Oct. 25, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University football team will put its three-game winning streak on the line when the Green Wave play host to defending Conference USA champion Tulsa on Saturday, Oct. 26, in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Kickoff for the game is slated for 2:30 p.m. and will be televised live locally on Cox Sports Television.
The Green Wave enter the weekend 5-2 on the year and a perfect 3-0 in conference play - both high-water marks through seven games since the program's celebrated 12-0 campaign in 1998. In order for Tulane to keep the streak going, it will have to break a recent trend as the Green Wave have not defeated the Golden Hurricane since Tulsa joined C-USA for the 2005 season.
"It's a team that's going to be tough for us," second-year Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson said. "They're big. They're physical. They have what we call the `it' factor in this league. They're one of those flagship teams in the league that you have to play well against to stay in the game with them.
"They're going to try and run the ball on us. We've got to play good defense and use some eight-man front stuff in order to stay with them. Their special teams are outstanding, and offensively they can move the ball. They're going to run it so we're going to have to match their intensity."
In addition to the live television coverage, Saturday's game will be broadcast live on the flagship radio station or Green Wave football - WMTI 106.1 FM "The Ticket" - and both audio and video streaming will be available on the web at www.TulaneGreenWave.com to paid members of the All-Access Pass. Live game stats are also available on-line for free via GameTracker and the contest will be televised via tape-delayed on WHNO-TV 20 on Sunday at noon.
As a team, the Green Wave are averaging 318.4 yards of total offense per game (126.6 rushing, 191.9 passing) while giving up an average of 387.3 defensively (104.6 rushing, 282.7 passing). Over the last three games, however, the Tulane defense has held its opponents to less than 100 yards each time and just 41.0 yards on the ground per contest.
Senior tailback Orleans Darkwa paces the Wave with 403 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 97 carries while junior fullback Rob Kelley is next with 296 yards and two scores on 55 attempts. Senior wideout Ryan Grant headlines the aerial attack with 46 catches for 611 yards and six touchdowns.
On defense, Tulane has 18 sacks among 55 tackles for loss, has forced 20 turnovers courtesy of 12 interceptions and eight fumble recoveries, and broke up another 47 passes. Junior strong safety Sam Scofield leads the unit with 48 tackles (38 solo, 10 assists) while sophomore free safety Darion Monroe (33 solo, 12 assists) and freshman linebacker Nico Marley (21 solo, 14 assists) follow with 45 and 35 stops, respectively.
Senior defensive tackle Julius Warmsley has a team-best 8.5 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks while sharing the team lead in forced fumbles with sophomore defensive back Jordan Batiste at two apiece. Sophomore cornerback Lorenzo Doss has snared a club-leading four interceptions while senior corner Jordan Sullen paces the squad with eight pass break-ups.
Tulsa, meanwhile, comes to New Orleans 2-4 on the year, 1-1 in C-USA play and coming off a 34-20 league win over UTEP two weekends ago in El Paso, Texas. As a team, the Golden Hurricane are averaging 373.3 yards of total offense per outing (145.5 rushing, 227.8 passing) while giving up 408.2 yards a game on defense (194.5 rushing, 213.7 passing).
Trey Watts leads Tulsa both on the ground and through the air, running 115 times for 565 yards and four touchdowns while pulling down 30 passes for 255 yards. Jordan James has a team-best 296 receiving yards whiel Thomas Robertson paces the squad with three touchdown grabs.
Cody Green leads the Tulsa attack with 1,266 passing yards and seven touchdown after completing 103-of-186 passes while adding 67 rushing yards and a score on 31 carries. His backup, Dane Evans, has 101 yards and a touchdown on 11-of-25 passing.
The Golden Hurricane defense has 14 sacks among 33 tackles for loss and forced nine turnovers on the strength of seven interceptions and a pair of fumble recoveries. Michael Mudoh headlines the unit with 71 tackles (34 solo, 37 assists) while Shawn Jackson (38 solo, 19 assists) and Mitchell Osborne (24 solo, 18 assists) are next with respective totals of 57 and 42.
Jackson has a team-best 5.5 tackles for loss and three interceptions and Derrrick Alexander leads the squad with 3.0 sacks. Osborne and Dwight Dobbins share team-high pass break-up honors with five each.
"You have to understand one thing about a program like Tulsa: you're not going to knock their confidence down," Johnson said. "They're not going to give up. They're just going to continue to play and play and play. We have to match their intensity. We have to go in and we have to dethrone the champ.
"The champion always has a little bit of a chip on their shoulder. We have to play outstanding to play with this team. This team is a very good football team. They have a lot of guys back from last year's team."
Saturday's game marks the 10th meeting between Tulane and Tulsa on the gridiron and the Golden Hurricane hold a 9-1 lead in the all-time series. The Green Wave's lone head-to-head win over the Golden Hurricane was a 25-15 decision on Nov. 9, 1968. Since then, Tulsa has won the last nine contests - all since joining C-USA - including last year's 45-10 victory at H.A. Chapman Stadium.
For tickets to this weekend's game, as well as future Green Wave events, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office. The Ticket Office is located on the first floor of the Wilson Center on Ben Weiner Drive, and tickets can be purchased in person weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., over the phone at 504-861-WAVE (9283) or via the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.
Single-game tickets for the Tulane/Tulsa game will be available through the Superdome Box Office, located at Gate A Ground on Poydras Street, on game day. The Dome's box office will open at 12:30 p.m. and gates will open at 1:30 p.m.