Nov. 5, 2010
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University football team returns to action on Saturday, Nov. 6, when the Green Wave take on Conference USA rival Southern Miss in "The Battle For the Bell" in the Louisiana Superdome. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
Tulane enters the ballgame 3-5 on the year, 1-3 in league play and looking to bounce back from a 31-17 loss to SMU last Saturday in The Dome. Southern Miss, meanwhile, comes to town 5-3 overall, 2-2 in C-USA action and looking to rebound from a 50-49 double-overtime loss to UAB in Hattiesburg, Miss.
Saturday's game will be televised live on Cox Sports Television (Cox Channel 37, HD 737) and will also be aired live on the radio on the official flagship station of Green Wave Athletics, WIST AM 690. In addition, live stats are provided for free on the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com via GameTracker.
"We've got four games to play," Tulane head football coach Bob Toledo said. "We need to practice well and we have to play like we're capable of playing. We still have a chance to win some games down the stretch here, so we just have to put it together and move on. The attitude of our football team is very good. I've talked to a lot of our seniors and they feel like there is still hope and they want to finish strong. Now, the younger guys have to jump on board with them."
As a team, the Green Wave are averaging 352.1 yards of total offense per game (129.1 rushing, 223.0 passing) while allowing opponents to tally 381.4 per contest (186.4 rushing, 195.0 passing).
Tulane's run game has really come on lately as the Wave have run for a combined 530 yards over the past two games. A large reason for that has been the performance of freshman Orleans Darkwa, who leads the team with 480 yards and six touchdowns on 88 carries (5.5 avg.), including 307 rushing yards the last two weekends (153.5 yards per game). Junior Albert Williams is second on the squad with 331 rushing yards and a touchdown on 78 attempts (4.2 avg.) while sophomore Payten Jason follows with 197 yards and two scores on 57 totes (3.5 avg.).
Defensively, sophomore middle linebacker Trent Mackey headlines the Green Wave with 88 tackles (44 solo, 44 assists) while safeties Alex Wacha and Shakiel Smith follow with respective totals of 57 and 52. Tulane has 18 sacks among 45 tackles for loss to date and senior defensive tackle Justin Adams leads the team in each category with 6.5 sacks and 10.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage.
Tulane has forced 16 turnovers during the first eight games of the year courtesy of six interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries. Senior cornerback Phillip Davis leads the team with five take-aways on the strength of three picks and a pair of fumble recoveries while also pacing the club with six pass break-ups. Wacha is second on the squad with two interceptions while sophomore defensive end Austen Jacks is tied with Davis for the fumble recovery lead.
"We basically let one slip away that we thought we had," Toledo said of his team's performance last week against SMU. "We just need to learn to play with consistency. We win a game, we lose a game, we win a game, we lose a game. We have got to be more consistent and learn how to finish football games. That, again, was disappointing. I believe we've proven that we have gotten better. You look at our football team, and you can see that we've gotten better."
Southern Miss, meanwhile, enters Saturday's contest averaging 440.1 yards of total offense per game (190.0 rushing, 250.1 passing) while holding opponents to 310.5 per outing (100.9 rushing, 209.6 passing). The Golden Eagles have five players with at least 180 rushing yards so far this season and Kendrick Hardy leads the way with 427 yards while scoring four times on 56 carries.
Quarterback Austin Davis paces USM with six rushing touchdowns while sitting third with 251 rushing yards on 82 carries. He has also completed 168-of-269 passes for 1,868 yards, nine touchdowns and five interceptions. Johdrick Morris leads the Golden Eagles with 31 receptions for 478 yards and has a pair of touchdown grabs to his credit, while Kelvin Bolden leads the team with three scoring receptions after hauling in 28 passes for 456 yards.
Korey Williams leads the Southern Miss defense with 53 tackles (24 solo, 29 assists) while Jamie Collins and Ronnie Thornton follow with 47 and 43 stops, respectively. The Golden Eagles have 17 sacks among 54 tackles for loss so far in 2010 and Williams, Cordarro Law, Terrance Pope, Khyri Thornton and Roshaad Byrd are all tied for the team lead with 2.0 sacks each. Law paces Southern Miss with 6.5 tackles for losses totaling 22 yards.
USM has 17 take-aways to its credit after picking off 11 passes and recovering six fumbles, and leads C-USA with 32 pass break-ups. Justin Wilson leads the way in interceptions with three, Deron Wilson has a team-best nine pass break-ups and Law paces the club with a pair of fumble recoveries.
"They are a big, strong, physical, athletic football team," Toledo said of this weekend's opponent. "I think they have nine guys back on defense and it shows. They are really good. They're in the top one-third of most of the conference statistics. They're really good and their stats bear it out."
Saturday's game marks the 30th meeting between Tulane and Southern Miss on the gridiron and the Golden Eagles lead the all-time series 22-7, including a 10-4 record against the Green Wave in New Orleans. Tulane won the inaugural meeting against Southern Miss on Oct. 13, 1979, in Hattiesburg, 20-19, but the Golden Eagles have now won five straight against Tulane dating back to the 2003 season. The Green Wave's last win over Southern Miss came on Nov. 23, 2002, when Tulane earned a 31-10 decision in the Louisiana Superdome.
The Southern Miss contest is the second of four straight home contests for Tulane as the Wave will face Rice on Nov. 13 and UCF on Nov. 20 before closing out the regular season on Nov. 27 at Marshall. For ticket information, contact the Tulane Ticket Office at (504) 861-WAVE. Tickets can be purchase in the Ticket Office, which is located on the first floor of the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center, over the phone or online at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.