Hard-nosed Mewelde Moore gave Tulane a very Duce McAllister-like performance in the Hawaii Bowl Wednesday. Unfortunately, for Warrior fans, Moore's efforts proved pivotal in Tulane's tsunami-style comeback.
Moore earned respect of Warriors
By Kalani Takase Staff Writer Thursday, Dec. 26, 2002
HALAWA -– Mewelde Moore scored just one touchdown Saturday afternoon in Tulane's 36-28 win over Hawaii, but his game-high 116 yards on 30 carries was a big reason why the Green Wave gave the Warriors just their fourth loss this year.
"I just give him the ball and he does all the work," said Tulane quarterback J.P. Losman. "I got more respect for him than anybody I had respect for as a man."
Moore's 25-yard scamper came with left in the third quarter but it was a reception by the junior that proved his most crucial touch of the night. Facing a third and 12 situation, Losman aired out a spiral for Moore along the sideline. The running back came down with the reception, good for 28 yards and a first down, prolonging the Green Wave drive. Losman would find the end zone two plays later on a three-yard run of his own. Earlier in the series, Moore hauled in a 15-yard pass from Losman on third and 3, again converting for Tulane.
"It's been real fun, but we came out here to take care of business and we did," said Moore.
A pregame haka by the Warriors did nothing but motivate the Green Wave. "From day one we weren't respected. We felt real disrespected and we just wanted to come and play the game we knew how to play tonight," Moore explained.
Moore, Conference USA's leading rusher, also led the Green Wave in receiving with 80 yards on six catches. It's nothing new to him though; he's both the leading rusher and receiver for Tulane. He finished with 196 total yards in the win. It was the 16th time in his career that Moore surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark, which is a Tulane and Conference USA record.
The success came at a price however, as Moore was visibly exhausted after the contest. "I've seen him take some shots in every game, including this game and it just makes me want to play more," said Losman. "When our offensive lineman see how hard he runs and the shots that he takes, he makes everyone on this team want to harder."
"Twenty-six is a good runner," said La'anui Correa. "He's an all-around good player and we were worried about him coming into the game. He has strong legs and he's hard to take down."
"Every game is hard," answered Moore. "It's tough (football), and you gotta be a man to do it."