Oct. 30, 2000
Three in a Row at the 'Dome
After completing the road portion of its 2000 schedule with a 2-4 mark, Tulane starts the "home stretch" of its 2000 season with the first of three straight home games as Houston visits the Superdome. It will be the eighth straight weekend of play for the Green Wave.
The Last Time
Houston claimed a 36-31 victory in Houston a year ago this weekend. The Cougars jumped out to a 27-10 lead early in the third quarter before Tulane roared back with a pair of touchdowns to close the gap to 27-24 entering the final period. UH got a field goal to take a six-point lead and then sealed the win on a 75-yard interception return by Kenny Hill. Patrick Ramsey passed for 360 yards and a pair of Tulane receivers, including Adrian Burnette, went over the 100-yard mark for the Green Wave.
J.P. Losman hit Zander Robinson with an eight-yard touchdown pass with 1:25 remaining and Adrian Burnette recovered the ensuing onside kick, but the Green Wave was unable to convert in the final seconds and Louisville claimed a narrow 35-32 victory over Tulane in Louisville. Tulane set school records for passes attemtped (72) and completed (43) with starting QB Patrick Ramsey hitting for 34-of-54 completions before injury forced him out of the contest in the third quarter. The Tulane defense did not allow a play of more than 23 yards and Burnette caught 12 passes for 122 yards in the game.
Dome Sweet Home
Tulane is playing just its third home game of 2000 at home versus Houston. All-time, Tulane is 65-82 (.442 winning percentage) in the Louisiana Superdome, including a 1-1 mark this season. A year ago, the Wave won three of its five home games as all of its victories came at the Superdome.
In four seasons, the Green Wave is 14-14 all-time in Conference USA play, including a 6-0 record and league championship in 1998. This season marks the first time that C-USA teams are playing a seven-game league schedule. In 1996, teams played five league games and the number stood at six from 1997-99 until moving to seven this year. With the addition of TCU to Conference USA in 2001, C-USA will consist of 10 teams, with South Florida slated to be the 11th football-playing school beginning in 2003.
Vs. C-USA Teams
All-time, Tulane is 36-46-2 versus teams that currently comprise Conference USA. The all-time lists, both as C-USA teams and overall:
Quite a Pair
Green Wave kicker Seth Marler and punter Casey Roussel have formed quite possibly the top kicking tandem in Conference USA this season. Marler is 13-of-17 on field goals and 22-of-23 PATs on the year, and has converted all eight of his three-point tries from inside 40 yards. Roussel, meanwhile, leads the league in punting average while helping Tulane win the field position battle.
Pair Versus Pair
The Houston-Tulane game matches teams that boast two of the top five receiving "pairs" in the nation. Ranked by both total catches by two receivers and by catches per game, the Houston duo of Brian Robinson and KeyKowa Bell, and the Tulane twosome of Adrian Burnette and Terrell Harris rank fourth and fifth in the country, respectively. Robinson and Bell have combined for 100 catches for 1,174 yards on the year while Burnette and Harris have made 98 catches for 1,216 yards.
Make Ours A Trio
After a big game (10 catches for 72 yards and a TD) by senior Kerwin Cook last week at Louisville, Tulane's top two is really a "big three". Burnette, Harris and Cook have combined to catch 63 percent (134) of the Tulane completions for 64 percent (1,606) of the passing yardage. Burnette and Cook have 10 of the Green Wave's 16 touchdown catches this year..
Airing It Out
Tulane quarterbacks combined to complete 43-of-72 passes versus Louisville to establish new school records for pass completions and attempts in a game. The 388 passing yards tied for seventh-highest on the all-time list. The attempts record was previously set last year versus this week's opponent, Houston. The Green Wave currently boasts the No. 6 passing offense, and No. 10 total offense, in the nation
Tulane's starting line-up, especially on offense, has taken on a distinct Louisiana flavor this season with 17 in-state players among the starters. Ten of 11 starters on the Green Wave offense hail from Louisiana with left guard Bryson Westbrook of Cumming, GA, the lone out-of-state offensive starter. Defensively Tulane has seven LA starters and four out-of-staters, three of whom are from Florida.
While much has been made of the freshman contributors, in 2000, the fact is that the Green Wave starts 10 seniors on offense (5) and defense (5). Overall, 10 of the Green Wave's 11 starters on offense are either juniors or seniors with tailback Mewelde Moore the lone underclassmen. The defense is more evenly aligned with two freshmen, four sophomores and five seniors, but no juniors.
Freshmen of Note
By making his first start of the season at Louisville, receiver Roydell Williams became the fifth true freshman to start a game for Tulane this season. Williams joins Mewelde Moore (5 starts), fullback Kris Coleman (1 start), defensive tackle Lonnie Crayton (3 starts) and cornerback Lynaris Elpheage (4 starts) on Tulane's list of freshmen starters in 2000. In addition, Wesley Heath worked last week as the Green Wave's top OLB after Corey Jones was sidelined by injury. He did not start the game as TU opened in its nickel defense.
