Sept. 25, 2000
Home At Last
After three road games and an open date, Tulane (finally) opens its 2000 home schedule when league foe Cincinnati comes to the Superdome. Tulane is one of three teams in the nation, along with Southern Miss and Mississippi State, with the latest home opener in this 2000 season.
As a new part of its game presentation, Tulane will open the "Tulane Tailgate Area" on top of the southwest parking garage at Gate G of the Superdome. The area will be a central spot for tailgating, complete with live music, interactive games for the kids, face-painting, food, appearances by the Tulane cheerleaders and mascots, merchandise sales, as well as ticket and other information on upcoming Tulane events. Groups can reserve spaces, along with tents and tables, and can bring their own food or secure food from the on-site vendors. All Tulane fans are invited to the area to soak up some pre-game college footballl atmosphere.
When Last We Met
Tulane and Cincinnati last played in the 1998 season opener with the Green Wave claiming a 52-34 victory at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati. In that contest, Tulane scored the first 24 points of the game as QB Shaun King threw for 278 yards and four touchdowns and receiver P.J. Franklin caught 11 passes for 172 yards and two scores. Tulane led 31-6 at halftime and 45-14 after three quarters before Cincinnati added three late TDs, one on a blocked punt. Tulane RB Jamaican Dartez rushed for 195 yards on 21 carries to record the best day by a TU back in 28 years.
The Green Wave claimed its first victory of 2000 with a 29-17 decision over the SMU Mustangs in Dallas. Tulane jumped out to a 19-0 lead as Seth Marler kicked two of his three field goals in the first quarter and Patrick Ramsey hit Adrian Burnette and Roydell Williams with scoring passes. After opening the season with two victories at home, Cincinnati has dropped a pair of road decisions to Big Ten teams Wisconsin (in overtime) and Indiana.
Tulane is seeking its second Conference USA title in five years and its fifth league crown all-time. In addition to the C-USA championship in '98, the Green Wave claimed at least a share of the SEC title in 1934, '39 and '49.
Vs. C-USA Teams
All-time, Tulane is 35-43-2 versus teams that currently comprise Conference USA. The all-time lists, both as C-USA teams and overall
In four seasons, the Green Wave is 13-11 all-time in Conference USA play, including a 6-0 mark and league championship in 1998. Tulane lost its 2000 C-USA opener at East Carolina two weeks ago.
With its win at SMU, the Green Wave stopped a couple of streaks. Tulane won for the first time in seven games, dating back to the Louisiana-Lafayette game last season. The Green Wave also won on the road for the first time since the 1998 season, stopping a string of eight consecutive road losses. Now TU will be looking to break a string of four straight Conference USA losses, as its last C-USA win came over Army last season.
While forcing its first turnover of the season, a fourth-quarter fumble that sealed the victory over SMU, Tulane did not commit a turnover of its own. It marked the first time in 14 games, since the last game of the 1998 season versus Louisiana Tech, that the Green Wave did not commit a turnover. Last year, Tulane QBs threw at least one interception in every game. When Quentin Brown forced the SMU fumble which Corey Jones recovered, it marked the first turnover by a Tulane opponent in 12 quarters.
Through its first three games, Tulane leads Conference USA in third down conversions. The Green Wave has been successful on 24 of its 51 third down tries in 2000, good for a 47.1 conversion percentage. Louisville, ranked second in C-USA in third down conversions, has converted just 17-of-43 times on third down (39.5 percent). Tulane has been successful on nine of 17 third down tries in each of its last two games.
The Cincinnati game marks not just the home opener, but also the kickoff of Tulane's year-long community service partnership with the United Way. Tulane has partnered with United Way agencies and the New Orleans Recreation Department to bring almost 2,500 youths (ages 8 to high school) to Saturday's game, where they will be provided with free admission and a snack coupon. Tulane will make similar efforts to bring local kids to future events, including men's basketball and baseball. In addition, throughout 2000-01, Green Wave student-athletes will be volunteering with several different United Way agencies on various programs.
This weekend will be special for Green Wave defensive line coach/recruiting coordinator Giff Smith. Friday night, he will be inducted into the Georgia Southern University Athletic Hall of Fame at ceremonies in Statesboro, Ga. A three-year starter at defensive end for the Eagles who earned All-America mention in 1988, 1989 and 1990, Smith was a first team AP All-American in 1989 and 1990. He started three consecutive NCAA Division I-AA national championship games (1988-90) and helped Georgia Southern to its two national titles. While he is unable to return to Statesboro for the ceremonies, Giff's father will stand in for him.
Tulane Head Coach Chris Scelfo will celebrate his 37th birthday Saturday and it's no secret what the Green Wave mentor would like to receive from his team. Scelfo remains one of the nation's youngest Division I-A head coaches.
There will be a couple of familiar faces across the field on Saturday. Rick Smith, who was the defensive coordinator at Tulane in 1997 and '98, coached many of the junior and senior defenders on the field for the Green Wave before taking the same position at Cincinnati last season. Smith brought former TU linebacker Brett Timmons to the Bearcat staff as the defensive graduate assistant. Timmons was a second team all-C-USA choice for the Tulane in 1998 and ended his career with 268 tackles, including 99 his senior year. UC offensive line coach Larry Zierlein spent a total of five seasons at Tulane in two separate stints, serving as the line coach for the Green Wave from 1988-90 and in 1995 and '96.
Fantastic freshman Mewelde Moore gained 104 yards on 17 carries at SMU to post his second straight 100-yard rushing game. The Baton Rouge product continues to lead Conference USA in rushing with 317 net yards on 55 carries. That total ranks him 22nd nationally. Moore's 317 yards is just 49 yards off of the SEASON total for Tulane's leading rusher (Toney Converse) a year ago. The San Diego Padres' fourth-round draft choice (and signee) has proven to be a good receiver as well with seven catches for 80 yards in 2000.
Tulane returns to the road (the Green Wave plays six of its first eight games of the season on the road)with a trip to Lafayette to take on the Ragin' Cajuns.