Sophomore Josh Rounds and the Green Wave will conclude the home portion of its 2013 schedule on Saturday against UTEP.
Nov. 22, 2013
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New Orleans - The Tulane football team returns home from a two-game road swing for a historic regular season home finale against UTEP at 2:30 p.m. this Saturday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Saturday's match-up not only marks the final home game of the regular season for the Green Wave (6-4, 4-2 C-USA) but will also serve as Tulane's 219th and final game at the Superdome. TU will move back to campus to the new state-of-the-art Yulman Stadium in 2014.
The Superdome has been the home of Tulane football since the facility opened in 1975. The lone season the Wave did not play in the Superdome was in 2005, when the facility was damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
To commemorate the Green Wave's 38 seasons in the Superdome, Tulane will unveil the `All-Dome Team" at halftime, and Tulane Athletics invites all former Green Wave football players who played in the Superdome down to the field for a group photo following the conclusion of the game.
The Tulane-UTEP game will be broadcast live on Cox Sports Television (CST) and will also feature a tape-delayed broadcast on WHNO-TV 20 on Sunday, Nov. 24 at Noon.
Saturday's contest will also be broadcast live on the flagship radio station or Green Wave football - WMTI 106.1 FM "The Ticket" - and audio/video streaming will be available on the web at TulaneGreenWave.com to paid members of the All-Access Pass. Live game stats are also available on-line for free via GameTracker.
Saturday will be the final home game for 19 seniors: Taylor Bullock, Orleans Darkwa, Chris Davenport, Kyle Davis, Zach Davis, Jonathan Ginsburgh, Ryan Grant, Mike Henry, Rio Mares, Zach Morgan, L.J. Parker, Jeremy Peeples, Dominique Robertson, Cairo Santos, Adam Skidmore, Derrick Strozier, Jordan Sullen, Devon Walker and Julius Warmsley.
"Playing in the Superdome is outstanding," Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson said. "I don't think there are many college programs that play in a venue that is that well-known and prestigious. I love playing there. It's one of the classiest places you can play. These seniors, I think it's very important that they go out feeling good about themselves, feeling good about this program and feeling good about where they played. They played all of their home games there, except for maybe one. In 10 or twenty years from now, they will remember the Superdome as their home venue. I think it is very important that these guys feel that this is the end of this era, and I think they want to go out with a bang."
Tulane will look to pick up its seventh win of the year, which would be the most in one season since the Green Wave completed the 2002 campaign with an 8-5 record. TU will attempt to post its fifth league win, which would be the most since finishing 6-0 and capturing the 1998 C-USA title.
As a team, Tulane enters the UTEP contest averaging 304.5 yards of total offense per game (123.4 rushing, 181.1 passing) while giving up an average of 369.5 yards on defense (125.7 rushing, 243.8 passing). Senior tailback Orleans Darkwa leads a balanced ground attack with 617 yards and eight touchdowns on 141 carries while junior fullback Rob Kelley is close behind with 409 yards and two scores on 88 totes.
Junior quarterback Nick Montana leads the Green Wave with 1,386 passing yards and 10 touchdowns after completing 127-of-238 tosses in eight starts. Redshirt-freshman Devin Powell who started for an injured Montana in two games this season, has thrown for 424 yards and four scores on 46-of-83 passing.
Senior wide receiver Ryan Grant leads the aerial attack with 60 catches for 777 yards and seven touchdowns. Junior wideout Justyn Shackleford is next with 33 grabs for 350 yards and five scores, while fellow junior receiver Xavier Rush has 182 yards and a touchdown on 16 receptions.
Defensively, Tulane has 25 sacks among 83 tackles for loss while forcing 28 turnovers courtesy of 16 interceptions and 12 fumble recoveries. Junior strong safety Sam Scofield leads the team with 82 tackles 58 solo, 24 assists. Sophomore free safety Darion Monroe is next with 69 stops (46 solo, 23 assists)
Senior defensive tackle Julius Warmsley paces the unit with 12.5 tackles for loss while sophomore defensive end Royce LaFrance leads the team in sacks with 5.0. Sophomore defensive back Jordan Batiste has a team-best four forced fumbles, sophomore cornerback Lorenzo Doss has six interceptions and senior nickelback Derrick Strozier leads all players with 12 pass break-ups.
UTEP (2-8, 1-5 C-USA) snapped a seven-game skid with a 33-10 victory at home last week against Conference USA newcomer FIU. The Miners only other win this season came at New Mexico State, 42-21, in the second game of the season on Sept. 14. Since winning on the road at NMSU, UTEP has dropped its last four road outings and is 1-4 away from home this season.
Quarterback Mack Leftwich has started UTEP's last two contests in place of injured starter Jameill Showers and has completed 17-of-27 pass attempts (.630) for 208 yards and two touchdowns with just one interception.
The running game has been spearheaded by Aaron Jones, who leads the team with 811 yards on 155 attempts (5.2 avg.) and four touchdowns. Nathan Jeffrey ranks second on the club with 345 yards on 99 attempts (3.5 avg.) and three scores.
Jordan Leslie leads the UTEP receiving corps with 38 receptions for 599 yards and seven touchdowns, while Ian Hamilton and Eric Tomlinson are each tied for second with 22 apiece.
Defensively, Devin Cockrell paces the Miners with 65 tackles (34 solo), while James Davidson has a team-best 4.0 sacks.
Saturday's game marks the ninth all-time meeting between Tulane and UTEP and the Miners lead the series, 5-3, but the Green Wave owns a 2-1 record against UTEP the Superdome.
Tulane has hosted UTEP twice on Senior Day since the school's first met in 2005 and the Green Wave is 2-0 in those match-ups. Tulane downed the Miners in the final home game of the 2007 campaign, 34-19, and then came from behind to top UTEP in 2009 in a 45-38 overtime thriller.
Both teams have traded back-to-back wins over the last four meetings. Tulane won the 2009 and 2010 contests, while UTEP claimed the 2011 and 2012 games. UTEP seized control of the series with a decisive 44-7 win over the Green Wave in New Orleans in 2011 and won in El Paso a year ago, 24-20.
These two schools first met in 2005 when UTEP became a Conference USA member. The first-ever game was played on Oct. 14, 2005 in Ruston, La., and UTEP claimed a 45-21 win. The game was moved from New Orleans due to extensive damage to the city from Hurricane Katrina.
A familiar face to both Tulane and UTEP is that of Green Wave offensive coordinator Eric Price, who is in his second season at Tulane, but served previously in the same capacity on the UTEP staff from 2004-07 under his father, Mike, who was the head coach of the Miners from 2004-12.
For tickets to that game, as well as future Green Wave events, contact 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 weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., over the phone at 504-861-WAVE (9283) or via the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.