Nov. 9, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University football team hits the road for just the fourth time this season and will attempt to pick up its first road win this Saturday, Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. when the Green Wave takes on the Memphis Tigers at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tenn.
The Tulane/Memphis game will be broadcast on the flagship station of Green Wave athletics, WIST AM 690, and live video streaming will be available via the web at www.TulaneGreenWave.com to paid members of the All-Access Pass. Live stats will also be on-line courtesy of GameTracker, and fans will once again have a chance to insert their opinion and ask questions interactively through "Tulane Live."
Tulane enters Saturday's ballgame 2-7 on the year, 2-3 in C-USA play but is 2-2 in its last four games. However, Tulane dropped a narrow, 49-47, decision last week at home against Rice. As a team, the Green Wave is averaging 316.9 yards of total offense per game (38.1 rushing, 278.8 passing) while giving up an average of 491.9 (241.3 rushing, 250.6 passing).
Senior quarterback Ryan Griffin is coming off back-to-back school single game passing marks with a school-record 466 yards two weeks ago against UAB and he broke the week-old record with a 476 yard performance last week vs. Rice. Griffin, who has thrown for nine total touchdowns the last two weeks, leads the Green Wave offense with 1,921 yards and 15 touchdowns on 148-of-228 passing (.649) for the year.
Junior wide receiver Ryan Grant is one of six Tulane players with 10-plus receptions so far this season and leads the squad with 42 catches for 834 yards (19.9 avg.) and five touchdowns. Sophomore running back Rob Kelley is next for the Wave with 40 grabs and four scoring receptions, and sophomore wideout Xavier Rush is third on the squad in receptions and yards with 28 receptions for 363 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Sophomore receiver Justyn Shackleford has missed the last two games, but is expected back this week. Shackleford has 26 receptions for 407 yards and two scores.
Kelley paces the Tulane ground game with 244 yards on 65 carries (3.8 avg.), and junior Orleans Darkwa has a team-best three rushing touchdowns while compiling 176 yards on 58 totes.
Defensively, the Green Wave has 14 sacks among 43 tackles for loss, 29 pass break-ups and 16 forced turnovers with nine interceptions and seven fumble recoveries.
Freshman safety Darion Monroe leads the way with 67 tackles (45 solo, 22 assists), followed by junior linebacker Zach Davis with 53 (35 solo, 18 assists) while senior linebacker Darryl Farley (23 solo, 23 assists) has 46 tackles.
Senior defensive end Austen Jacks paces Tulane with 4.5 sacks among a team-best 8.5 tackles for loss. Freshman corner Lorenzo Doss leads the team with three interceptions, Travis and senior safety Shakiel Smith headline the secondary with five pass break-ups each and sophomore defensive tackle Kenny Welcome has two of the team's eight forced fumbles.
Junior place-kicker Cairo Santos continues to prove he is perhaps the top place-kicker in the nation this season and this past Monday the Lou Groza Award took notice by naming Santos to its list of 20 semifinalists. Santos has his all 14 of his field goal attempts this season, including a 57-yarder last week vs. Rice.
Memphis (1-8, 1-4 C-USA) notched its lone win of the year at home with a 14-10 win over Rice back on Oct. 6. The Tigers are 1-3 at home this season, so neither Tulane nor Memphis has found success on the road this season. The Tigers enter Saturday's match-up mired in a four-game skid, but have played three of their last four outings on the road.
Quarterback Jacob Karam has completed 61.3 percent (136-of-222) of his pass attempts for 1,316 yards and seven touchdowns with just two interceptions.
Running back Brandon Hayes paces the run game with 283 yards on 64 attempts (4.4 avg) and has one touchdown, while Jai Steib has 281 yards on a team-high 82 attempts (3.4 avg) and two TDs.
Receiver Keiwone Malone has a team-high 40 receptions for 414 yards and two scores, while Marcus Rucker has 37 catches for a team-best 432 yards and a team-high three scores.
Defensively, linebacker Charles Harris leads the team with 62 stops (13 solo), while defensive lineman Martin Ifedi has a team-best 9.5 TFLs and 7.0 sacks.
"They can run the football pretty well and they beat Rice, who we lost to last week," Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson. Defensively, they're big up front. They're similar to us, but we're beginning to do some things different from them. We're scoring a lot of points. Their quarterback is a pretty good player, and our quarterback is playing exceptionally. We're playing a lot of freshmen - a lot of young guys - that are now starting to play well. The offensive line had its struggles early, but they're starting to play well. We're still climbing and we're still ascending as a team. I'm sure they feel they're doing the same things."
Saturday's game marks the 30th overall meeting between Tulane and Memphis and the Tigers lead the all-time series, 17-11-1. Tulane will look to snap a six-game skid in the series, which dates back 12 years. The Wave's last win against Memphis was in 2000 when the Green Wave topped the Tigers 37-14 at the Superdome. Since then, Memphis has won the last six meetings, including a 33-17 win last season in the Superdome.
Memphis is 10-2 against Tulane at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium and the last time the Green Wave left the Bluff City with a victory was in 1998 when Tulane handed the Tigers a 41-31 setback.
The last meeting between the Green Wave and the Tigers in Memphis came during Tulane's 2008 season finale and the Tigers dispatched Tulane, 45-6.
Tulane offensive coordinator Eric Price served in the same capacity at Memphis from 2010-11, while TU head coach Curtis Johnson's son, Curtis Johnson III or Trey, was a receiver at Memphis from 2008-11.
Tickets for next week's final home games, as well as all Green Wave events, are available through 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, over the phone at 504-861-WAVE (9283) or via the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.