Oct. 19, 2006
NEW ORLEANS, La. - The Tulane University football team will begin a two-week diversion from Conference USA play on Saturday when the Green Wave travel to Alabama to take on No. 8 Auburn at 1:30 p.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Saturday's game will be the third time in 2006 that the Green Wave will take on a team from the Southeast Conference after defeating Mississippi State 32-29 on Sept. 16 and dropping a 49-7 contest at LSU on Sept. 23. Following the Auburn game, Tulane will battle non-conference foe Army in a Homecoming contest on Oct. 28 in the Louisiana Superdome before playing league games the rest of the way.
"Playing a game like this in the middle of our season is one that our kids will be excited about," Tulane head coach Chris Scelfo said. "It's something that they will always be able to talk about. You're talking about the No. 4 (BCS) ranked team in the nation and they'll be excited for it. We can draw something from this game on Saturday that's going to help us the last five weeks down the stretch."
The game will be broadcast live on the Tulane Network (local WIST AM 690) and live audio will also be available on the internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com to registered members of the All Access Pass. Live stats are also available free of the charge on the web via GameTracker.
Tulane enters Saturday's ballgame 2-4 on the year and looking to bounce back from a tough 30-24 loss to C-USA foe UTEP last week at the Sun Bowl. The Green Wave average 369.2 yards per game (99.7 rushing, 269.5 passing) while giving up an average of 411.3 yards per contest (146.0 rushing, 265.3 passing).
Junior running back Matt Forté, who posted his second consecutive 100-yard rushing game last week with 147 yards against the Miners, leads the Tulane ground attack with 557 yards and four touchdowns on 99 carries. Senior quarterback Lester Ricard spearheads the Green Wave's passing game and has completed 113 of 200 passes for 1,484 yards, 12 touchdowns and just four interceptions.
Eleven different receivers have caught at least three passes for Tulane so far this season. Senior wideout Preston Brown paces the club with 24 receptions while redshirt-freshman receiver Jeremy Williams leads the team with 267 receiving yards. Seven players have caught at least one touchdown strike, and Forté, Williams, senior Damarcus Davis, junior Kenneth Guidroz and sophomore Brian King are tied for the team lead with two scores apiece.
Junior defensive back/linebacker Joe Goosby leads the Tulane defense with 40 tackles, including a team-best five for losses totaling 15 yards, while junior strong safety David Skehan is close behind with 39 stops. Goosby and junior defensive back Louis Thomas are tied for the team lead with a pair of sacks each, and Skehan paces the squad with two interceptions.
Auburn, meanwhile, comes into this weekend's contest 6-1 on the year and fresh off a 27-17 victory over then-No. 2 Florida last week at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Tigers rank fourth in the BCS standings, seventh in the USA Today Poll and eighth in the Associated Press Poll.
As a team, Auburn averages 329.0 yards of total offense per game (151.0 rushing, 178.0 passing) and ranks fifth nationally in scoring defense after allowing just 84 points in the first seven games of the 2006 season. Running back Kenny Irons, who ranks 20th nationally in rushing yards, leads the Tigers' ground game with 581 yards and three touchdowns on 121 carries. Quarterback Brandon Cox has completed 94 of 150 passes for 1199 yards, five touchdowns and two picks.
Courtney Taylor has been Cox's favorite target to date, hauling in 30 of the team's 102 completions for a team-best 337 yards. Rodgeriqus Smith leads the receiving corps with a pair of scoring receptions.
Will Herring and Eric Brock spearhead Auburns vaunted defense with 37 and 35 tackles, respectively, and Quentin Groves paces the Tigers with six and a half sacks for losses totaling 43 yards. Auburn has forced nine turnovers in 2006 (four interceptions, five fumble recoveries) and Herring leads the team with a pair of interceptions.
Saturday's game will mark the 37th meeting between Tulane and Auburn on the gridiron and the Green Wave hold a 17-13-6 advantage in the all-time series. The game also marks the first time the two teams will meet since Oct. 29, 1955, when Tulane defeated Auburn, 27-13, at old Tulane Stadium.
Following the trip to Auburn, Tulane returns to the Louisiana Superdome for Homecoming 2006 vs. Army on Oct. 28. Tickets for those game, and future Green Wave contests, remain for sale through the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office.
The Ticket Office is located on the first floor of the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center, and 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.