Junior defensive end Austen Jacks and the Green Wave football team opens the Mark Hutson era on Saturday when they take on Memphis at 2:40 p.m. in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Oct. 21, 2011
NEW ORLEANS - The Mark Hutson era of Tulane football will begin on Saturday, Oct. 22, when the Green Wave play host to Conference USA foe Memphis in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome as part of the Homecoming 2011 festivities. Kickoff is slated for 2:40 p.m. and the game will be televised live nationally on Fox College Sports (New Orleans Cox Cable Channel 336, DirecTV Channel 623, AT&T U-verse Channel 647, Verizon FiOS Channel 301).
Hutson will coach his first game as Tulane's interim head coach, replacing Bob Toledo who resigned his position on Tuesday. While the Green Wave enter the weekend 2-5 on the year, 1-2 in C-USA play and looking to snap a four-game losing streak dating back to mid-September, Hutson feels that the team's goals for the 2011 season are still within reach.
"In talking with the players and talking to the staff, we have half a season left," Hutson said. "We have played three conference games and there are six games remaining. Our goals are still intact. Our focus and our commitment is to beat Memphis. We have good student-athletes. They're good players. They're good people. In times of turmoil and times of disarray, they have to come together right here. And for the most part, young adults are resilient. I look for them to come together and to work hard."
Fans in attendance will also be introduced to the 2011 Hall of Fame inductees - All-American pitcher Jared Berkowitz, three-sport standout Carla "Yogi" Teevans, football record-holder Paul Ellis, former men's tennis coach Robert Klein as well as the 2001 Green Wave baseball team - between the first and second quarters. The Homecoming Court will be introduced at halftime, followed by the announcement of the king and queen.
In addition to the television broadcast, the Tulane/UTEP contest will be aired live on the flagship radio station of Green Wave football, WIST AM 690, while live audio is available on-line at www.TulaneGreenWave.com to paid members of the All-Access Pass. Live stats are also available on the web courtesy of GameTracker, and the new, interactive option is available via "Tulane Live".
As a team, the Tulane football squad is averaging 360.1 yards of total offense per game (124.4 rushing, 235.7 passing) while allowing opponents to tally a mark of 382.4 (182.6 rushing, 199.9 passing).
Sophomore Orleans Darkwa leads the Tulane ground game with 433 yards and seven touchdowns on 101 carries while senior Albert Williams is next with 209 rushing yards and a score on 43 totes. Junior quarterback Ryan Griffin has completed 110-of-181 passes for 1,377 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions, and has done a good job of spreading the ball around as 17 Tulane players have at least one reception.
Senior wideout Joe Kemp paces the receiving corps with 23 catches for 240 yards while Darka and freshman Justyn Shackleford are next with 19 grabs and 238 yards, respectively. Sophomore Wilson Van Hooser and rookie Xavier Rush lead the squad with a pair of touchdown receptions each while Kemp, redshirt-freshman tight end Matt Marfisi, junior tight end Brock Sanders, junior wide receiver Ryan Grant, and junior linebacker Trent Mackey - who has seen time on offense at fullback in goal-line situations - have one scoring grab each.
Mackey paces the defense with 87 tackles (59 solo, 28 assists) and six tackles for loss. He also has one of the Green Wave's three defensive touchdowns in 2011 courtesy of a 39-yard interception return for a touchdown against UAB on Sept. 17. Junior safety Shakiel Smith is second on the squad with 42 stops (31 solo, 11 assists) and duo of senior defensive end Dezman Moses and sophomore defensive tackle Julius Warmseley share the team lead in sacks with 4.0 each.
Junior cornerback Ryan Travis leads the team with four of the Wave's 22 pass break-ups and three of Tulane's eight interceptions. Moses, freshman safety Renaldo Thomas, junior defensive end Austen Jacks, junior linebacker Darryl Farley and redshirt-freshman special teamer Taylor Bullock have one forced fumble each. Jacks paces the squad with a pair of fumble recoveries while Moses, Warmsley and redshirt-freshman linebacker Ray Oppman have one apiece.
Memphis, meanwhile, heads to New Orleans 1-6 on the year, 0-3 in C-USA play and is looking to halt a four-game skid of its own including a 35-17 setback last week at East Carolina. As a team, the Tigers are averaging 289.4 yards of total offense per game (90.9 rushing, 198.6 passing) while allowing opponents to post 499.1 yards per contest (195.3 rushing, 303.9 passing).
Billy Foster leads the Memphis ground game with 292 yards and three touchdowns on 81 carries, and Artaves Gibson is close behind with 278 yards on 78 attempts. Taylor Reed is one of two Tigers' quarterbacks to start under center this season, and paces the squad with 1,104 yards and six touchdowns while completing 118-of-200 passes and three interceptions.
Twelve Memphis receivers have caught at least three passes to date, and Tannar Rehrer leads the way with 41 receptions for 342 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Terrence Thomas leads the Memphis defense with 61 tackles (42 solo, 19 assists) while Akeem Davis has 53 and Kenyata Johnson has 38. Davis and Cannon Smith each have four of the team's 18 pass break-ups while Davis has three of the Tigers' seven interceptions
Johnnie Farms and Dontari Poe share team-high honors in tackles for loss with 7.0 apiece and Frank Trotter leads the way in sacks with 3.0. Davis also paces the squad with three fumble recoveries and a pair of forced fumbles.
This weekend's ballgame marks the 29th time the two teams have met on the gridiron and Memphis holds a 16-11-1 advantage in the all-time series. The Tigers have won the last five head-to-head matchups, including the last two in the Superdome, and the Green Wave's last win came on Nov. 18, 2000, when Tulane defeated Memphis 37-14 in New Orleans.
Following the Memphis contest, the Green Wave will hit the road for back-to-back ballgames as Tulane will play at East Carolina on Oct. 29 and at SMU on Nov. 5. Tulane's next home game is slated for Thursday, Nov. 12, when the Wave play host to Houston. That game will be the final regular-season contest of the year and the program will honor its 12-member senior class of Kemp, Moses, Williams, Emmanuel Aluko, Chris Asumnu, Taylor Echols, Harris Howard, Joey Ray, Kristofar Rhymes, Josh Smith, Kasey Stelly and Cedric Wilson.
Single-game tickets for this weekend's game, as well as future Green Wave Athletics events, are available through the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office. Sideline tickets are $35, adult endzone seats selling for $20 and youth endzone seats cost $10. The Ticket Office is located on the first floor of the James W. Wilson, Jr., Center on Ben Weiner Drive, and tickets can be purchased in person, over the phone at 504-861-WAVE (9283) or via the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com. The tickets windows at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome will open at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday and game-day tickets can be purchased at Gates B and F. Gates will open at 1:30 p.m.