Sept. 18, 2006
NEW ORLEANS, La. - After running for 170 yards and a touchdown in the Green Wave's 32-29 win at Mississippi State, Tulane University football standout Matt Forté was named Conference USA Co-Offensive Player of the Week and Louisiana Sports Writers Association Offensive Player of the Week, the respective organizations announced Monday.
A junior running back from Slidell, La., Forté claimed the honors for the first time in his career and shared the C-USA title with Southern Miss running back Damion Fletcher (177 yards, 3 TD vs. North Carolina State). Tulane also announced the team-awarded Players of the Week as senior right tackle Derek Rogers, senior cornerback Jeremy Foreman and junior defensive back David Skehan claimed offensive, defensive and special teams honors, respectively.
"We are excited for Matt and excited to get that kind of performance out of him," Tulane head coach Chris Scelfo said. "He had a lot of help from his offensive line, and we need him to consistent for us throughout the year."
Forté averaged 5.9 yards on 29 carries against the Bulldogs, including three runs of at least 22 yards. He scored what proved to be the winning touchdown with a one-yard plunge late in the third quarter. His effort helped the Green Wave post its first win over an SEC opponent on the road since a 37-13 victory at Vanderbilt on Nov. 18, 1989.
In the fourth quarter, Forté became the Green Wave's clock-killing workhorse as he accumulated 84 yards on 11 carries in the final period, including a 12-yard run up the middle during the game's final possession which allowed Tulane to run out the clock.
His 170 yards were the most allowed by Mississippi State all season, and eclipsed the Bulldogs' season average (96.0 allowed) by 74 yards. Prior to Forté's performance, the best day by an MSU opponent on the ground was a 93-yard effort by South Carolina's Cory Boyd.
Forté's rushing total was the most by a Green Wave player since Nov. 13, 2004, when he ran for a career-best 216 yards against Army. It was Forté's third 100-yard rushing game of his career, and he now sits 11th all-time in the Tulane career rushing record book with 1,469 yards.
Forté becomes the first Tulane player to earn C-USA Player of the Week honors since then-senior Sean Lucas claimed the distinction last Sept. 26 for his special teams play vs. SMU. In addition, he is the first Green Wave student-athlete to claim C-USA Offensive Player of the Week recognition since Nov. 29, 2004, when quarterback Richard Irvin earned the honor for his play against TCU.
Rogers claimed the team's Offensive Player of the Week title after helping pave the way for Forté on the ground and providing pass protection that helped the Green Wave roll up 298 yards and four touchdowns through the air. A senior from St. Amant, La., Rogers played in his 36th consecutive game while helping Tulane amass 427 yards of total offense against a tough Mississippi State defense that held South Carolina and Auburn to an average of 331.0 yards per game.
Foreman was tabbed Defensive Player of the Week after posting three tackles (three solo), an interception and a pass-break up. A native of Lutcher, La., Foreman recorded a career-best 49-yard interception return in the third quarter to help set up the fourth of Tulane's five touchdowns. He tallied two solo stops in the second quarter, an assist in the third and a solo tackle in the fourth.
He broke up his first pass of the year in the second quarter and posted his first pick in the third. Foreman helped spearhead a defensive effort that held the Bulldogs in check for most of the day, including limiting Mississippi State to 186 yards through three quarters of play.
Skehan, meanwhile, earned the special teams honor for his performance as a member of Tulane's punt, punt return, kickoff and kickoff return teams. In addition, Skehan started for the first time against Mississippi State and posted three solo tackles from his post at strong safety.
Foreman, Forté, Rogers, Skehan and the rest of the Green Wave return to action on Saturday, Sept. 23, when they travel to Baton Rouge to take on arch-rival LSU at 7 p.m. at Tiger Stadium. The game against the Tigers is the last of three straight road games to open the 2006 season before the Green Wave open the home portion of their schedule on Sept. 30 against Conference USA foe SMU.
Season and single-game tickets for the 2006 season are currently for sale through the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office. Tickets can be purchased in person, via the telephone at (504) 861-WAVE or via the internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com. In addition, single-game tickets are also available via Ticket Master at www.TicketMaster.com and at all Ticket Master outlets.