While QB Patrick Ramsey, the receivers and tailback Mewelde Moore set records and gain accolades, it is six silent stalwarts on the Tulane offensive line who have powered the rushing game and provided protection for Ramsey and J.P. Losman. Center Torie Taulli played through a slight knee sprain last week to continue his streak of playing on every offensive snap (663) for the Green Wave this year, as has junior right tackle Corey Sewell. Senior left tackle Bernard Robertson has been perhaps Tulane's best player this season, and has caught the eyes of visiting NFL scouts. Junior Chrys Bullock has been the most versatile member of the line, seeing reps at both guard spots and playing one half the game at left tackle last week, while Bryson Westbrook missed his first series of the season at Louisville when he came out of the game briefly with a leg contusion. Robertson and Taulli have picked up the team's offensive player of the week honors twice each.
Running back Jeff Sanchez (rt. ankle sprain) and tight end Tim Pinter (rt. knee sprain) have missed the last three games with injuries sustained in the UL-Lafayette game. Receiver Derrick Joseph (hyperextended left elbow) and linebacker Corey Jones (sprained left foot) were injured at Army and missed the trip to Louisville. Free safety Quentin Brown (lt. shoulder sprain) and quarterback Patrick Ramsey (bruised sternum) were added to the Tulane casualty list this week. Their status will be updated later in the week.
The Green Wave takes on Navy next Saturday in a Veteran's Day special in the Superdome. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. Navy, 0-8 on the season, is off this week.
Is It Better to Receive?
Freshman tailback Mewelde Moore continues to make an impact for the Green Wave despite losing his conference-leading status in rushing after earning 49 yards on 15 carries at Army. Moore did catch six passes for 101 yards and a 74-yard TD, the first of his career, in the game. In doing so, he became the first TU running back in 12 seasons to pass the 100-yard mark in receiving and is just the third Tulane running back in modern history to accomplish the feat. Michael Pierce was the last TU running back to have a 100-yard receiving game and he did it three times in 1987 and '88. Earlier this year, Moore became the first freshman, and just the fifth player in Tulane history to post back-to-back-to-back 100-yard games with three straight 100-yard rushing games versus East Carolina (131), SMU (104) and Cincinnati (114). The Baton Rouge native was a fourth-round draft choice of the San Diego Padres in the 2000 MLB draft and will play for the team during the summers.
Green Wave receiver Adrian Burnette became just the sixth player in school history to pass the 2,000-yard mark in career receiving yards after grabbing seven passes for 82 yards last week. Burnette joins Marc Zeno, JaJaun Dawson, Wil Ursin, P.J. Franklin and Jerome McIntosh in the 2,000-yard club at Tulane with 2,006 yards on 139 career catches. He ranks sixth all-time in receiving yards and TD receptions and fifth in catches.
Ramsey Looks for 5K
With 4,920 career passing yards, Patrick Ramsey needs 80 yards to top the 5,000-yard mark for his career. The junior from Ruston already ranks fourth on the Tulane charts for both passing yards and pass completions. He needs one more TD pass to move into a tie for fourth in career TD passes and he is already the only TU signal-caller to pass for 400-plus yards in a game, which he has done three times during his career. After hitting Mewelde Moore with a season-long 74-yard touchdown toss versus Army, Ramsey has thrown a touchdown pass in 18 straight games as Tulane's QB.
Onto the Charts
Senior Jerry Phillips posted his fourth straight double-figure tackle game with 15 tackles at Army Saturday and now leads Conference USA with 84 stops on the year. He entered the season with 240 career tackles and is now poised to break into the top 10 all-time at Tulane in that category with 324 total stops. He needs five tackles to pass Rusty Chambers (1972-74) for 10th place on the list. With 11 more solo tackles this season, he will move into Tulane's Top 10 in that career category.
In A Rush
With 971 rushing yards on 262 carries so far this season, the Green Wave needs just 55 more rushing yards this year to surpass its 1999 season total of 1,026 rushing yards. A year ago Tulane rushed 356 times and averaged 93.3 yards per game rushing. Tulane is averaging 3.7 yards per rush and 138.7 yards per game this year, an increase of more than 45 yards per contest. The Green Wave has already scored more rushing TDs than it compiled in all of 1999.
Tulane continues to lead Conference USA in third down conversions as the Green Wave have converted on 52-of-116 third down attempts this year for a 44.8 percentage. Louisville ranks second in the league at 41.6 percent. Tulane opponents, unfortunately, have nearly matched the Green Wave's average with a 42 percent conversion rate (47-of-112). TU also leads C-USA in first downs with 164 on the year, 14 more than Cincinnati.
Mewelde Moore was named Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week for his performance versus Cincinnati, while Patrick Ramsey picked up the award a week earlier after the SMU contest. Punter Casey Roussel shared C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week honors following the SMU game and Roxie Shelvin got the nod after his blocked PAT preserved the Tulane win at ULL. A pair of Tulane defenders and receiver Adrian Burnette have earned recognition from the Louisiana Sports Writer's Association. Noel Ellis was named LSWA Defensive Player of the Week following the SMU contest while freshman Lynaris Elpheage earned the same honor a week later after picking off two passes versus Cincinnati. Burnette was chosen the LSWA's Offensive Player of the Week for his 11-catch, 191-yard performance versus the Ragin' Cajuns.
Preseason Award Notes
In addition to Jerry Phillips' mention on the Butkus Award Watch List, junior punter Casey Roussel made the Watch List for the new Ray Guy Award, which will go the nation's top punter in 2000. Senior offensive tackle Bernard Robertson was selected to the preseason All-Conference USA team in a vote by league coaches.