Nov. 16, 2006
NEW ORLEANS, La. - The Tulane University football team will play its final home game of the 2006 season and honor 19 student-athletes playing their final collegiate home game when the Green Wave take on Conference USA foe UCF Saturday afternoon in the Louisiana Superdome.
The game marks the final chance for Tulane fans to watch Green Wave seniors Chris Beckman (P), Taylor Bertin (DE), Preston Brown (WR), Taurean Brown (DT), Nick Cannon (QB), Damarcus Davis (WR), Jeremy Foreman (CB), Billy Harrison (DE), Jerome Landry (TE), Donald Madlock (G), Ian Miller (FB), Terrence Peterson (LB), Michael Purcell (DL), Lester Ricard (QB), Derek Rogers (OT), Israel Route (CB) and Michael Sager (K) play as college athletes in the 'Dome.
The 17-member senior class will also be joined by redshirt-junior Chris Bordelon (OL) and redshirt-sophomore Shane Hannabury (TE), who are both expected to complete their degrees at the end of the academic year, in the one last hurrah before the home crowd. Saturday's game is slated to kickoff at 1 p.m. and will be broadcast on the Tulane Network (local WIST AM 690). Both video and audio streaming are available on TulaneGreenWave.com to registered members of the All Access Pass, and live stats will also be provided free of charge on the internet via GameTracker.
"This group of seniors experienced the high of the highs of going to the Hawaii Bowl (in 2002)," Tulane head coach Chris Scelfo said. "You ask any one of them what's probably been their most enjoyable experience in their life and it's been going out to Hawaii. So that was one of the highs of their highs and then obviously last year, one of the lowest points that any one of us has been through. Not just as an athlete, as a person.
"And you factor in '03, the reviews and the anxiety of that period of time. They've seen it all and they were in one of the most difficult times in this athletic department's history. At the end of the day, there's not one of them that won't be ultra-successful. I can't just talk about one, because I think every one of them will be successful and a great representative of Tulane, of this city, and of their families. This is going to be one group that I'm really going to miss."
Emotions aside, the Green Wave (3-7, 1-5) will look to end the 2006 season on a high note and will face a UCF team (3-7, 2-4) trying to do the same thing. A win on Saturday will give Tulane a winning record in the Superdome for the third time in the last five seasons (Tulane did not play a home game in the 'Dome during the 2005 season).
As a team, Tulane is averaging 361.7 yards of total offense per game (110.4 rushing, 261.3 passing) and are led by field marshal Ricard. Ricard enters Saturday's game with 2,450 yards and 17 touchdowns on 193-of-336 passing, and has gotten some help from an ever-improving receiving corps that has seen 12 players catch at least two passes.
Davis and Brown pace the team with 38 catches each, and Davis leads the Green Wave with 497 yards and three scoring grabs. Tulane will be without the services of junior running back Matt Forté, who will miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury, but has the capable legs of juniors Ray Boudreaux and Ade Tuyo as well as rookie André Anderson.
Junior defensive back David Skehan leads the Tulane defense with 70 tackles and four interceptions. Junior defensive tackle Frank Morton, the reigning Green Wave Defensive Player of the Week, paces the club with seven tackles behind the line of scrimmage, including a team-best four sacks for 28 yards lost.
UCF, meanwhile, averages 369.1 yards of total offense per game (139.4 rushing, 229.7 passing). The Golden Knights are led by sophomore running back Kevin Smith, who has run for 934 yards and seven touchdowns on 206 carries while hauling in 23 passes for an additional 158 yards.
The Golden Knights have used a pair of quarterbacks in 2006 - Kyle Israel and Steven Moffett. Moffett leads the team with 1,320 yards and eight touchdowns on 112-of-197 passes,but Israel paces the UCF team with a 129.25 quarterback rating after completing 73-of-124 passes for 977 yards and four scores. Twelve players have caught at least one pass for the Golden Knights and Mike Walter leads the way with 75 grabs for 982 yards and five touchdowns.
Johnell Neal leads the UCF defense with 53 tackles while Leger Douzable paces the Golden Knights with 10 tackles for loss, including six and a half sacks. Sha'reff Rashad headlines the UCF secondary with seven passes break-ups and four interceptions.
Saturday's game between Tulane and UCF marks just the third time the two teams will meet on the gridiron, and the Green Wave will be looking for their first ever win over the Golden Knights after dropping a 36-29 decision on Sept. 22, 2001 in the Superdome and falling 34-24 last Oct. 21 in Orlando.
Following the UCF contest, Tulane closes out the 2006 season on the road when they travel to Oklahoma to battle C-USA foe Tulsa on Friday, Nov. 24, at Skelly Stadium. That game is slated to kickoff at 2 p.m.