Nov. 23, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University football team will complete its first season under head coach Curtis Johnson on Saturday, November 24 at 2:30 p.m. with a nationally-televised contest on Fox Sports Net against Conference USA West Division foe Houston at Robertson Stadium.
The Tulane/Houston game will be broadcast on the flagship station of Green Wave athletics, WIST AM 690, and live audio 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."
Tulane comes into Saturday's ballgame 2-9 overall on the year, 2-5 in C-USA play and enters the season finale nursing a three-game skid. The Green Wave will look to post its first road win this season and its first victory in a season finale since 2003 (vs. East Carolina, 28-18). As a team, the Green Wave is averaging 313.2 yards of total offense per game (39.3 rushing, 273.9 passing) while giving up an average of 472.7 (223.1 rushing, 249.6 passing) per outing.
Senior quarterback Ryan Griffin leads the Green Wave into action in his final game. This season, Griffin has thrown for 2,425 yards and 18 touchdowns on 209-of-328 passing (.637) for the year.
Junior wide receiver Ryan Grant leads the squad with 63 catches for 1,041 yards (16.5 avg.) and six touchdowns. Grant ranks first among C-USA players and 16th nationally for receiving yards per game (94.64). 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 281 yards on 80 carries (3.5 avg.), while junior Orleans Darkwa is second with 218 yards on 70 attempts (3.1 avg.), but has a team-best three rushing touchdowns.
Defensively, the Green Wave has 17 sacks among 52 tackles for loss, 35 pass break-ups and 21 forced turnovers with 12 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 in Tulane's last road game at Memphis.
Junior place-kicker Cairo Santos will look to conclude his perfect season at Houston. Santos has his all 20 of his field goal attempts this season and is a finalist for the prestigious Lou Groza Award.
Houston (4-7, 3-4 C-USA) has lost four out of its last five games since putting together a three-game win streak in late September/early October. The Cougars' last win was at home against UTEP (45-35) on Oct. 27. UH is 3-3 at home this season, but fell to Tulsa (41-7) in its last home outing two weeks ago. Houston dropped a 44-41 decision last week at Marshall. Quarterback David Piland ranks second in C-USA for passing yards per game with 292.7. Piland, who has five 300-yard passing games, including a 580-yard effort vs. Louisiana Tech, has completed 57-percent of his attempts on 255-of-447 passing for 2,942 yards and 16 touchdowns with 12 interceptions.
Running back Charles Sims leads the Cougars' rushing attack with 851 yards and 11 touchdowns on 142 attempts (6.0 avg.).
The pass-happy Houston passing attack features six receivers with 337+ yards on the year and a total of nine players average 10+ yards per catch. Leading the receiving corps are Dewayne Peace with a team-best 47 catches for 502 yards and two scores, while Deontay Greenberry is second in catches with 42 for 472 yards and three scores, while Daniel Spencer leads UH with 584 yards on 41 receptions and three touchdowns.
Defensively, Houston has four players with over 100 tackles apiece. Linebacker Phillip Steward leads the team with 120 tackles, including 18.5 stops for lost yardage and 10 sacks, while defensive back Trevon Stewart has 118 tackles and linebacker Derrick Mathews is third with 115 stops, including 17 for loss and 6.0 sacks. Linebacker Everett Daniels is the fourth player to reach the century mark in tackles with 103, including 10.5 for loss and 5.0 sacks.
Saturday's game marks the 18th all-time meeting between Tulane and Houston and the Cougars lead the overall series, 13-4. UH also leads the match-ups on its home field, 7-2.
Tulane will look to snap a nine-game skid against the Cougars that dates back to 2003. The Green Wave's last win in the series came in Houston, 34-13, in 2002. TU's only other win in Houston came in 1997 (44-10).
The Green Wave has concluded its regular season on two different occasions against Houston and is 1-1 in those contests. The first match-up took place in the 1973 Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl in Houston and the Cougars topped the Wave 47-7. The second meeting came during the 1997 season finale in Houston and Tulane tamed the Cougars with a 44-10 decision.
Tulane and Houston have met 15 times as members of Conference USA. The first-ever meeting came in 1968, while the second meeting between the teams was in the 1973 Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl at the Houston Astrodome.
Tickets for this week's final game, 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.