Thevenot hits late field goal to help Tulane nip Army

WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Ross Thevenot has ached to redeem himself before thousands of cadets for a long time. He made the most of his final opportunity.

Almost exactly two years after he missed a field goal attempt in an overtime loss against Army, Thevenot split the uprights from 23 yards with 2:20 remaining, sending Tulane (2-2, 0-1 Conference USA) to a 17-16 win over the Black Knights on Saturday.

"Unbelievable. It's something I've dreamed about," said Thevenot, a senior who missed earlier in the game from 30 yards. "It was really gratifying.

But the kick wasn't yet decisive for Tulane, which kept Army 44 yards below its top-10 rushing average, led by Travis Burks' 12 tackles.

The Black Knights (2-3) had their chance with 11.6 seconds to go when Alex Carlton, 3-for-3 on field goals earlier, was wide right from 37 yards.

"We needed one more play," said Army coach Rich Ellerson, whose team failed to secure its best five-game start to a season since 1996. "The drama of it makes it that much more frustrating."

The Tulane sideline erupted as Carlton missed, just as it did minutes before when Andre Anderson broke a tackle and scurried up the sideline for 42 yards, setting up Thevenot's fateful kick.

Anderson finished with 70 yards, none bigger than the pivotal rush that put Tulane on the 4 and Thevenot close enough to win it.

"I told Ross coming out of our meetings this morning, `You're going to kick the winning field goal today," said Tulane coach Bob Toledo, whose team trailed the entire way before Thevenot's kick. "I'll be darned. People are going to think I'm a prophet, huh?"

Army scored on its first drive on quarterback Trent Steelman's 1-yard rush. It took just 1:01 for Army to take the lead, seemingly for good against a Green Wave offense that punted five times and lost a fumble.

Army led 10-0 on Carlton's field goal from 37 yards. Tulane answered early in the second period when Joe Kemp (14 of 24 for 166 yards) connected with Jeremy Williams in the corner of the end zone for a 15-yard strike. Williams juggled the ball and danced in order to stay inbounds.

The score was upheld by replay to cap a 10-play, 54-yard drive as the Green Wave pulled within 10-7. Williams finished with 108 yards on six catches.

Tulane totaled 292 yards of offense to Army's 222. Steelman had just three completions on five attempts and was intercepted for the first time in his career by Charles Harris at the goal line, but did finish with a game-high 95 yards on the ground.

Two fourth-quarter field goals by Carlton built the Black Knights' lead to 16-7. But Anderson ran in from 1 yard with 9:06 left, cutting it to 16-14.

Still, Army had to feel to confident with a then-perfect Carlton kicking for the game at home.

"It's my job to put the ball through the uprights," he said. "I pushed it a little bit and kicked it straight, and it went right."