Nov. 16, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University football team will play its final home contest of the 2012 campaign this Saturday, Nov. 17 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome when the Green Wave hosts Conference USA East Division rival East Carolina (6-4, 5-1 C-USA) at 2:30 p.m.
The Tulane/East Carolina game will air live on Cox Sports Television (CST) in New Orleans and WITN-NBC in Greenville, N.C. The contest will also 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."
Prior to the game, Tulane will recognize its 19-member 2012 senior class, which includes RB Stephen Barnett, DE Casey Blum, WR Jacob Davis, DS John Edwards, LB Darryl Farley, QB Ryan Griffin, LB Chris Hanuscin, DE Austen Jacks, DS Billy Johnson, OT Eric Jones, CB Alex Lauricella, QB D.J. Ponder, K Stephen Purcell, K Ryan Rome, S Shakiel Smith, TE Stephen Suchy, CB Ryan Travis, CB Kendrell Washington and the team will honor teammate, senior safety Devon Walker, who was lost for the season after suffering a cervical spine fracture while attempting to make a tackle on the final play of the first half in the second game of the season at Tulsa.
Tulane enters Saturday's ballgame 2-8 on the year, 2-4 in C-USA play but is 2-1 in its last three home games with wins over SMU (27-26) and UAB (55-45). However, Tulane dropped a narrow, 49-47, decision two weeks ago in its last contest at home against Rice. As a team, the Green Wave is averaging 314.3 yards of total offense per game (42.3 rushing, 272.0 passing) while giving up an average of 481.3 (228.2 rushing, 253.1 passing).
In his last two appearances at the Superdome, senior quarterback Ryan Griffin recorded back-to-back school single game passing marks with a school-record 466 yards against UAB and he broke the week-old record with a 476 yard performance vs. Rice. Griffin leads the Green Wave offense with 2,132 yards and 16 touchdowns on 173-of-271 passing (.638) for the year.
Junior wide receiver Ryan Grant leads the squad with 53 catches for 947 yards (17.9 avg.) and six touchdowns. Grant ranks first among C-USA players and 16th nationally for receiving yards per game (94.70). He is coming off a career-high 11 reception game at Memphis last week and has recorded four straight games with 100+ receiving yards. He has six 100-yard performances this season, which is the most among C-USA players, and is one shy of the school record of seven set by All-American Marc Zeno in 1987.
Sophomore running back Rob Kelley leads the Wave in rushing with 270 yards on 72 carries (3.8 avg.), while junior Orleans Darkwa is second with 208 yards on 66 attempts (3.2 avg.), but has a team-best three rushing touchdowns.
Defensively, the Green Wave has 16 sacks among 51 tackles for loss, 31 pass break-ups and 17 forced turnovers with 10 interceptions and nine fumble recoveries.
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 four interceptions, while Monroe has a team-high three fumble recoveries, including a 54-yard return for a touchdown last week.
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 a "Star of the Week" after hitting all three attempts last week at Memphis. Santos has his all 17 of his field goal attempts this season, including a 57-yarder last week vs. Rice.
After a bye week, East Carolina (6-4, 5-1 C-USA) comes to New Orleans fresh off a 48-28 win over Houston and has won three out of its last four outings. The Pirates' only loss during the stretch was a 56-28 loss to Navy on Oct. 27. ECU's lone conference loss was at C-USA East Division leader, UCF (40-20), on Oct. 4.
Quarterback Shane Carden leads the Pirate passing game, completing 65.6 percent (191-of-291) of his attempts for 2,184 yards and 16 touchdowns with seven interceptions.
Running back Vintavious Cooper paces the ground game with 891 yards on 162 attempts (5.5 avg.) and five touchdowns. Cooper's rushing total is the fourth-best among C-USA teams.
Receiver Justin Hardy is the favorite target in the ECU passing game with 62 receptions for 820 yards (13.2 avg.) and nine touchdowns. Hardy ranks third (two places behind TU's Ryan Grant) with 82 receiving yards per game.
Defensively, linebacker Jeremy Grove and defensive back Damon Magazu each lead East Carolina with 62 stops each, while linebacker Derrel Johnson has posed a team-best 7.5 stops for lost yardage, including 3.0 sacks.
Saturday's game marks the 12th all-time meeting between Tulane and East Carolina and the Pirates lead the all-time series, 9-2. ECU has won the last four straight games vs. the Wave entering this week's contest.
The last time TU and ECU squared off in New Orleans was during the 2008 campaign. In that game, the 14th-ranked Pirates scored the go-ahead touchdown with 1:21 remaining in the game to escape the Crescent City with a 24-21 victory.
Tulane's last win at home against ECU came in 2003 when the Wave dispatched the Pirates, 28-18, at the Superdome. The Wave's only other win in the series was a 33-16 victory in the Superdome in 1997.
Tickets for this 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.