Sept. 20, 2008
NEW ORLEANS - Junior running back André Anderson ran for a career-high 157 yards and a touchdown and junior safety Corey Sonnier posted a career-high 10 tackles as the Tulane University football team used a complete-team effort to defeat Louisiana-Monroe, 24-10, Saturday afternoon in the Louisiana Superdome.
Anderson posted his first career 100-yard game, while sophomore quarterback Kevin Moore threw for a career-best 272 yards on 19-of-32 passing. Sonnier, meanwhile, paced a Green Wave (1-2) defense that posted four sacks on the day while limiting the Warhawks (1-3) to 182 yards of total offense. In addition, the Green Wave defense held ULM to a 1-for-10 performance in third-down conversions.
"First of all, I'm really happy for our football team," Green Wave head coach Bob Toledo said. "They've worked hard and we finally won a game. You need to win after you work that hard because eventually you wonder why you're working hard. So this was something that proved to them that if you continue to do the things that are asked of you then you can win games.
"I'm really proud of their effort. I thought tonight all three phases were good. Our special teams played with a lot of passion and that's one of the things that I asked of them when we went out those doors. Play with passion and play as hard as you can play. I thought our defense did a super job with an exception of that last drive, fourth-down play. Offensively, we said we were going to pound the rock. We're going to pound on the rock until it cracks. And that's what we did."
The Green Wave got off to a fast start as junior Jeremy Williams brought the opening kickoff back 44 yards, Moore connected with sophomore tight end Cody Sparks for a 37-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage, and Anderson scored from nine yards out three plays later to put Tulane on top 7-0 just 1:50 into the ballgame.
Two drives later, Tulane doubled its advantage when freshman running back Albert Williams took an end-around handoff from Moore, darted up the right sideline and broke a couple of tackles along the way for a 37-yard score. A 24-yard field goal by junior kicker Ross Thevenot put the Wave on top, 17-0, with seven seconds left in the first half to give the home team the lead at the break.
Junior cornerback Charles Harris thwarted UL-Monroe's first drive of the second half with an interception, but the Warhawks were able to put together a seven-play, 50-yard drive during their second possession to give kicker Radi Jabour the opportunity to split the uprights from 47-yards out to make it a 14-point ballgame.
The Tulane offense, however, all but sealed the win in the opening drive of the fourth quarter when Moore connected with Williams from 19 yards out to give the Green Wave a commanding 24-3 advantage. ULM cut the lead back to 14 with a 10-play, 74-yard drive on the ensuing possession, which culminated with a direct snap to Darrell McNeal for a four-yard touchdown, but that was the last time the Warhawks touched the football.
Tulane took over at its own 13 yard line following a Green Wave penalty with 5:36 left to play, and Anderson put the game away almost single-handedly. Anderson ran the ball on nine of the next 10 plays to account for 40 yards before Moore took a knee twice to spark the home team's celebration.
"We practiced very physical and we played physical," Toledo said. "At the end they couldn't stop us. That's one of the things during the fourth quarter. A good running back gets stronger and then your offensive team gets stronger."
Anderson's rushing total came on a career-best 38 carries, which ranks tied for fifth in Tulane single-game history. He also hauled in a pair of passes for 20 yards to give him 177 yards of total offense for the day.
"We've been talking about it all week - just pound the rock, pound the rock," Anderson said. "I told the guys, just keep fighting, keep blocking hard and eventually we're going to make a big play here and there. That's what happened today. We had good runs all over the field. We just kept pounding the rock and kept going at it. We wore them down, kept churning our legs and just kept driving. That's what we wanted to do today."
Williams led the Green Wave aerial attack with six receptions for 49 yards and a score, and added 64 yards on a pair of kickoff returns. Redshirt-freshman Dominique Dade - who played in his first game as a collegiate student-athlete on Saturday against ULM - had three punt returns for 23 yards and finished with four tackles from his position at cornerback.
Sonnier paced the Tulane defense with 10 stops, and the Green Wave "D's" four sacks brought their season total to 13. Junior linebacker Logan Kelley had two of Tulane's sacks for 17 yards in losses, sophomore linebacker Devin Holland had another for a three-yard loss, and the combination of defensive ends Adam Kwentua and Justin Adams joined forces for a four-yard loss.
Warhawks running back Frank Goodin paced ULM with 87 yards on 14 carries while Kinsmon Lancaster completed 13-of-18 passes for 118 yards. McNeal paced the squad with four catches for 40 yards. Cardia Jackson led Louisiana-Monroe with a game-best 17 tackles - including 14 solo stops and a tackle for a loss of a yard, and Josh Thompson was next with eight tackles.
"It felt like we came out in the first half offensively sleep-walking," ULM head coach Charlie Weatherbie said. "I'm not sure if we executed anything in the first half offensively. We knew coming in that they (Tulane) were going to be a physical football team and we were going to have to play well to have a chance to win the football game. We just didn't play, I believe, like we were capable of playing. I thought Tulane was very hungry for a win, and they went out and took the game. We didn't play well enough to win, so we basically gave them the opportunity to win that football game."
The Green Wave return to action on Thursday, Sept. 25, when they play host to Conference USA rival SMU at 7 p.m. in the Louisiana Superdome. The game will televised live nationally on CBS College Sports Network, and tickets remain on sale through the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office. Tickets can be picked up in person on the first floor of the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center, and can also be purchased on-line at www.TulaneGreenWave.com and over the phone at 504-861-WAVE.