Sept. 29, 2007
NEW ORLEANS-La.-The Green Wave defense posted a season-high six sacks - including two by senior defensive tackle Antonio Harris - and senior running back Matt Forté tallied 105 all-purpose yards, but it was not enough as the Tulane University football team dropped a 34-9 decision to No. 2 LSU Saturday afternoon in the Louisiana Superdome.
The Green Wave (1-3) gave the Tigers (5-0) all they could handle throughout the first 30 minutes of play, and took a 9-7 advantage when sophomore running back André Anderson scored from five yards out with 4:11 to go before halftime. From there, however, LSU closed out the half with a 36-yard field goal and scored 24 unanswered points in the second half to earn the victory.
"Goliath was a 40-point favorite too, but David hit him right between the eyes and knocked him out," Tulane head coach Bob Toledo said. "That's what we were going to try to do before the game. Our kids were pretty fired up and we played pretty hard. We didn't pull it off, but we battled and I think we gained respect all over the country today.
"I think we're getting better. I felt bad that I was playing a little bit of Bear Bryant and crying the blues all week. But deep down inside, I've got a lot of faith in these guys. They're getting better and I think we can make a little run here."
Tulane's six sacks were the most since the Green Wave had a half dozen against SMU on Sept. 24, 2005, in Dallas, Texas, and were the most allowed by an LSU team since Florida had eight against the Tigers on Oct. 6, 2001, in Baton Rouge. The Green Wave defense held the Tigers to a season-low 134 yards rushing, which is more than 111 below their season average.
Clinging to a one-point lead at halftime, the Tigers roared out of the game in the second half. LSU's Trindon Holliday got things going with a 26-yard kickoff return, and 11 plays later, Colt David kicked a 33-yard field goal to extend the lead to 13-9.
Tulane fumbled on the ensuing possession and the turnover proved to be costly as Jacob Hester ran one yard over left guard five plays later to make it a 20-9 ballgame with 5:53 left to play in the third quarter. It remained an 11-point affair the rest of the stanza, but LSU tacked on a pair of touchdowns in the final period to make the score more lopsided than the action on the field played out.
Tiger running back Charles Scott capped an eight-play, 76-yard drive with a 35-yard scamper with 12 minutes left to play, and hit paydirt again with a three-yard run less than four minutes later to account for the final score.
"I am extremely happy with the effort of our football team," Toledo said. "I'm obviously disappointed that we lost the football game. We should never like losing, but we prepared them well. I thought our defensive coaches did a superb job. Physically, we played against the best team in the country."
LSU opened the scoring with a three-yard run by Hester less than five minutes into the ballgame, but the Green Wave got on the board in the second quarter when the Tigers were called for holding in their own endzone for a safety to make it a 7-2 contest. The Tulane defense did its part, holding the Tigers out of the endzone the rest of the half, and Anderson capped an 11-play, 58-yard drive with a five-yard jaunt before LSU started its comeback.
Junior middle linebacker Evan Lee posted a career high in tackles for the second time in 2007 with 13 tackles (five solo, eight assists) against the Tigers, while senior strong safety Joe Goosby and junior weak-side backer James Dillard followed with seven apiece.
Harris led the Green Wave sack attack with two, Lee was next with one and a half, and the duo of Frank Morton and Adam Kwentua each had one. Junior cornerbacks Charles Harris and Josh Lumar had two pass break-ups each, while junior free safety David Skehan picked off his third pass of the year.
Forté led all players with 73 yards rushing, while Anderson tallied 18 on seven carries. Making his first collegiate start under center, sophomore quarterback Anthony Scelfo completed 11-of-26 passes for 117 yards. Senior tight end Gabe Ratcliff and junior wide receiver Brian King led the Tulane aerial attack with four catches each.
Scott was one of seven LSU ballcarriers on the day and led the Tiger ground game with 53 yards on six carries (8.8 avg.). Quarterback Matt Flynn posted a career high with 258 yards on 16-of-29 passing, and Brandon LaFell led the Fighting Tigers' receiving corps with four catches for 76 yards. Safety Craig Steltz and defensive end Kirston Pittman tied for the LSU lead with seven tackles each.
The Green Wave return to action on Saturday, Oct. 6, when they take on the Black Knights of Army at 6 p.m. in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPNU live from West Point, N.Y. 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.