Oct. 26, 2006
New Orleans - The Tulane University football team returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 28, when the Green Wave celebrate Homecoming 2006 with a 1 p.m. kickoff against the Army Black Knights in the Louisiana Superdome.
Tulane enters the contest 2-5 on the year but fresh off a solid effort against then No. 8 Auburn in which the Green Wave rolled out 389 yards of total offense - the most allowed by the Tigers' defense in 2006. Army, meanwhile, comes into Saturday's showdown 3-5 on the year and looking to snap a two-game skid.
"Obviously it's a game that we match up well with - us with them as they do with us - and I really believe it's going to come down to who makes the least amount of mistakes," Tulane head coach Chris Scelfo said. "They've haven't been giving up many yards and they've been getting a lot of yards. They sort of have had the same problem that we've had, the turnover bug. I know they're concentrating hard on that and we will too."
The game will be broadcast live on the Tulane Network (local WIST AM 690) and simulcast on the internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com to registered members of the All Access Pass. In addition, live video of the game is also available via All Access. Live stats are also available free of the charge on the web through GameTracker.
Tulane's offense averages 372.0 yards per game (100.6 rushing, 271.4 passing), and is led by the tandem of senior quarterback Lester Ricard and junior running back Matt Forté. Ricard has completed 133-of-239 passes for 1,767 yards and 13 touchdowns while Forté has galloped for 674 yards and four touchdowns on 120 carries so far in 2006.
"The last several weeks, Lester has played very well," Scelfo said. "I think we had 26 drops in the first seven games and if you take that away he's over 60 percent completion rate. He's making really good decisions. He's even got some positive yards rushing, which is a big bonus for us. But he's made the right checks ands he's just got to stay hot."
The receiving corps is led by the senior duo of Preston Brown and Damarcus Davis, who sit 1-2 in receptions with 33 and 27, respectively. Davis paces the club with 386 yards and three touchdowns, while Brown has 365 yards and a score.
Tulane's defensive unit has showed steady improvement every week, and junior defensive back David Skehan paces the bunch with 45 tackles and two interceptions, one of which he returned 30 yards for a touchdown. Fellow defensive back Louis Thomas ranks second on the club with 43 tackles, including 26 solo stops, and linebacker Joe Goosby follows with 40 total stops.
Goosby leads the team with five tackles for loss, shares the team lead in sacks along with Thomas at two apiece, and senior cornerback Israel Route paces the secondary with six pass break-ups.
Army, meanwhile, averages 276.9 yards of total offense per game (149.5 rushing, 131.0 passing) and will shake things up this week as true freshman Carson Williams will get his first collegiate start at quarterback. Williams has played in three games so far, completing 15-of-27 passes for 154 yards and an interception.
Wesley McMahand leads the Army ground game with 518 yards on 114 carries while Tony Moore chips in with 238 yards and a team-best five scores on 71 totes. Sixteen different players have caught at least one pass for the Black Knights in 2006, and Jeremy Trimble leads the way with 33 receptions for 378 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, Army has allowed an average of 331.0 yards per game (182.2 rushing, 148.8 passing), and Cason Shrode leads the squad with 65 tackles. Cameron Craig paces the Black Knights with 14 tackles for losses totaling 41 yards, including three and a half sacks. Caleb Campbell, John Laird and Lowell Garthwaite each have one interception on the year, and Pete Harrington leads the squad with three pass deflections.
"Our players are smart enough to know what's at stake and they know why we are where we are right now, which is a good thing," Scelfo said. "But the character of this football team is one I really believe week in and week out that's going to put everything they can into it to win on any given Saturday. We have, but come up short some. I know their focus right now better be on Army."
Saturday's Homecoming contest marks the 13th meeting between Tulane and Army on the gridiron, and the Green Wave leads the all-time series, 6-5-1. Tulane is 3-1-1 against the Black Knights in the Louisiana Superdome, including a 45-31 victory on Nov. 13, 2004, when Forté ran for a Tulane freshman-record 216 yards.
Following the Homecoming contest, Tulane will head to Huntington, W.Va., for a Nov. 4 C-USA showdown at Marshall before returning to the Louisiana Superdome for back-to-back home contests against league foes Southern Miss (Nov. 11) and UCF (Nov. 18). 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.