Sept. 18, 2000
Tulane returns to non-conference play in search of its first victory of 2000, taking on SMU for the third consecutive season. The contest marks the second game ever to be played in the Mustangs' new on-campus stadium.
A Year Ago
Tulane scored 23 points in the first quarter and cruised to a 53-19 victory over SMU in the Superdome. Lineman Mitch Mouton scored after Glenn Lemoine blocked a Pony punt, and then TU picked up a safety when SMU downed a live ball in the endzone on the ensuing kickoff. After the free kick, Tulane took just three plays to score on a six-yard pass from Patrick Ramsey to Adrian Burnette. That duo would hook up for scoring plays twice more and Toney Converse added three rushing TDs as the Green Wave piled up 539 yards of total offense.
A gritty Green Wave team played Conference USA preseason co-favorite East Carolina even through nearly three quarters before the Pirates hit three long passes to pull away for a 37-17 victory in Greenville. TU's freshman backfield combo of QB J.P. Losman and RB Mewelde Moore combined for 470 yards of total offense as Tulane gained 269 rushing yards and totalled 16 first downs rushing. Tulane could not contain ECU QB David Garrard, who rushed for 112 yards and one TD and passed for 185 yards and two scores. Just 80 miles away, SMU fell to N.C. State 41-0 in Raleigh.
The schedule-makers did not do the Green Wave any favors in putting together this year's line-up. The SMU game is Tulane's third consecutive road game to start the season and the Green Wave plays six of its first eight games of 2000 away from home. The Green Wave finally comes home next Saturday when Cincinnati visits the Superdome. Tulane is also playing on the second of 10 straight Saturdays after its lone open date of the season two weeks ago.
Out of Its League
Since Conference USA play began in 1996, Tulane is 10-12 in non-conference contests, including an 0-1 mark so far in 2000. This season marks the first time that C-USA will play a seven-game league schedule, leaving just four non-conference openings. In 1996, teams played five league games. That number stood at six from 1997-99 until moving to seven this year. With the addition of TCU to Conference USA in 2001, C-USA will consist of 10 teams, with South Florida slated to be the 11th football-playing school beginning in 2003. Teams will play eight conference games in 2002.
With 131 yards on 22 carries versus East Carolina, rookie running back Mewelde Moore from Baton Rouge's Belaire High became the first Tulane back to post a 100-yard game since the 1998 season. Moore tallied 187 all-purpose yards in the game as he added 56 yards on a pair of pass receptions, including a 44-yarder down to the ECU six-yard line that set up Tulane's field goal. Moore currently leads Conference USA, and ranks 25th nationally, with his average of 106.5 rushing yards per game. He is averaging 5.6 yards per carry and ranks second in the league, and 33rd nationwide, in all-purpose yards per game.
A Glimpse of the Future
The freshman trio of Moore, quarterback J.P. Losman and Roydell Williams served notice that they are the Green Wave's offensive future. Losman, a redshirt from Venice, Calif., made his first start at quarterback in place of injured junior Patrick Ramsey and completed 20-of-35 passes for 299 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran the ball 19 times, netting 40 yards after picking up a total of 100 on the day. Williams made the first four catches of his collegiate career, including a 44-yard grab and run, while averaging 21.5 yards per catch.
In A Rush
Led by Moore, the Green Wave offense posted its best rushing day since the 1998 season with 188 net rushing yards (after 81 total yards in losses) and 16 rushing first downs. A year ago, Tulane hit double figures in first downs by rushing just once (12 versus ULL) and averaged just 93.3 rushing yards per game.
OL Iron Men
At least part of Tulane's rushing success must be attributed to the five "iron men" who currently comprise the Green Wave offensive line. The five -- junior Corey Sewell and senior Bernard Robertson at tackle, guards Bryson Westbrook (Sr.) and Charles Caldwell (Jr.) and center Torie Taulli (Jr.) -- have played nearly every offensive snap so far. Their efforts have not gone unnoticed by Tulane coaches. Robertson and Taulli have picked up the team's offensive player of the week honors for the first two games. Versus ECU, Westbrook had the unusual experience of catching a pass as he alertly grabbed a ball off a deflection and rumbled five yards for his first career reception.
In all, nine members of the Green Wave's 2000 recruiting class have contributed through the first two games of the season. In addition to Moore, who started the ECU game, Williams, OG Joe Mitchell, OT Jimmy Kosienski, DT Lonnie Crayton, LB/SS Wesley Heath, CB Lynaris Elpheage, FB Kris Coleman and TE Eddie Robinson are listed as second team players on the Tulane two-deep. Crayton is in the defensive line rotation and Elpheage has seen playing time at cornerback, while Heath, Coleman and Robinson have played primarily on special teams. Joe Mitchell is the offensive line's "sixth man". Six redshirt freshmen have seen consistent playing time, including Losman, running back Darlvon Bracy and linebacker/special teams leader Daniel Nevil.
