Aug 29, 2013
Tulane 34, Jackson State 7
Tulane Game 1
New Orleans, La.
Thursday's game marked the first-ever meeting between Tulane and Jackson State on the gridiron.
The 27-point margin of victory was the largest for the Green Wave in a season-opening win since defeating The Citadel, 54-6, on Sept. 19, 1953, at old Tulane Stadium.
With the win, Tulane is now 3-0 all-time against teams from the Southwestern Athletic Conference after defeating Southern twice previously: 41-7 on Sept. 29, 2001, and 37-19 on Aug. 31, 2002. Both of those games were played in the then-Louisiana Superdome.
The win improves Tulane's all-time record in season-opening contests to 62-56-2, including a 51-32-2 mark when opening the year at home and a 7-15 showing when opening things up in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Second-year head coach Curtis Johnson is now 1-1 in season openers, and Tulane is now 67-46-4 in its first home game of the year (there were no home games played in 1897 and 2005).
Tulane's win over Jackson State improved the Green Wave's record over NCAA Division I-Football Championship Subdivision opponents (formerly I-AA) to 11-0. Tulane previously defeated Chattanooga 33-19 on Sept. 3, 1998, Southern in 2001 and 2002, Northwestern State 27-24 on Sept. 9, 2003, Florida A&M 39-19 on Sept. 11, 2004, McNeese State 42-32 on Sept. 26, 2009, and Southeastern Louisiana 28-21 on Oct. 1, 2005, 35-27 on Sept. 22, 2007, 27-21 on Sept. 2, 2010 and 47-33 on Sept. 3, 2011. Each of those games were played in the Superdome with the exception of the 2003 Northwestern State contest, which was at Tad Gormley Stadium, and the 2005 SLU game, which was at LSU's Tiger Stadium.
The Green Wave offense churned out 158 rushing yards and two touchdowns against the Tigers. The rushing total was higher than any game a year ago (season high of 153 vs UAB on Oct. 6, 2012) and is the most since Tulane ran for 185 at Hawai'i on Nov. 26, 2011, in that year's season finale.
The Green Wave defense forced six turnovers against Jackson State (four interceptions, two fumble recoveries) since Tulane had eight - five interceptions, three fumble recoveries - at Army on Sept. 20, 2003. The four interceptions were the most by the team since snaring five at Army in the eight-turnover ballgame. The Green Wave have now forced at least one turnover in each of its last 14 games dating back to the 2011 season finale at Hawai'i.
Senior Jordan Sullen, who sat out last season, made his return to the field a memorable one as he recorded the first interception of his career on Thursday against Jackson State. Also logging their first career picks were senior LB Kyle Davis and freshman CB Jarrod Franklin. Sophomore CB Lorenzo Doss pulled down Tulane's first interception of the day to record the sixth of his career.
With three catches for 82 yards, senior WR Ryan Grant extended his consecutive games with a catch streak to 21 on Thursday against the Tigers. The last time Grant - who missed the final 12 games of the 2011 season due to injury - failed to catch a pass in a game he played in came on Oct. 9, 2010, against Army. He now has multiple-catch outings in each of his last six contests.
For his career, Grant has now caught 122 passes for 1,812 yards (14.9 avg.) and 12 touchdowns. He currently ranks sixth in Tulane career history in 100-yard games (9), 11th in Tulane career history in receiving yardage, 13th in touchdown grabs and 16th in catches.
Senior preseason All-American K Cairo Santos was perfect on the day with a pair of field goals (22 and 34 yards) and four PATs in as many attempts. He has now converted each of his last 23 field goals and 30 PATs dating back to last season.
For his career, Santos has now scored 236 points after connecting on 47-of-57 field goals (.824) and 95-of-98 PATs (.969). He moved into fourth place in Tulane history in PAT attempts (leaping Todd Wiggins' mark of 97 from 1987-89) and remains first in Tulane history in career field goal percentage, third in points scored kicking and field goals, fourth in PATS made, sixth in total points scored and PAT percentage, and seventh in field goal attempts.
Senior RB Orleans Darkwa ran 13 times for 50 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Jackson State. It was the 10th multiple-touchdown game of his career.
For his career, Darkwa has now run 488 times for 2,140 yards and 29 touchdowns. He leaped to seventh place in Tulane history in career touchdowns scored (breaking a time of 27 with Jamaican Dartez [1995-98]) and claimed sole possession of eighth place in rushing attempts (breaking a tie of 475 with Marvin Christian [1977-79]) while remains fourth in rushing touchdowns and eighth in rushing yards.
Junior QB Nick Montana's debut at Tulane saw the transfer toss a pair of touchdown passes while completing 6-of-14 passes for 144 yards. His second-quarter touchdown toss to junior WR Justyn Shackleford was the first scoring strike from a member of the Montana family in the Superdome since his father and Pro Football Hall of Famer, Joe, completed a two-yard touchdown toss to Keith Cash in the fourth quarter of a Chiefs/Saints NFL contest on Sept. 4, 1994 when the three-time Super Bowl MVP was a member of the Kansas City squad.
Sophomore DE Royce LaFrance tallied a career-high 1.5 tackles for loss and tied a career best with four tackles (3 solo, 1 assist). Not to be left out, junior LB Brandon Schmidt had career-high two solo stops.
Four Tulane players extended their double-digit starting streaks on Thursday against Jackson State: junior RT Sean Donnelly (13), senior WR Ryan Grant (13), sophomore FS Darion Monroe (13) and senior RG Rio Mares (11).
Six Green Wave players made their first collegiate starts on Thursday vs Jackson State: redshirt-freshman WR Devon Breaux, redshirt-freshman LG Nathan Shienle, sophomore LT Arturo Uzdavinis, senior DT Chris Davenport, junior DE Andre Robinson, freshman LB Nico Marley
Breaux, Davenport (transfer from LSU), Marley, Montana (transfer from Mt. San Antonio College) and Shienle were five of 19 Green Wave players to make their Tulane debuts on Thursday against Jackson State, joining true freshmen CB Richard Allen, DB Leonard Davis, CB Jarrod Franklin, LB Sergio Medina, CB Parry Nickerson, DT Tanzel Smart, OG Chris Taylor, LB Eric Thomas, RB Marshall Wadleigh, DT Eldrick Washington and DS Michael Lizanich, redshirt-freshman RB Lazedrick Thompson and juniors DE Tyler Gilbert (transfer from Southwest Mississippi CC) and DB Anthony Bronzo.
Tulane's game captains for Thursday's contest against Jackson State were senior RB Orleans Darkwa representing the offense, senior DT Chris Davenport representing the defense, and senior K Cairo Santos representing the special teams.