Oct. 25, 2007
NEW ORLEANS, La. - The Tulane University football team returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 27, when they take on Conference USA foe Memphis in Homecoming 2007 at 2 p.m. in the Louisiana Superdome.
Tulane enters the weekend 2-5 on the year, 1-2 in C-USA play and fresh off a 41-34 overtime victory last Saturday at SMU. The Tigers, meanwhile, come to town 3-4 overall, 2-1 in league action and riding the crest of a 38-35 win over Rice last week in Houston. While the Green Wave will be happy to be home after a three-game road swing, Tulane head coach Bob Toledo said the home crowd expected for Saturday's Homecoming contest should serve as extra motivation for his team.
"I told (the team) there will be a Homecoming crowd," Toledo said. "A lot of people will be there who haven't seen us play yet. There will be a lot of the old alums and some people who weren't athletes will come out to watch the game. This is a good opportunity for us to show them what we've done so far."
Saturday's game will be broadcast on the Tulane ISP Sports Network (local station, WIST AM 690) and live audio and video are available via the internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com to registered members of the All-Access Pass. In addition, live stats are available on the official Tulane website free of charge via GameTracker.
As a team, the Green Wave are averaging 374.1 yards of total offense per game (195.0 rushing, 179.1 passing). Senior running back Matt Forté leads the team with 1,261 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on 189 carries while tying for the team lead with 21 receptions for an additional 182 yards through the air.
Sophomore quarterback Anthony Scelfo will start his fifth consecutive game under center Saturday against the Tigers, and has thrown for 712 yards and three touchdowns on 63-of-119 passing (52.9 completion percentage) so far in 2007. Sophomore Jeremy Williams is tied with Forté for the team reception lead and paces the club with 394 yards and two touchdowns, and junior wideout Brian King is next with 19 catches for 199 yards and a score.
Junior free safety David Skehan headlines the Tulane secondary with three interceptions to go along with 42 tackles, a pass break-up, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Scott leads the team with seven tackles for loss and junior cornerback Josh Lumar paces the club with four pass break-ups.
"We're looking forward to it," Toledo said of Saturday's game against the Tigers. "We had a good week of practice and we're relatively healthy. There's nothing to do now but play the game."
Memphis, meanwhile, enters the weekend averaging 416.3 yards of total offense per game (150.3 rushing, 266.0 passing). Running back Joseph Doss is one of four Tiger players with at least 100 yards on the year, and leads the squad with 369 yards on 79 totes.
Martin Hankins and Will Hudgens are two of four Memphis student-athletes to see time under center for the Tigers with Hankins completing 98-of-158 passes for 1,138 yards and eight touchdowns while Hudgens has gone 49-of-96 for 580 yards and four scores. Duke Calhoun leads Memphis with 27 catches for 356 yards while Carlos Singleton and Maurice Jones follow with 307 yards on 24 catches and 379 yards on 22 receptions, respectively. All three players have a pair of touchdown receptions, and Greg Hinds paces the squad with three scores through the air.
Defensively, Memphis is giving up an average of 424.3 yards of total offense per game (176.4 rushing, 247.9 passing). Linebacker Jake Kasser leads the Tigers with 50 tackles while cornerback Dontae Reed and free safety Brandon Patterson follow with 44 and 42 tackles, respectively. Defensive end Greg Terrell paces Memphis with five and a half tackles for loss, Steven Turner and Freddie Barnett follow with four and a half each, and Jada Brown headlines the squad with two sacks.
The Tigers have intercepted six passes over their first seven games of the year - two each by Patterson and LeRico Mathis - broken up another 22 passes and forced 12 fumbles.
"They're the best defensive football team we've played against since our last game at the Dome," Toledo said of the Tigers. "They're big, they're strong and they're athletic. Coach (Tommy) West does a great job of coaching them, so they're going to be a good football team.
"Offensively, they're really a balanced football team of run and pass. They've got a huge offensive line, one of the biggest offensive lines we'll have seen. They're big and strong. They don't have really one guy...this team has got a bunch of guys. (Hankins and Doss) are back (from early-season injuries) and they were very explosive last week in beating a Rice team that had been scoring a lot of points."
This weekend's game marks the 27th meeting between the two schools and Memphis leads the all-time series, 14-11-1. Tulane is 9-5-1 against the Tigers at home dating back to 1954, but have dropped the last three games against Memphis. Tulane's last win over the Tigers came on No. 19, 2000, when the Green Wave earned a 37-14 decision in the Louisiana Superdome.
Saturday's game against Memphis 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.