Nov. 18, 2011
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University football team will close out the Conference USA portion of its 2011 schedule on Saturday, Nov. 19, when the Green Wave travel to Houston to take on Conference USA foe Rice. Kickoff at Rice Stadium is slated for 2:30 p.m.
The Wave enter the weekend 2-9 on the year, 1-6 in C-USA action and looking to snap a eight-game losing streak dating back to Sept.24. Rice, meanwhile, is 3-7 overall and 2-4 in league play. Saturday's game marks the 34th meeting between the two teams on the gridiron and Rice holds a slight edge in the all-time series, 17-15-1. Tulane, however, won the last meeting, 54-49 last Nov. 13 in the Superdome and have won three of the last five matchups.
"When you look at the recruiting, we recruit a lot of the same players," Tulane interim head coach Mark Hutson said of the Owls. "Houston is a hotbed for us in recruiting and it's their home city, so we recruit a number of the same players. Our academic standards are very much in order there...We are similar athletically. I call it the mirror effect. When I watch them stretch and us stretch, it's like looking in a mirror. They have similar athletes to us."
The Tulane/Rice contest will be aired live on the flagship radio station of Green Wave football, WIST AM 690, while live audio and video streaming are available on-line at www.TulaneGreenWave.com to paid members of the All-Access Pass. Live stats are also available on the web courtesy of GameTracker, and fans can interact with members of the Tulane Athletic Communications staff throughout the game via "Tulane Live".
As a team, the Tulane football squad is averaging 349.8 yards of total offense per game (121.0 rushing, 228.8 passing) while allowing opponents to tally a mark of 419.5 (172.9 rushing, 246.8 passing).
Sophomore Orleans Darkwa leads the Tulane ground game with 775 yards and 11 touchdowns on 171 carries while senior Albert Williams is next with 253 rushing yards and a score on 55 totes. Junior quarterback Ryan Griffin has completed 196-of-341 passes for 2,237 yards with 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions, and has done a good job of spreading the ball around as 18 Tulane players have at least one reception.
Mackey paces the defense with 136 tackles (88 solo, 48 assists) and 12 tackles for loss. He also has one of the Green Wave's four defensive touchdowns in 2011 courtesy of a 39-yard interception return for a touchdown against UAB on Sept. 17. Junior linebacker Darryl Farley and junior safety Shakiel Smith are next with 59 and 56 tackles, respectively, and senior defensive end Dezman Moses headlines the squad with 6.5 sacks.
Junior cornerback Jordan Sullen leads the team with nine of the Wave's 38 pass break-ups while fellow junior Ryan Travis is next with five PBUs and a team-best four interceptions. Junior linebacker Dominique Robertson paces Tulane with three forced fumbles, Moses has two and the quartet of Farley, freshman safety Renaldo Thomas, junior defensive end Austen Jacks and redshirt-freshman special teamer Taylor Bullock have one forced fumble each. Jacks paces the squad with a pair of fumble recoveries while Mackey, Moses, Robertson, sophomore defensive tackle Julius Warmsley and redshirt-freshman linebacker Ray Oppman have one apiece.
Rice, meanwhile, is averaging 368.5 yards of total offense per game (160.6 rushing, 207.9 passing) while allowing opponents to post 488.8 yards per contest (188.6 rushing, 300.2 passing).
Tyler Smith leads the Rice ground game with 683 yards on 116 carries, and Turner Petersen is close behind with 473 yards on 92 attempts to go with a team-leading five touchdowns. Taylor McHargue is one of two Owls' quarterbacks to see significant time under center this season, and paces the squad with 1,072 yards and eight touchdowns while completing 100-of-174 passes and five interceptions. Nick Fanuzzi, meanwhile, is 74-of-131 for 879 yards , five scores and one pick.
Sixteen Rice receivers have caught at least one pass to date, and Vance McDonald leads the way with 36 receptions for 467 yards and five touchdowns.
Cameron Nwosu leads the Rice defense with 94 tackles (47 solo, 47 assists) while Justin Allen has 82 and Paul Porras has 75. Porras and Bryce Callahan each have seven of the team's 34 pass break-ups while Callahan has six of the Owls' 10 interceptions
Scott Solomon paces Rice with 10.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks, Xavier Webb has three of the team's 12 forced fumbles, and 12 different Owl defenders have one fumble recovery.
The game at Rice is the second-to-last game of the 2011 Green Wave season as Tulane will close out the year on Saturday, Nov. 26, at Hawa'i.