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Tulane takes close win over MSU

By By Richard Dark/EMG staff writer
September 14, 2003
NEW ORLEANS Two football programs struggling to lift themselves out of mediocrity tried to occupy the same space Saturday night in the Louisiana Superdome.
Tulane rallied from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to escape with a 31-28 victory over Mississippi State University in front of 33,723 fans.
Green Wave kicker Barrett Pepper booted a 32-yard field goal to snap a 28-all tie with 6 ticks left. The stinging defeat was just the latest in a line of tough losses for the beleaguered Sherrill, whose team looked to be cruising in the final 12 minutes.
The end was a wild scene, as MSU tried desperately to return the kickoff with a series of backward pitches that ultimately went nowhere.
Tulane (2-1) stole the victory behind the arm of quarterback J.P. Losman, who shattered the 300-yard passing mark. Losman found Jerome Landry on a 1-yard score with 4:50 to go to pull the hosts to within 28-21. Losman capped another critical drive that went 41 yards in just four snaps, hitting receiver Chris Bush for a 13-yard score at the 2:29 mark to tie the game at 28-28, sending the crowd into a frenzy.
The Bulldogs, who had a more than adequate offensive output behind the running game of Nick Turner and Jerious Norwood, still had a chance to send the game into overtime, but Justin Jenkins, who had earlier hauled in a pair of touchdown scores, fumbled the ball at midfield and Tra Boger recovered it with 1:45 left.
The comeback marked the Green Wave's first win over an SEC school in 14 years.
His counterpart, Losman, did just that passing for 349 yards on a 29-for-47 effort. He threw four scores. Nick Turner was another bright spot for MSU with 115 yards rushing on 20 carries.
T.J. Mahwinney had 10 tackles for State, but refused to comment afterward. MSU drew 14 flags for 121 yards.