Aug. 26, 2009
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane football team took on a different look during its scrimmage today than it did during last Saturday's scrimmage when the Green Wave were without the services of 28 players who were held out after suffering from flu-like symptoms. Today, freshman running back Payten Jason stole the show by racking up 80 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries at the Westfeldt Practice Facility.
In the final scrimmage before the season opener next Friday, the Green Wave went through a scripted 74-play scrimmage that featured offense, defense, field goal, punt, punt return, kickoff, kickoff return and short yardage. Although the offense did string together 381 total yards, the defense came up with big plays at crucial moments and would have had a higher sack count in a real game since the TU signal callers are off limits from hitting.
When Jason wasn't churning out the yards on the ground, sophomore quarterback Joe Kemp displayed his pinpoint accuracy by completing 7-of-8 attempts (.875) for 114 yards, including a 35-yard strike to freshman Devin Figaro. Junior Kevin Moore was 5-of-11 for 96 yards, while redshirt freshman Ryan Griffin was 3-of-6 for 16 yards. Altogether, the quarterbacks combined for 15-of-25 (.600) passing for 226 yards.
Along with Jason, who averaged 5.0 yards per carry, J.T. McDonald ran for 26 yards and a touchdown, while the fullback duo of Jordan Stephany and Antoine Duplessis each struck pay dirt. Stephany tied Jason with two rushing touchdowns on the day.
"One of the things we tried to do today was stress the team a little bit," Tulane head coach Bob Toledo said. "We went 10-12 plays at a time and used a 40-second clock to make them move fast. I thought both the tempo and enthusiasm were both good. We haven't played a game yet, but there were a lot of nice individual performances today.
"We kept some guys out today like Andre Anderson, Jeremy Williams and Casey Robottom and had freshmen take their places. I thought Peyton Jason, for a true freshman, did a great job running the ball on offense and running back kickoffs. Andre's our guy, but Peyton's going to play," Toledo said.
Defensively, senior David Kirksey accounted for a team-best eight tackles, including six solo stops, from his middle linebacker position. Kirksey has the play of the day when he turned back McDonald at the one-yard line. Kirksey also tallied two tackles for lost yardage and a sack.
The defensive unit amassed nine tackles for lost yardage, including two sacks, against TU's first, second and third string offenses.
The Green Wave opens the 2009 season at home against Conference USA rival Tulsa in front of a national televised audience on ESPN on Friday, September 4 at 7 p.m.
Tulane football season tickets remain on sale, and packages start as low as $90. Mini plans are also available. For more information, please call 504-861-WAVE (9283) or online at TulaneGreenWave.com.