Nov. 3, 2007
NEW ORLEANS, La.-Golden Hurricane quarterback Paul Smith completed 18-of-27 passes for 319 yards and three scores as the Tulane University football team dropped a 49-25 decision to Conference USA foe Tulsa Saturday evening in the Louisiana Superdome.
Junior defensive back Chinonso Echebelem and senior defensive tackle Avery Williams posted career high tackle numbers with 13 and 11, respectively, but it was not enough to overcome a Tulsa attack that rolled up 600 yards of total offense on the day. With the loss, Tulane falls to 2-7 on the year and 1-4 in C-USA play. Tulsa, meanwhile, improves to 6-3 overall and 4-2 in league action.
"I wasn't pleased with the game itself," Tulane head coach Bob Toledo said. "Physically, they beat us in all three phases: offense, defense, kicking game. Offensively, we had a hard time running the football. We didn't have the ball as much as we would've liked. Defensively, we couldn't stop the run or the pass. Kicking game-wise, they run a kickoff back for a touchdown. That was our worst football game of the year. We were just physically beat in the game tonight."
Senior running back Matt Forté saw his string of 200-plus yard rushing efforts halted at four, but still ran for 103 yards on 26 carries. Junior wideout Brian King posted a career-high 91 receiving yards and a touchdown on four receptions, and sophomore wide receiver Jeremy Williams tied his career high with six catches for an additional 76 yards through the air.
Three of Avery Williams' tackles were for loss, and Echebelem finished the day with a forced fumble and an interception. Junior middle linebacker Evan Lee and senior strong safety Joe Goosby finished with 10 and seven tackles, respectively, and junior free safety David Skehan posted a pair of fumble recoveries to go along with five tackles and a pass break-up.
While Smith posted his C-USA record ninth consecutive 300-yard passing game, running back Jamad Williams posted a career high with 153 yards on 31 carries. The Golden Hurricane ran for 281 yards on the day, including a career-high 72 by A.J. Whitmore.
Trae Johnson was Smith's favorite receiver, snaring four passes for 49 yards and a touchdown, while Brennan Marion had a game-high 102 receiving yards and a score on three grabs.
Tulsa jumped out to an early 14-0 lead as Smith scored on a four-yard run with 2:49 left in the first quarter and connected with Marion for a 52-yard score less than three minutes into the second. Tulane cut the lead in half when King hauled in a 44-yard touchdown strike from sophomore quarterback Anthony Scelfo, but the Golden Hurricane answered with a 92-yard kickoff return by Roy Roberts to make it a 21-7 ballgame.
Sophomore place kicker Ross Thevenot nailed a 34-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, and an on-side kick to start the second gave the Green Wave new life as sophomore linebacker Travis Burks recovered Thevenot's boot at the Tulane 44 yard line.
The Green Wave made the trick play work but driving 56 yards down the field and capping the nine-play drive with a two-yard Scelfo run. Forté took the direct snap for a 2-point conversion to make the score 21-18, but Tulsa scored on its next two possessions to put the game out of reach.
Smith ran in his second touchdown of the day with 6:27 left to play in the third, and connected with Kyle Grooms on the first play of the fourth quarter to push the lead to 35-18. Following a pair of Tulsa punts, the Golden Hurricane hung its final skins with a 37-yard pass from Smith to Johnson with 3:58 left to play, and Whitmore took a direct snap 56 yards for a score on the Golden Hurricane's next possession.
Tulane closed out the scoring when junior quarterback Scott Elliott connected with senior wide receiver Kenneth Guidroz from seven yards out with 11 second remaining on the clock. Guidroz finished the game with three catches for 38 yards.
The Green Wave return to action on Saturday, Oct. 10, when they take on league foe UTEP at 6 p.m. in the Louisiana Superdome. The game against the Miners is the final home game of the 2007 season, and Tulane's 13-member senior class will be honored with a special ceremony prior to kickoff. Tickets to Tulane's home finale are 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.