Freshmen Williams and Moore were also highly-sought baseball players as Moore was drafted in the fourth round of the 2000 Major League Baseball Draft by the San Diego Padres and Williams was a fifth-round choice of the Cincinnati Reds. Prior to the Ole Miss game, Moore signed a contract with the Padres that will see him attend Tulane and continue to play football for the Green Wave while playing baseball during the summer. By attending his first class on August 30th, Williams bypassed the Reds and will concentrate on football, while also remaining eligible to play baseball for Tulane.
Free safety Quentin Brown and wide receiver Kerwin Cook both were taken off the field with left ankle sprains Saturday, although Cook returned to play in the game. Their status is day-to-day as is that of offensive tackle Corey Sewell, who has a thigh contusion. Quarterback Patrick Ramsey sat out the ECU game after suffering a slight separation ("one-plus" degree separation) of his right (throwing) shoulder in the Ole Miss game. Defensive end Glenn Lemoine has a strained pectoral muscle, but played versus East Carolina.
Money Inside The 20
Kicker Seth Marler booted a 29-yard field goal versus East Carolina. For his career, the sophomore from Lilburn, Ga. is 10-for-10 on field goals from inside the 30-yard line. Marler was a perfect 8-for-8 from that distance a year ago and has hit two short field goals this season.
They're Not ALL Freshmen
The senior linebacking duo of Jerry Phillips and Noel Ellis continues to lead the Green Wave defensively, especially when it comes to making big plays. The two, who have 441 career tackles between them, currently rank second (Phillips) and third (Ellis) on the 2000 Tulane tackle chart and lead the team with two (Phillips) and three (Ellis) tackles for loss. Phillips, who was named to the preseason Watch List for the Butkus Award for the second straight year, has made 21 career starts, and has compiled 256 career tackles, including 150 solo stops. Ellis, despite sharing the starting assignment with David Dorsey this season, has totalled 185 career stops, 114 unassisted, and has registered nine tackles for losses during his career.
Preseason Award Notes
In addition to Jerry Phillips' mention on the Butkus Award Watch List, junior punter Casey Roussel made the Watch List for the new Ray Guy Award, which will go the nation's top punter in 2000. Roussel currently leads Conference USA in punting with a 43.3-yard average. Senior offensive tackle Bernard Robertson was selected to the preseason All-Conference USA team in a vote by league coaches.
You Can Go Home
At least for eight Tulane players, the trip to Dalllas is a chance to return to their home state of Texas. Defensive starters Quentin Brown (FS, Ennis) and Floyd Dorsey (DE, Tyler) are the top Texans on the Green Wave squad for 2000. Ennis is in the Dallas Metro Area while Tyler is almost two hours' ride south. Assistant Coach Trooper Taylor is another native Texan returning to his roots on this trip. Taylor, a native of Cuero in southern Texas, went to school and played at Baylor, about an hour and 15 minutes down the road from Dallas.
The Green Wave continues to rank among the national leaders in terms of academic achievement of its football squad. With a graduation rate of better than 70 percent last year, Tulane was one of 26 schools to win honorable mention status from the American Football Coaches Association. Tulane also won the Conference USA Team Academic Award for Football in 1999.
Cincinnati visits New Orleans for a 5 p.m. kickoff in the Superdome in the Wave's first home game of the year.
"AB" is Able
Senior Adrian Burnette of Bastrop appears ready to jump into the leadership role among the Green Wave's receiving corps with six catches for 100 yards in the opener. Burnette recorded his seventh career 100-yard game to tie for fourth all-time at Tulane, behind only Marc Zeno (17), JaJuan Dawson (14) and P.J. Franklin (8). Burnette also passed the 100-catch mark for his career versus Ole Miss and ranks 10th all-time in catches (102), ninth in receiving yardage (1484) and tied for seventh in touchown catches (11).
The players selected Tulane's 2000 permanent captains at the conclusion of preseason drills. QB Patrick Ramsey (Jr.), and seniors CB Tim Carter, WR Adrian Burnette and LB Jerry Phillips will fill the captain role for Tulane this season.
Near & Far
Although 53 Green Wave players are from Louisiana and 14 of those hail from New Orleans, Tulane has players from 10 states on its roster with Florida, Texas and Georgia well-represented on the list. Four Green Wave players, TE Eddie Robinson, WR James Dunn and quarterbacks J.P. Losman and Chris Peterson, came to New Orleans from California. There are no North Carolinians on the Tulane roster.
Oh (No) Brother!
Despite the multitude of players with the same last names on the Tulane team (8 pairs), the 2000 Green Wave team does not boast any brothers. The Green Wave has two each of Dorseys (Floyd and Davis), Jones' (Corey and Jamal), Joseph's (Derrick and Ky), Mitchell's (Adrian and Joe), Phillips' (Jerry and Adrian), Robinson's (Eddie and Zander), Sewell's (Corey and Emmanuel) and Williams' (Marcus and Roydell).