Nov. 6, 2009
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane football team returns home and to Conference USA play this Saturday when the Green Wave hosts the UTEP Miners on Senior Day at the Louisiana Superdome. Kick-off is slated for 2:30 p.m. Fans in the Superdome can listen to the Tulane radio broadcast on 88.7 FM, while anyone outside the Superdome can tune in to the official flagship station for Tulane Athletics, WIST 690 AM.
Following back-to-back road games the last two weeks at Southern Miss and LSU, TU (2-6, 0-4 C-USA) plays its final home contest of the 2009 campaign against the Miners. Tulane is 1-4 at home this season, including 0-3 in C-USA home games, and will be looking to close out the home portion of this year's slate on a high note. Tulane has not gone winless at home in C-USA play since the league's inaugural season of 1996 (0-3).
Tulane will also look to snap a 10-game skid in C-USA play, including a five game losing streak on its home field. The last time the Wave was victories in a league game on its home field was last season against SMU (34-27) on Sept. 25, 2008.
Prior to Saturday's kickoff, Tulane will honor the 2009 senior class during pre-game festivities. The 16-member class of 2009 includes: Andre Anderson, Travis Burks, Chinonso Echebelem, Charles Harris, Logan Kelley, David Kirksey, Adam Kwentua, John Landa, Nick Landry, James McMurchy, Adam Podet, Tyler Rice, Reggie Scott, Corey Sonnier, Ross Thevenot and Jeremy Williams.
Eight TU players were on the team in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and forced TU to play 11 games during an 11-week span in 11 different stadiums. The players include: Reggie Scott (DT), Charles Harris (CB), David Kirksey (LB), John Landa (OL), James McMurchy (LB), Tyler Rice (OL), Corey Sonnier (S) and Jeremy Williams (WR).
Senior running back André Anderson has 1,666 rushing yards for his career, which puts him into 12th place in the Tulane record book. He trails Terrence Jones (1,761 from 1985-88) by 95 yards for 11th place in Tulane career rushing yards.
Tulane's Jeremy Williams is averaging 133.62 all-purpose yards per outing, which ranks sixth among Conference USA players and is 39th nationally. He is averaging 92.5 receiving yards (740 total), 3.7 rushing yards (116 total) and 19.4 per kickoff return (11 returns for 213 yards) per contest. He has touched the ball 96 times for 912 yards for an average of 11.1 yards per play.
For the fourth consecutive game, redshirt-freshman Ryan Griffin posted a career high in passing yards, tallying 163 yards after completing 21-of-29 attempts last week at LSU. His 21 completions tied his career high from his first career start at Southern Miss and his 72.4 completion percentage is the best of his young career.
Senior safety Chinonso Echebelem leads the Wave in tackles with 9.87 per game (79 total; 45 solo), which ranks fifth among C-USA players and 23rd nationally. Echebelem has four games with 10 or more tackles this season, including a season-best 13 vs. No. 23 Houston. He ranks first in tackles in league games with 10.8 per outing. Echebelem leads all C-USA players and ranks second nationally in forced fumbles with four. He is the first Tulane defender to force at least four fumbles in a season since Israel Route had four in 2006.
UTEP (3-5, 2-2 C-USA) has been a bit of an enigma this season after stumbling out of the starting gates to a 1-3 record with two losses to nationally ranked squads, No. 24 Kansas (34-7) and No. 2 Texas (64-7), and a loss to Buffalo (23-17) at home in the season opener. UTEP posted its first win of the year over nearby rival, New Mexico State, 38-12. However, the Miners showed their potential in the fifth game of the season when they took down previously undefeated and No. 12 Houston, 58-41, at home on Oct. 3. But UTEP is just 1-2 since its win over Houston.
Quarterback Trevor Vittatoe leads the Miner attack, completing 143-of-276 pass attempts for 1,903 yards and eight touchdowns against 11 interceptions. Vittatoe is averaging 237.9 yards through the air per game.
Running back Donald Buckram, the national player of the week for his 262-yard outburst against Houston, has rushed 150 times for 947 yards and 10 scores.
Receiver Jeff Moturi has hauled in a team-best 35 catches for 558 yards (15.9 ypr) and two touchdowns. Defensive back Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith leads the team in tackles with 73 stops (27 solo), while defensive lineman Aaron King has 3.5 sacks.
Saturday's game marks the fifth all-time meeting between Tulane and UTEP and the Miners lead the series, 3-1. The Green Wave is 1-0 against the Miners in the Louisiana Superdome after posting a 34-19 win in the team's first-ever meeting in the `Dome in 2007.
This week's contest marks just the second-ever meeting between the two teams in the Superdome. UTEP joined Conference USA in 2005 and was supposed to play Tulane in New Orleans during the first-ever meeting between the two schools in October of 2005. However, Hurricane Katrina (August, 2005) forced the Green Wave to relocate to Ruston, La., and the two teams squared off for the first time on the campus of Louisiana Tech University where the Miners handed the Wave a 45-21 setback.
Tulane head coach Bob Toledo and UTEP head coach Mike Price each coached together in the Pac-10 Conference in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Toledo was the head man at UCLA from 1996-2002, while Price headed up the Washington State football team from 1989-2002.
For ticket information, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office at 504-861-WAVE. Tickets can be purchased in person, over the phone or via the internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.