Nov. 21, 2007
NEW ORLEANS, La. - As year one of the "Bob Toledo Era" comes to an end on Saturday at East Carolina, the Tulane University football team still has a lot to play for.
While the Green Wave have already been eliminated from bowl contention and a shot at the 2007 Conference USA title, Tulane still has a chance to post its most wins since 2004 and its first .500 season in league play since 2002. With a win Saturday against the Pirates, Tulane would finish the year 5-7 and 4-4 in C-USA play.
"We felt that the Rice game was a nice win for us," Toledo said. "It gave us two wins in a row and that hasn't happened since 2005. We've now won three league games, we're in third place in the Western Division and we've got a good chance to stay there.
"I really believe, and I've (said) this all year, that we've been very competitive and that we've improved each and every week. I honestly believe that. We've gotten better. That's a good sign for a program and it makes a coach feel good about that. That's what you want to do each week - you want to continue to get better."
If Tulane can find a way to knock off East Carolina on Saturday at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, the Wave would finish the year with a three-game winning streak. Since Tulane's 12-0 season in 1998, the Green Wave have won three straight games just five times - twice in 2000, once in 2002, once in 2003 and once in 2004. A 4-4 league record would be the best performance by a Tulane team since the Wave went 4-4 in 2002 en route to earning a bid to the Hawaii Bowl.
Toledo and his team realize, however, that the win total could be much more if a few plays had gone the Green Wave's way. Three of Tulane's losses - a 20-17 overtime loss at Army on Oct. 6, a 26-21 loss at UAB on Oct. 13 and a 28-27 heart-breaker vs. Memphis on Oct. 27 in the Louisiana Superdome - are by a combined nine points.
"I liken it to fishing," Toledo said of Tulane's near misses. "You get a fish on the line and you're reeling it in. All of the sudden, it spits the hook and it's gone forever. You can never get it back. That fish is gone and you've got to go try and get another fish. That will always stick in my mind and I think it'll stick in the mind of a lot of our players. A play here and a play there, we could have obviously been 7-4 right now."
"I got a call from Vince Gibson, who coached here a long time ago, and he said, `Man, I'm proud of you,'" Toledo said. "'You've done things that nobody thought you could do.' He was at a Quarterback Club meeting the other day and J.T. Curtis (of John Curtis Christian School) was there. We were talking with the coaches in the area about how they like what we're doing.
"We've made an effort to reach out to them. I like what we're building. I worked hard and we've worked hard to get this going in the right direction. I think the people who know us and have been around us appreciate and respect what we're trying to do. We've got to go out now and recruit hard, get a good class and keep it going."
Saturday's game at East Carolina is slated to kickoff at noon (CST) and will be televised on Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. While the channel is not carried on any local cable services, it is available on DirecTV Channel 626 and Dish Network Channel 432.
The game will be broadcast on the Tulane ISP Sports Network (local station, WIST AM 690) and live audio is available via the internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com to registered members of the All-Access Pass. Live stats are also available free of charge on the official website of Tulane Athletics.