NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University football team will open the Conference USA portion of its schedule on Saturday, Sept. 8, when the Green Wave travel to Oklahoma to take on league foe Tulsa at H.A. Chapman Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 11 a.m. (CDT) and the contest will be televised live nationally on the Fox Sports Network.
In addition to being the first league game of the 2012 season, the contest against the Golden Hurricane will be the first road contest for the Green Wave as Tulane will look to bounce back from a 24-12 loss to Rutgers last Saturday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
"I'm excited about this game," first-year Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson said. "It's our first on the road - the first time we get to go out somewhere else and play a football game. This is an exciting time for us. We've been in school this week, and I though they've been practicing exceptionally well. I think they've done a great job of putting stuff behind them. We didn't have very many mental mistakes - cutting down on both offense and defense - and I think it'll be a good start for us.
"I think these guys have been improving every day. Every time they step on the football team, they're improving. We are a young team. That's not an excuse, but young teams improve so much. By week four or week five, they'll still be improving. We've been playing a lot of young guys, and that's a good thing."
In addition to the televised broadcast, the Tulane/Tulsa contest will also be carried on the flagship station of Green Wave athletics, WIST AM 690, and can also be heard via the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com to paid members of the All-Access Pass. Live stats are also available on the web courtesy of GameTracker, and fans will once again have a chance to insert their opinion and ask questions interactively through "Tulane Live".
During the season opener against the Scarlet Knights, Tulane posted 262 yards of total offense and senior quarterback Ryan Griffin led the way with 254 through the air after completing 34-of-48 passes for one touchdown and an interception. Junior wideout Ryan Grant led all players with 110 receiving yards while sophomore running back Rob Kelley paced the squad with seven receptions, including an 11-yard touchdown grab.
Three defensive veterans tallied career-high tackle totals against Rutgers as senior safety Devon Walker had a team-best nine tackles (7 solo, 2 assists) while junior linebacker Zach Davis had eight stops (5 solo, 3 assists) and sophomore defensive tackle Kenny Welcome added four (all solo). Senior cornerback Ryan Travis accounted for Tulane's lone forced turnover with a second-quarter interception.
One thing that haunted the Green Wave during the season opener was penalties as Tulane was flagged 11 times for 120 yards. Johnson said he expects his team to improve in that regard and made precautions during the week of practice in an attempt to make sure that does not happen a second time.
"We did a couple of things," Johnson said. "No. 1, we made some position moves. We just can't have 11 penalties. We did some disciplinary things, we worked on perfect plays and we cut back some of our offense."
Tulsa, meanwhile, enters Saturday's game 0-1 on the year after dropping its season opener at Iowa State, 38-23. In that contest, the Golden Hurricane rolled up 358 yards of total offense (160 rushing, 198 passing) while giving up 441 (160 rushing, 281 passing) to the Cyclones.
Trey Watts led the Tulsa ground game with 125 yards on 10 carries while Cody Green completed 23-of-49 passes for 198 yards, two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. Bryan Burnham led the aerial attack with nine catches for 90 yards, but will miss the rest of the year after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament late in the game.
DeAundre Brown was one of three Golden Hurricane defenders to tally double-digit tackle totals at Iowa State and shared team-high honors with Marco Nelson with 13 each. Dexter was next with 10 stops, Brown mixed a pair of sacks among three tackles for loss, and Nelson added an interception and 1.5 tackles for loss to his tally.
"I think Tulsa is a good football team," Johnson added. "Their quarterback played well the other day. They run the ball extremely well and their receivers are really good. Defensively, they run around. They're a fast team. We've just got to go and play our kind of football game. If we can do that, I think we'll be alright."
Saturday's showdown with Tulsa marks the ninth meeting between the two schools, and the Golden Hurricane hold a commanding 7-1 advantage in the all-time series. Tulane has lost all seven games since the two teams shared C-USA membership dating back to 2005 and the Green Wave's lone win along the way came in a 25-15 decision back on Nov. 9, 1968. The Wave are 0-3 in Tulsa, including a 52-24 loss during their last trip on Oct. 16, 2010. Last season, Tulane fell 31-3.
Following the Tulsa contest, Tulane will enjoy a week off before returning to action on Saturday, Sept. 22, when the Green Wave play host to Ole Miss at 11 a.m. in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Ole Miss game is the first of two-straight home games for Tulane as Louisiana-Monroe will come to town on Sept. 29. Kickoff for that ballgame is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
Single-game and season-ticket sales for the 2012 football season remain for sale through the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office. The Ticket Office is located on the first floor of the James W. Wilson, Jr., Center on Ben Weiner Drive, and tickets can be purchased in person, over the phone at 504-861-WAVE (9283) or via the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.