Oct. 8, 2009
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane football team returns home and to Conference USA action this Saturday at 2:37 p.m. when the Green Wave hosts the Marshall Thundering Herd on Homecoming at the Louisiana Superdome. The game will be broadcast live on Cox Sports Television, Channel 37/737 HD.
After falling in the season opener to C-USA rival Tulsa (37-13) and to No. 9/12 BYU (54-3) in its second contest, the Green Wave (2-2, 0-1 C-USA) has reeled off back-to-back victories, including a 42-32 win over McNeese State at home and rallied for a 17-16 victory on the road at Army last week. TU is 1-2 at home this season and posted its first win in its last home game vs. McNeese State on Sept. 26.
When the Green Wave takes the field on Saturday, the team will look to post its third consecutive victory, which hasn't been done since the 2004 season when Tulane downed Navy, Army and TCU, all during the month of November. TU will also look to 3-2 overall for the first since the 2003 campaign.
Coming off consecutive wins, Tulane finds itself in the same position this season as it was a year ago, but is hoping to make sure history doesn't repeat itself. Last season, the Wave stumbled to a 0-2 start, but rebounded with back-to-back wins to improve to 2-2 heading into the fifth week, which was also the homecoming game. Like last year, Tulane began the 2009 season 0-2 and has posted a pair of wins to move to 2-2. Heading into this week's contest against Marshall, which will serve as the annual homecoming game, TU will look come away with a win. Last season, the Wave fell to Army and lost its remaining eight games to end the year.
Jeremy Williams' 222 receiving yards against McNeese State currently ranks as the nation's third-best effort in a single game this season, while Andre Anderson's 199 rushing yards vs. McNeese State ranks as the ninth-best single game total in the country this season.
Williams has evolved into one of the nation's top all-purpose players. He is averaging 168.0 all-purpose yards per outing, which ranks third among Conference USA players and ties him for 12th nationally. Williams is averaging 131.2 receiving yards (525 total yards), 12.5 rushing yards (50 total yards) and is averaging 32.3 per kickoff returns (97 total yards) per contest. He has touched the ball 43 times for 672 yards this season for an average of 15.6 yards per play.
Anderson is the Wave's top rusher with 88.5 yards per game and has one 100-yard contest this season (199 vs. McNeese State). He broke open the Army game with a 42-yard gallop to set up the game-winning field goal. He rushed for a season-high 63-yard score against McNeese State.
Quarterback Joe Kemp has completed 65.6 percent of his pass attempts this season (54-of-82) for 767 yards and four touchdowns. Of his 40 completions, five have gone for 40+ yards, including a career-long 68-yard hook-up with Williams against Tulsa in the season opener.
Senior safety Chinonso Echebelem leads the Wave in tackles with 9.75 per game (39; 21 solo), which ranks fourth among C-USA players and 26th nationally.
Marshall (3-2, 1-1 C-USA) won three of its first four games to begin the season, including back-to-back wins over Bowling Green (17-10) and C-USA East Division rival Memphis (27-16). However, the Thundering Herd had their streak snapped last week at home against defending C-USA champion, East Carolina, 21-17. Prior to ECU, the Herd's only other loss was at No. 14 Virginia Tech, 52-10, giving Marshall a 1-1 mark on the road.
Quarterback Brian Anderson has completed 57.7 percent of his pass attempts (79-of-137) for 756 yards and has four touchdowns and four interceptions.
Running back Darius Marshall is the nation's leading rusher and also leads the country in all-purpose yards. Marshall is averaging 159.8 yards per game on the ground and turned in a season-high 203 yard effort at Memphis. He is averaging an impressive 235.8 all-purpose yards per outing (639-rush/14-rec/290-kor) and has also completed one pass for 27 yards.
Tight end Cody Slate is the Herd's top receiver with 26 receptions for 289 yards and two scores. Mario Harvey leads the defense with 38 stops (13 solo), including two sacks, and has five quarterback hurries.
Saturday's game marks the third all-time meeting between Tulane and Marshall and the Thundering Herd leads the series, 2-0. Saturday's contest marks Marshall's first-ever trip to the Louisiana Superdome to battle the Green Wave. The inaugural meeting between the two schools in 2005 was slated for the Superdome, but damage to the facility from Hurricane Katrina forced the contest to be played at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala., where TU came up short, 27-26.
Tulane and Marshall squared off twice during the Thundering Herd's first two years as a Conference USA member (2005, 2006). The last meeting between the two teams took place in Huntington, W.Va., during the 2006 campaign. Marshall broke a 21-21 deadlock with three fourth quarter touchdowns to win, 42-21.
The Green Wave is 1-1 on homecoming under current head coach Bob Toledo. In his first homecoming game at Tulane, Toledo led TU past UTEP, 34-19, but fell last year to Army, 44-13, at Tad Gormley Stadium.