Sept. 25, 2010
Houston 42, Tulane 23
Tulane Game 3
Saturday's game marked the 16th meeting between Tulane and Houston on the gridiron. With the loss, the Green Wave are now 4-12 against the Cougars, including a 2-7 record in The Lone Star State. The loss was the eighth consecutive by the Green Wave in the series.
With the loss, Tulane falls to 1-2 on the year and 0-1 in Conference USA play. The Green Wave are now 5-10 in league openers with a 4-4 mark in conference-opening games played on the road. Tulane has now dropped five straight league openers with the last win coming on Sept. 24, 2005, in a 31-10 decision over SMU in Dallas, Texas.
Tulane's 23 points on the day were the most scored by the Green Wave against Houston since Oct. 11, 2003, when the Cougars squeaked by, 45-42, in a game played at New Orleans' Tad Gormley Stadium. It was also the most points scored by Tulane on the road since defeating Rice 45-31 on Nov. 17, 2007 in Houston.
After not completing a pass for 30-or-more yards in either of the first two games, Tulane had pass completions of 49 (Moore-to-Figaro), 38 (Kemp-to-Robottom) and 36 yards (Moore-to-Figaro [TD]) on Saturday against the Cougars.
The Tulane defense tallied a season-best 11.0 tackles for 56 yards in losses on Saturday afternoon. The last time the Green Wave tallied double-digit tackles for loss came on Oct. 6, 2007, when Tulane had 13.0 tackles for 57 yards loss at Army.
The Green Wave defense also posted a season-best five sacks for 37 yards in losses. The last time Tulane had five or more sacks came on Sept. 12, 2008, when the Wave had five sacks for 26 yards lost.
Tulane forced three turnovers on the day as senior CB Phillip Davis had an interception and a fumble recovery while senior DE Josh Smith added a fumble recovery of his own. The interception was the second in as many games for Davis and the fourth of his career. All for of Davis' picks have come since the 2009 season.
Four Tulane players completed passes on Saturday against Houston as starter Ryan Griffin was 4-of-8 for 28 yards, senior Kevin Moore completed 12-of-26 passes for 156 yards, junior Joe Kemp completed a 38-yard pass on an end-around option pass, and sophomore D.J. Ponder was 1-for-1 for a four-yard gain.
Tulane got its first points of the season by a non-freshman as senior TE Cody Sparks caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from senior QB Kevin Moore with 4:19 left in the first half. The scoring connection was Sparks' first touchdown of his career and Moore's first TD toss since the 2008 season. It was also Tulane's first passing touchdown of the 2010 season.
Kevin Moore's two touchdown passes against Houston was the second multiple-scoring-strike games of his career. Moore's other multi-TD day came on Sept. 25, 2008, when he had three touchdowns vs. SMU.
With four catches for 58 yards, senior wide receiver Casey Robottom increased his string of multiple-catch games to 12. The last time Robottom failed to post multiple catches was against McNeese State on Sept. 26, 2009, when he did not record a touch in the Louisiana Superdome.
Robottom also had a career-long 38-yard punt return in the fourth quarter of the ballgame. His previous career-long return was 18 against Army on Oct. 4, 2008, at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans, La.
Sophomore WR Devin Figaro, who missed the first two games of the season due to a team-imposed suspension, tallied a career-best 95 receiving yards and a career-high four catches. His 36-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter was the first scoring grab of his career. Figaro's 49-yard grab in the third quarter was the longest of his career and the longest by the Green Wave this season.
Junior Joe Kemp, who is playing his first season at wide receiver after playing his first two years at quarterback, hauled in a career-best three passes for 25 yards. He also completed a 38-yard pass on an end-around option in the second quarter.
Junior RB Albert Williams tallied a career high 83 yards on 14 carries in Saturday's game at Houston. His previous career high came in the 2010 season opener when Williams ran for 62 yards on 14 totes against Southeastern Louisiana.
Not to be left out, sophomore RB Payten Jason also posted career highs in rushing attempts (6) and rushing yards (30) and scored his first collegiate touchdown with a nine-yard run with 9:19 left in the ballgame.
Sophomore FS Shakiel Smith posted a career-high 13 tackles (7 solo, 6 assists) against the Cougars. His previous career high was 10 originally set at Army last Oct. 3 and tied on Nov. 28, 2009, at SMU.
Junior DE Dezman Moses also tallied career-high tackle totals with 10 stops (2 solo, 8 assists) against the Cougars. His 1.5 sacks were the first of his career and his 3.5 tackles for loss was a career high.
Sophomore LB Trent Mackey posted 11 tackles (2 solo, 9 assists) on Saturday, marking the third consecutive game he has posted double-digit tackles in as many games in 2010. For the year, Mackey leads the team with 38 tackles (17 solo, 21 assists).
Three Tulane players extended their double-digit starting streaks - senior OT Pete Hendrickson with 27 straight, senior WR Casey Robottom with 21, senior CB Phillip Davis with 15 and sophomore QB Ryan Griffin with 11.
Senior Andrew Nierman started Saturday's game at Houston at center, marking the 38th time in as many games that he has played in that he also started. The lone game during his time at Tulane that Nierman did not start was last season at LSU (10/31/10) when he was sidelined due to injury.
Junior defensive end Dezman Moses made his Tulane debut on Saturday at Houston. Moses was a member of the 2009 Green Wave team but had to sit out due to NCAA transfer rules after playing the 2007 and 2008 seasons at the University of Iowa.
Five additional Tulane players made their collegiate debuts on Saturday vs. Houston. Sophomore TE Stephen Suchy made his collegiate debut vs. the Cougars, serving as a member of the kickoff team in the second half. True freshman CB Kyle Davis also made his collegiate debut, serving as a member of the punt return team. Redshirt-freshman DE Devin Williams waited until the fourth quarter before appearing on the kickoff coverage team with under 10 minutes to play. Freshman DB Kyle Davis and redshirt-freshman OG also played late in the fourth quarter.
Three other players made their season debuts on Saturday in Houston. Sophomore TE Brock Sanders played on Tulane's PAT/Field Goal teams and junior OG Emmanuel Aluko - who was one of three players returning from suspension - saw time along the offensive line in the fourth quarter. Sophomore QB D.J. Ponder, meanwhile, made his season debut and first-ever appearance under center on Tulane's final drive of the ballgame.