Oct. 9, 2000
#16 Southern Miss at Tulane
Oct. 14, 2000 © 11 a.m. (CDT)
New Orleans, Louisiana
Louisiana Superdome (69,767)
Home for Homecoming
Tulane welcomes No. 16-ranked Southern Mississippi to the Louisiana Superdome for a Conference USA Homecoming match-up. It is TU's second home contest of the 2000 season. The game will be televised nationally by Fox Sports Net beginning at 11 a.m. as the leadoff game of its C-USA doubleheader. Tulane and Southern Miss are meeting for the 22nd consecutive year.
The Last Time
In the 1999 season opener, Southern Miss handed Tulane a 48-14 loss at M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg as USM QB Jeff Kelly threw four touchdown passes. Ahead 10-7 early in the second quarter, Southern Miss reeled off the next 24 points to take an insurmountable 34-10 lead. Derrick Nix gained 167 yards on the ground to lead the Golden Eagles.
After beginning the season with a pair of losses, the Green Wave has won three straight, including two road games, to improve to 3-2 on the year. Tulane has defeated SMU, Cincinnati and Louisiana-Lafayette over the last three weeks, picking up its first league win with a 24-19 victory over Cincinnati in the Superdome. Last week, Tulane travelled to Lafayette where they defeated the Ragin' Cajuns 38-37 when Roxie Shelvin blocked ULL's extra point attempt with 3:44 remaining. Patrick Ramsey passed for 403 yards and Adrian Burnette grabbed 11 passes for 191 yards to lead Tulane offensively. Defensively, the Green Wave was led by the linebacking tandem of Jerry Phillips and Noel Ellis. Southern Miss has won four games in a row after a season-opening loss to Tennessee.
Southern Miss arrives in New Orleans as the No. 16 (AP and ESPN/USA Today) ranked team in the nation. They are the highest-ranked team to face Tulane in New Orleans since Boston College came in ranked No. 11 during the 1992 season. Since that time, the Green Wave has played host to just two ranked teams -- USM and Syracuse both came into the Superdome ranked No. 24 in 1996.
Vs. Top 25
Southern Miss is the second Top 25 team to face Tulane in 2000. Ole Miss was preseason No. 18 when the Green Wave travelled to Oxford in the season opener. Tulane is looking for its first win over a Top 25 ranked team since 1982, when they defeated No. 12 LSU 31-28. Since that time, Tulane is 0-23 vs. the Top 25. All-time, the Green Wave is 19-96-2 vs. teams ranked in the AP Top 25.
Dome Sweet Home
Tulane is 65-81 (.445 winning percentage) all-time in the Louisiana Superdome, including a 1-0 mark so far in 2000. A year ago, the Wave won three of its five home games as all of its victories came at the Superdome.
In four seasons, the Green Wave is 14-11 all-time in Conference USA play, including a 6-0 record and league championship in 1998 and a 1-1 mark this year. Tulane lost its 2000 C-USA opener at East Carolina but evened its league record two weeks ago with a home win over Cincinnati. This season marks the first time that C-USA teams are playing a seven-game league schedule. In 1996, teams played five league games and the 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.
Vs. C-USA Teams
All-time, Tulane is 36-43-2 versus teams that currently comprise Conference USA. The all-time lists, both as C-USA teams and overall
Despite sitting out the ULL contest with a sprained ankle suffered versus Cincinnati, freshman Mewelde Moore's three straight 100-yard rushing days put him into elite company in Tulane history and among the top freshmen backs in the nation. Moore is just the fifth player in Tulane history to post back-to-back-to-back 100-yard games. Toney Converse last accomplished the feat at the end of the '98 season. All-time great Eddie Price holds the record with six straight 100-yard games. Moore gained 114 yards on 15 carries in the UC game, including a 58-yard run. Versus SMU, he earned 104 yards and he had a season high 131 net yards at East Carolina. The San Diego Padres' fourth-round draft choice (and signee) completed his first collegiate pass against the Bearcats, a throwback to quarterback J.P. Losman, and has caught 10 passes for 112 yards on the year.
Tough to Tackle
Freshman Mewelde Moore has been extremely tough to tackle this season, piling up an amazing 337 yards after sustaining the first hit. A total of seventy-eight (78) percent of his net rushing yards have come after opponents have made contact with the 6-1, 195-pound back. Moore's game-by-game yards, and yards after contact (YAC).
