive, time-consuming drive, putting SMU inside Tulane's 10-yard line with just over two minutes remaining. A touchdown likely would've put the game away, but the defense held steady to force a field goal, keeping the game within striking distance.

That's when Tulane quarterback Ryan Griffin went to work, completing a trio of passes to get the Green Wave into the end zone in just 27 seconds. That speedy drive left enough time for SMU to attempt one last drive, but Gilbert was unable to respond with a superlative last-minute effort of his own.

Box Score Hero: SMU running back Zach Line powered the team's rush offense, carrying the ball 28 times for 177 yards in addition to catching two passes for 20 yards. Griffin also put up big numbers, tossing for 302 yards and three touchdowns without throwing an interception. Gilbert finished 25-of-51 for 275 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

Rankings Ramifications: These two teams now have a combined three victories on the season, so this wasn't exactly a game for voters to pay attention to.

But Did They Cover? The Mustangs were 19-point favorites, so they clearly didn't cover.

For More On This Game: For more on SMU football, visit SB Nation Dallas. And you should probably start reading Big East Coast Bias.

Next Week's Schedule: SMU returns home to host the Houston Cougars next week while Tulane stays in Texas to take on the UTEP Miners.

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This story was originally published on SB

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.