Oct. 15, 2011
UTEP 44, Tulane 7
Tulane Game 7
New Orleans, La.
Saturday's game marked the seventh meeting between Tulane and UTEP on the gridiron. With the loss, the Green Wave fall to 3-4 in the all-time series and lost to the Miners in New Orleans for the first time in three games.
With the loss, Tulane falls to 2-5 on the year and 1-2 in Conference USA play.
The 44 points allowed is the most by Tulane against the Miners, as is the 37-point margin of defeat. Prior to today's game, the most lopsided loss in the series was 24 as UTEP downed Tulane 45-21 on Oct. 14, 2005, at Joe Aillet Stadium in Ruston, La.
Junior middle linebacker Trent Mackey once again led the team in tackles with 14 (12 solo, 2 assists). Mackey now has 13 career double-digit tackle performances, including five already this season.
Senior defensive end Dezman Moses tied a career high with 2.0 sacks on Saturday against the Miners. Moses set his career high in last year's season finale with 2.0 sacks at Marshall on Nov. 27.
Junior cornerback Ryan Travis tallied a career-high three pass break-ups and picked off his team-leading third pass of the season.
Travis' interception was one of three turnovers forced by Tulane on Saturday. Junior cornerback Alex Lauricellaposted his first career interception with 3:45 to play in the third quarter, and redshirt-freshman linebacker Ray Oppman recovered his first career fumble with 4:32 left to go in the game.
Seeing the first extensive action of the season, junior quarterback D.J. Ponder posted career highs in pass attempts (33), completions (12) and yards (129). He entered the game midway through the second quarter after Ryan Griffin suffered a bruised hip.
Sophomore Orleans Darkwa ran for 69 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries while leading the team with four receptions (for 32 yards). His rushing touchdown was the seventh of the season and the 18th of his career. Darkwa is now just one touchdown away from tying for the No. 8 spot in Tulane single-season history (with eight other players) and is moved into sole possession of ninth place in Tulane career rushing touchdowns (three behind eighth-placed Mewelde Moore).
With 73 yards on five kickoff returns, freshman Robert Kelley has now returned 35 kickoffs for 737 yards. His total returns stand fourth in Tulane single-season history while his return yardage is now sixth. He is now just nine returns and 301 yards shy of the single-season records of 44 and 1,038 yards established by Jeff Liggon in 1994.
As an offense, Tulane threw four interceptions on the day. It was the most since Nov. 15, 2008, when the Green Wave had four interceptions in a 41-24 loss to UAB.
Redshirt-freshman L.J. Parker made his collegiate debut on Saturday against the Miners. After sitting the first 30 minutes, Parker was on the Green Wave kickoff team to start the third quarter.
Five Tulane players extended their double-digit starting streaks on Saturday vs. UTEP: senior offensive guard Emmanuel Aluko (11), junior defensive end Austen Jacks (19), junior middle linebacker Trent Mackey (19), junior safety Shakiel Smith (19) and junior cornerback Ryan Travis (19).