Moore was named Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week for his performance versus Cincinnati, while Patrick Ramsey picked up the award a week earlier after the SMU contest. Punter Casey Roussel shared C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week honors following the SMU game. A pair of Tulane defenders have earned recognition from the Louisiana Sports Writer's Association. Noel Ellis was named LSWA Defensive Player of the Week following the SMU contest while freshman Lynaris Elpheage earned the same honor a week later after picking off two passes versus Cincinnati.
Tulane junior quarterback Patrick Ramsey posted just the third 400-yard passing day in school history at UL-Lafayette with 403 yards passing, a total which ranks third all-time at Tulane. Ramsey is the only TU signal-caller to pass for 400-plus yards in a game. His 31 completions in the contest ties for the seventh-most all-time at the school. Ramsey's name fills the Tulane passing charts as he owns the top four yardage games, the top five completions games and seven of the top eight attempts totals. He has thrown a touchdown pass in each of the last 16 games in which he has played.
Senior receiver Adrian Burnette is also prominent on the Tulane charts. He caught a touchdown pass in his fifth straight game at UL-Lafayette with a season-long 40-yard TD catch and run in the second quarter. The score was Burnette's sixth of the year and 16th of his career. Burnette's 11 catches for 191 yards both ranked among the top receiving games all-time at Tulane. The 11 catches tied for the eighth-best mark in school history, while the 191 receiving yards were the most in Burnette's career and tied for seventh all-time. Burnette is also now averaging more than 100 yards receiving per game which ranks him among the national leaders (ninth) in receiving yards per game.
The Green Wave returns to the road, making its longest road trip fo the season with a visit to West Point, N.Y. to take on the Black Knights of Army. Tulane plays Army and Louisville back-to-back on the road before finishing the season with three straight home games.
A Tale of Two Halves
Part of the story for the Tulane offense this year has been a tale of two halves. The Green Wave has scored 67 of its 90 points on the year -- 74% -- in the first half of its four games. TU is a quick-starting team, as evidenced by its 36 first-quarter points. On the other hand, the Green Wave is a little slow starting out of the locker room after the halftime break, scoring just one touchdown (versus Ole Miss) in the third quarter. It's a similar story for the Green Wave defense as it has allowed opponents just 17 first-quarter and 43 first-half points, a little more than 35% of their total. Tulane opponents -- especially Ole Miss and East Carolina -- have scored 79 points in the second half and have outscored the Green Wave 44-7 in the third quarter.
Making the Adjustment
A high school quarterback at New Orleans' Carver High, true freshman Lynaris Elpheage is showing that he is quickly making the adjustment to defense after picking off two passes versus Cincinnati. The INTs were Tulane's first of the season and came at critical moments in the game. The first was in the Tulane endzone after Cincinnati had reached the TU nine-yard line while the second stopped a potential Bearcat score that would have given UC a late lead in the game.
The senior linebacking duo of Jerry Phillips and Noel Ellis continues to lead the Green Wave defensively. The two rank one (Phillips) and two (Ellis) on the 2000 Tulane tackle chart with 39 and 32 tackles, respectively. Ellis leads Tulane with five tackles for loss and has two-and-a-half sacks on the year. He caused a pair of fumbles versus Cincinnati and recovered one as he had 11 total tackles in the game. Phillips made a team season high 16 stops versus the Bearcats. Phillips, who was named to the preseason Watch List for the Butkus Award for the second straight year, has made 22 career starts, and has compiled 279 career tackles, including 162 solo stops. Ellis, despite sharing the starting assignment with David Dorsey earlier this season, has totalled 203 career stops, 126 unassisted, and has registered 21 tackles for loss and 6.5 quarterback sacks during his career.
Punter Casey Roussel and kicker Seth Marler continue to rank among the national leaders in their respective specialties. Roussel's 44.2-yard average leads Conference USA by 2.5 yards and ranks 10th nationally as Tulane also ranks 10th nationally in net punting and is atop the C-USA list. Marler has hit at least one field goal in every Green Wave game this year and is seven-of-nine in three-pointers on the year, having missed only a 46 and a 52-yarder. He likewise ranks 10th in the nation in field goals made. He leads Tulane in scoring along with Adrian Burnette and is tied for third in the conference in that category. Injury Update
Senior defensive linemen Mitch Mouton suffered a sprained left ankle in the Cincinnati game and his status is doubtful for the game at Lafayette this weekend. Runningback Mewelde Moore also sprained his ankle, but returned to play in the game and he is day-to-day this week.
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.