Senior running back Matt Forté claimed a spot on the Maxwell Award Watchlist and was sixth in CSTV.com's recent Heisman Trophy poll.
Oct. 24, 2007
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Tulane University senior running back Matt Forté has been turning heads around Conference USA and the region throughout the 2007 season.
Following a 342-yard, four-touchdown rushing effort last weekend in the Green Wave's 41-34 overtime victory over C-USA foe SMU in Dallas, the nation is beginning to notice as well, as Forté was proclaimed a Heisman Trophy candidate by CSTV.com and was added to the Maxwell Award Watchlist for the College Player of the Year Award.
"I cannot say enough good things about him," Tulane head coach Bob Toledo said of his star running back. "I've said that from the beginning. I've said he's a great player. I reserve that word for very few people, and he's a great football player. You know all his stats, but he's No. 1 in the nation in rushing, he's No. 2 in all-purpose yards and he's No. 6 in scoring. He's really our football team right now, offensively. He's really doing a great job."
Forté enters this weekend's Homecoming contest vs. Memphis leading all NCAA Division I-Bowl Subdivision student-athletes in rushing yards (1,261) and rushing yards per game (180.1). On his current pace, Forté would finish the 2007 season with 2,161 yards, which would rank fourth-highest in NCAA single-season history behind Iowa State's Troy Davis (2,185), USC's Marcus Allen (2,342) and Oklahoma State's Barry Sanders (2,628).
He also ranks second in the NCAA in all-purpose yards per game (207.71) and sixth in the nation in points per game (11.14). Forté's 13 touchdowns on the year are tied for the third most in the country, and his school-record five touchdowns against Southeastern Louisiana on Sept. 22, is tied for the highest scoring output nationally in 2007.
In the CSTV.com Heisman standings, which were published Wednesday, Forté ranks sixth in the race - tying with Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon and Rutgers running back Ray Rice. Florida quarterback Tim Tebow leads the CSTV.com voting poll, followed by André Woodson (Kentucky), Matt Ryan (Boston College), Mike Hart (Michigan) and Darren McFadden (Arkansas).
A midseason All-America honoree by Phil Steele Publications, Forté has the top two individual rushing performances of the year - 342 vs. SMU and 303 vs. SLU - and now has four games of 200-plus yards on the ground, including a current string of three in a row.
Forté has four of the nation's top 30 rushing performances this year, and is one of only two backs in the country to have his name scribed four times on the list of Top 100 single-game performances this season.
"If you really look at it, we played Mississippi State, we played Houston and we played LSU - three where we really had to get out of our game plan mid third quarter to the end of the third quarter," Toledo said. "(Forté) could easily have rushed for over 100 yards in all of those games. I really believe that. The last few weeks, we haven't had to get out of our game plan. We were able to stick to our game plan, continue to run the football and play-action pass. That has helped him and us."
Forté twice earned Walter Camp Football Foundation National Offensive Player of the Week honors, becoming the first player to earn the distinction more than once in a season since 2004.
His 1,261 yards so far this season ranks second in Tulane single-season history and is on pace to shatter Mewelde Moore's record of 1,421 (2001) by 740 yards. For his career, Forté has run for 3,399 yards and 29 touchdowns on 661 carries (5.14 avg.) while catching 92 passes for 885 yards and five more scores through the air.
Forté and the Green Wave return to action on Saturday, Oct. 27, when they play host to Memphis for Homecoming 2007 at 2 p.m. in the Louisiana Superdome. Tulane's Homecoming contest against the Tigers is the first of three straight home games for the Green Wave, who will battle Tulsa on Nov. 3 before taking on UTEP on Nov. 10.
Single-game tickets for the 2007 Green Wave season remain on sale through the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office. Tickets can be purchased in person, over the telephone at (504) 861-WAVE or via the internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.