Sept. 20, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University football team will look to make it two in a row as the Green Wave travel to New York to take on Syracuse on Saturday in the Carrier Dome. Kickoff for that game is slated for 11:30 a.m. (CDT) and will be televised live on the Atlantic Coast Conference's Regional Sports Network (RSN) with local coverage on Fox Sports New Orleans.
The Wave head to The Empire State riding the crest of a 24-15 win over Conference USA newcomer Louisiana Tech last Thursday in Ruston, La., but the players and coaches alike realize that the Orange will present a much tougher opponent. The last time Tulane won back-to-back contests was during the 2009 campaign when the Wave downed McNeese State 42-32 on Sept. 26 before posting a 17-16 win at Army on Oct. 3.
Late Field Goals Sinks Wave As Football Falls To Syracuse, 37-34
Junior quarterback Ryan Griffin completed 24-of-30 passes for a 320 yards and junior linebacker Trent Mackey posted a career-best 18 tackles, but it was not enough as the Tulane University football team dropped a 37-34 heartbreaker to Syracuse Saturday night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
"We know that this opponent is going to be tough. We know they're going to be big. They're going to be physical on the offensive line and defensive line. Syracuse has been in the weight room a lot. It's going to be a big challenge for us. I think our guys will be ready to play. The way we've practiced the last couple of days, we practiced with a lot of emotion and a lot of energy, and I believe we'll be be ready. Can we do enough to win this game? We'll see."
In addition to the television coverage, Saturday's game will be broadcast on the flagship station of Tulane Football, WMTI 106.1 FM "The Ticket", and live audio will be available on the web at www.TulaneGreenWave.com to paid members of the All-Access Pass. Live stats are also available on the Internet via GameTracker.
Senior tailback Orleans Darkwa leads the Tulane ground game with 150 yards and five touchdowns on 43 carries while junior fullback Rob Kelley is next with 140 yards on 21 totes. Junior Nick Montana highlights the aerial attack, completing 55-of-97 passes for 706 yards, seven touchdowns and a pair of interceptions.
Senior wideout Ryan Grant is the top target to date, leading the team with 24 receptions for 348 yards and three touchdowns. Kelley and sophomore tight end Sydie London share second place on the squad with seven grabs each for 65 and 33 yards, respectively, while junior Justyn Shackleford is second on the club with a pair of touchdown catches.
Defensively, Tulane has six sacks among 25 tackles for loss, has knocked down 28 passes and forced 11 turnovers courtesy of seven interceptions and four fumble recoveries. Junior strong safety Sam Scofield leads the Green Wave with 25 tackles (19 solo, 6 assists), followed by freshman linebacker Nico Marley with 19 (11 solo, 8 assists) and sophomore free safety Darion Monroe (12 solo, 5 assists).
Senior defensive lineman Julius Warmsley headlines the squad with six tackles for loss, two sacks and a pair of forced fumbles. Sophomore cornerback Lorenzo Doss paces the team with two interceptions while sharing the lead in pass break-ups with Scofield at five apiece.
"The offense hasn't been consistent, but they've been playing better and better," Johnson said. "We're kind of steady. I'd like to see more running of the football, but those guys did well the other night. We've got to get better and we know it.
"Defensively, the first half of that game, it was mental mistake after mental mistake against South Alabama. You get sick if you go back and watch it with our critical eyes. Then all of a sudden, our defense settled in and gave up just 10 points - and seven of those came on a special teams play - so you have the feeling that they could play well. Now, will they continue to play well? I just hope so, but I've always felt that this defense is a pretty good defense."
Syracuse, meanwhile, enters the weekend 1-2 on the year and fresh off a 54-0 beatdown of Wagner last Saturday at the Carrier Dome after dropping its first two outings 23-17 at Penn State and 48-27 at Northwestern. As a team, the Orange are averaging 429.7 yards of total offense per outing (146.7 rushing, 283.0 passing) while giving up an average of 340.3 per outing on defense (105.3 rushing, 235.0 passing).
Jerome Smith leads the Orange running game with 179 yards and five touchdowns on 41 carries. Prince-Tyson Gulley is next with 89 yards and a score on 28 carries, followed by Geroge Morries with 72 yards on 13 totes. Ashton Broyld is one of three Syracuse receivers with 10-plus catches to date and leads the team with 18 grabs (for 145 yards). Chris Clark has a team-best two scoring receptions among 11 catches for 142 yards while Jarrod West paces the Orange with 207 receiving yards on 10 snares.
Quarterbacks Drew Allen and Terrel Hunt have both seen significant time under center, and Allen paces the squad with 530 yards on 51-of-89 passing to go with a pair of touchdowns and six interceptions. Hunt, who is expected to start against Tulane on Saturday, is 17-of-22 for 287 yards and a team-best three scoring strikes.
On defense, Syracuse has eight sacks among 22 tackles for loss, batted down seven passes and forced seven turnovers with four interceptions and three fumble recoveries. Cameron Lynch and Durell Eskridge share team-high tackle honors with 13 each while Marquise Spruill, Keon Lyn, Jay Bromley and Dyshawn Davis each have 12 stops.
Bromley leads the Orange with five tackles for loss, three sacks and two forced fumbles, Lynch paces the squad with a pair of pass break-ups and the quartet of Lynch, Eskridge, Robert Weslsh and Jeremi Wilkes have one interception apiece.
Saturday's game in the Carrier Dome marks the ninth meeting between Tulane and Syracuse on the gridiron and the Orange hold a 7-1 advantage in the all-time series, including a 3-1 mark in New York. The Green Wave's lone win along the way came on Nov. 10, 1990, when Tulane headed home with a 26-24 victory. The last time the two teams met, Syracuse escaped the Superdome with a 37-34 win on Oct 8, 2011, when Ross Krautman drilled a 21-yard field goal as time expired to provide the winning margin.
The game at Syracuse is the second of three straight road games for the Green Wave, who will play at ULM on Sept. 28 before returning to the Superdome on Oct. 5 when the Wave play host to North Texas for Homecoming 2013.
For tickets to the Tulane/North Texas game, as well as future Green Wave events, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office. The Ticket Office is located on the first floor of the Wilson Center on Ben Weiner Drive, and tickets can be purchased in person weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., over the phone at 504-861-WAVE (9283) or via the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.