Nov. 1, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - After getting healthy on some home cooking, the Tulane University football team will look to continue its winning ways on the road over the weekend as the Green Wave travel to Boca Raton, Fla., to square off against Conference USA newcomer Florida Atlantic on Saturday, Nov. 2, at 4 p.m. (CDT) at FAU Stadium.
Tulane enters the game riding the crest of a four-game winning streak and already bowl-eligible with a 6-2 overall record. More importantly, the Green Wave are a perfect 4-0 in C-USA action. The Wave, however, will be on the road for the first time in a month as their last contest outside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome was a 31-14 victory over ULM back on Sept. 28 in Monroe, La.
"The concentration level has to be right on," second-year Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson said of the mindset he feels his team needs to extend its winning streak. "We've got to continue our single-minded focus. We haven't achieved our goals yet of what we want to achieve. We've done some stuff, but we're still climbing uphill with a lot of this stuff so we've got to just continue to do what we're supposed to do and do it well."
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.
As a team, Tulane enters the FAU contest averaging 316.2 yards of total offense per game (127.9 rushing, 188.4 passing) while giving up an average of 381.9 yards on defense (117.1 rushing, 264.8 passing). Senior tailback Orleans Darkwa leads a balanced ground attack with 469 yards and six touchdowns on 110 carries while junior fullback Rob Kelley is close behind with 346 yards and two scores on 69 totes.
Senior wide receiver Ryan Grant leads the aerial attack with 53 catches for 700 yards and seven touchdowns. Junior wideout Justyn Shackleford is next with 28 grabs for 296 yards and five scores, while fellow junior receiver Xavier Rush has 139 yards and a touchdown on 13 receptions.
Defensively, Tulane has 19 sacks among 66 tackles for loss while forcing 24 turnovers courtesy of 15 interceptions and nine fumble recoveries. Junior strong safety Sam Scofield, who was named C-USA and Louisiana Defensive Player of the Week as well as the FWAA/Nagurski Defensive Back of the Week, leads the team with 66 tackles 52 solo, 14 assists. Sophomore free safety Darion Monroe is next with 48 stops (36 solo, 12 assists) while freshman linebacker Nico Marley has 38 (22 solo, 16 assists).
Senior defensive tackle Julius Warmsley paces the unit with 12.5 tackles for loss and shares the team lead in sacks with sophomore defensive end Royce LaFrance at 3.0 each. Warmsley and sophomore defensive back Jordan Batiste each have a team-best two forced fumbles, sophomore cornerback Lorenzo Doss has a nation-best five interceptions and senior nickelback Derrick Strozier leads all players with nine pass break-ups.
FAU, meanwhile, enters Saturday's ballgame 2-6 on the year, 1-4 in C-USA play and looking to snap a two-game skid after dropping a 24-23 home decision to Marshall on Oct. 12 and falling at Auburn, 45-10, last Saturday. As a team, the Owls are averaging 356.9 yards of total offense per game (153.5 rushing, 203.4 passing) while giving up 391.4 yards per outing defensively (212.8 rushing, 178.6 passing).
Jaquez Johnson leads the team with 1,188 passing yards and six touchdowns while completing 109-of-185 passes while pacing the ground game with six rushing touchdowns to go with 394 rushing yards, which ranks second among the Owls' players.
Jonathan Wallace leads the rushing attack with 530 yards on 110 carries to go with three touchdowns, and Daniel McKinney leads the aerial attack with 37 catches for 397 yards. William Dukes has a team-best four touchdown receptions while Nexon Dorvilus is next with three.
On defense, FAU has 16 sacks among 45 tackles for loss and has forced 11 turnovers on the strength of seven interceptions and four fumble recoveries. Andrae Kirk paces the unit with 58 tackles (29 solo, 29 assists) while Adarius Glanton (38 solo, 19 assists) and Damian Parms (24 solo, 24 assists) follow with respective totals of 57 and 48.
Glanton paces the team with 7.5 tackles for loss, Brandin Bryant and Cory Henry share team-high sack honors with 4.0 apiece, and D'Joun Smith headlines the secondary with four interceptions and nine pass break-ups.
Saturday's game marks the first-ever meeting between Tulane and FAU on the gridiron. The contest against the Owls marks the fourth time during the 2013 season that the Green Wave will face a first-time foe, and Tulane is 2-1 in those games as the Wave defeated Jackson State, 34-7, in the season opener on Aug. 29, dropping a 41-39 decision to South Alabama on Sept. 7 and downing North Texas, 24-21, on Oct. 5.
"I think this is a tremendous opportunity for us and our program, and what these guys are doing is they are trying to prove that we belong here," Johnson said. "They may know we're the underdog. I really didn't know. I told them we'd probably be the favorites. But they know they're the underdogs, so now you've got to play with a chip on your shoulder. That's how I think these guys are playing."
The game at FAU is the first of two-straight road games for Tulane as the Green Wave will play at Texas-San Antonio on Nov. 9 before closing out the home portion of the 2013 regular season on Nov. 23 against UTEP in the Superdome.
For tickets to that 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.