Sept. 15, 2007
NEW ORLEANS, La.-Junior free safety David Skehan picked off a pair of passes and redshirt-freshman receiver Casey Robottom hauled in four passes for 115 yards, but it was not enough as the Tulane University football team dropped a 34-10 decision to Conference USA foe Houston Saturday evening in the Louisiana Superdome.
The Cougars tallied 505 yards of total offense, including 87 yards rushing and 49 yards receiving by running back Anthony Alridge. With the loss, Tulane falls to 0-2 on the year and 0-1 in league play. Houston meanwhile, improves to 1-1 overall and 1-0 in C-USA action.
"As I told the team, I'm disappointed we lost the football game," first-year Tulane head football coach Bob Toledo said. "One thing I did tell the team after the game was that I was proud of the effort that they gave us throughout. We never caved in or gave in to it, but we spotted them 24 points at half. When you let them get six out of seven on third down - one of those was a fourth-down play - and you get only one out of seven, have dropped balls and interceptions, you need to execute better.
Houston quarterbacks threw a pair of balls to Skehan in the first half, but scored on every other possession over the first 30 minutes to take a 24-0 lead into the locker room at halftime. The Green Wave defense stiffened in the second half, but the Cougars still managed 10 more points as Alridge scored on a 49-yard pass from Blake Joseph in the third quarter and T.J. Lawrence connected on a 33-yard field goal in the fourth.
Tulane avoided the shutout with a 28-yard field goal by sophomore Ross Thevenot with 7:16 left to play, and closed out the scoring when redshirt-freshman quarterback Kevin Moore connected with sophomore wideout Chris Dunn from six yards out with 32 seconds remaining.
Skehan's two interceptions were the most by a Tulane player since Tra Boger snared a pair of picks against Marshall in a game played in Mobile, Ala., on Oct. 29, 2005.
Robottom, meanwhile, showed the knack for making the big play with a 42-yard reception from Elliott in the second quarter and a 41-yard catch from Moore in the fourth. His receiving yardage was the most by a Tulane rookie since Robert Griffin had 126 yards on six catches vs. Air Force on Oct. 18, 1980.
Junior linebacker Evan Lee paced the Tulane defense with a career-high 12 tackles, including eight solo stops, while junior cornerback Josh Lumar was next with seven. The Green Wave defense forced three turnovers on the night as senior safety Joe Goosby recovered a fumble caused by sophomore corner Matt Harding during the fourth quarter.
Lawrence put Houston on the board early by capping a seven-play, 53-yard opening drive with a 33-yard field goal 2:59 into the ballgame. It quickly became a 10-0 affair as Houston linebacker Cody Lubojasky picked off a Scott Elliott pass just over six minutes later and returned it 62 yards to set up a six-yard touchdown jaunt by Alridge.
From there, the Cougar defense forced a Tulane punt, and Houston embarked on a 14-play, 64-yard drive that culminated with a Case Keenum-to-Mark Hafner, nine-yard scoring strike to push the lead to 17. Four drives later, Houston capped its first-half scoring when reserve quarterback Blake Joseph hooked up with Teric Williams from 27 yards to make a 24-0 ballgame.
"It's obvious when you don't execute things, it doesn't matter who you play, you don't win," Toledo said. "When you don't throw and catch, when you don't get off blocks and tackle, and I don't think they did anything particularly different than what we've seen on film, but we didn't get it done."
Senior running back Matt Forté led the Tulane offensive attack with 85 yards rushing and tied for the team lead with four receptions for another 22 yards through the air.
While Alridge headlined the Cougar attack, he had plenty of help as Terrance Ganaway ran for 82 yards on eight carries as well. Keenum led the Houston passing game with 185 yards and a touchdown on 13-of-21 passing, but Joseph came off the bench to complete 10-of-12 passes for 113 yards and two scores. Donnie Avery was the favorite target of the UH signal callers, hauling in seven passes for 103 yards, while Hafner was close behind with six catches for 51 yards and a touchdown.
The Green Wave return to action on Saturday, Sept. 22, when they take on Southeastern Louisiana at 7 p.m. in the Louisiana Superdome. The game was originally slated to kickoff at 6 p.m., but was moved back to honor the Jewish Day of Atonement - Yom Kippur.
Saturday's game vs. the Lions is the third of four consecutive home games for Tulane to open the 2007 season as the Green Wave will also play host to arch-rival LSU on Sept. 29. Season and single-game tickets for the 2007 season remain on sale through the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office. Tickets can be purchased in person, over the telephone at (504) 861-WAVE or via the internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.