Texas Vs. Tulane: Things You Need to Know

There are a few things you need to know before heading for New Orleans this weekend:

1) YouÕd be crazy to sample more than a spoonful of the locally famous Insanity Sauce (friends, this stuff ainÕt made in New York City, either).

2) Those jaunty tunes with the virtually indecipherable lyrics heard on the AM-radio station between Lafayette and New Orleans? ThatÕs not Tejano.

3) The host city is pronounced NawÕlins; the host university is pronounced Too-lane (as distinct from a three-lane highway).

4) Refer to the beignets at Cafe Du Monde as doughnuts. (DonÕt put Insanity Sauce on them, either).

5) No matter how many hurricanes you polish off at Pat OÕBrienÕs, do not wrestle the Bourbon Street Queen in the French Quarter. (Like the Tic-Tac-Toe-playing chicken at the State Fair, she wins every time).

6) One Hurricane hit Thursday; another -- LB Derrick Johnson -- should be hitting by mid-Saturday afternoon.

7) Despite the tight-lips surrounding SE Roy Williams hamstring injury, the nationÕs best receiver will almost certainly not play this Saturday against Too-lane. It wonÕt matter. At least not this week.

TexasÕ sporadic series with Tulane (2-2) was launched in Ô94 (that would be 1894, sports fans) and is just about the most lopsided series youÕll find anywhere. The Green Wave has managed just one win and one tie in 17 contests. This yearÕs 2:30 p.m. kick-off (it will be part of ESPN Gameplan package available nationwide) will mark the first time the squads have met since 1965, but the first in New Orleans since 1963. It will be the first time Texas has faced Tulane in the Louisiana Superdome, where its record is 71-85 since it started calling the building home in 1975. The school is 22-10 in the Superdome during the past five years.

TulaneÕs lone win in the series came in 1908 when it did the dirty deed in Austin, 28-15. (Revenge, it seems, will not be a factor.) The teams tied 10-10 the following year, but it has been all Texas in the post-war era (that would be post-Spanish-American War). Nine of UT's wins have been shutouts, including each of the last three in 1963-65.

In his fourth full season, Tulane head coach Chris Scelfo has a career record of 15-24.

"Chris Scelfo has done a good job at Tulane," Mack Brown said. "I really think Tulane is a better situation than it was when I was there. They are now in a league (Conference USA) and their academic standards are higher, which helps at Tulane, but also with limited (athletic) scholarships, theyÕre going to be more competitive."

The competition may have to wait until TulaneÕs Oct. 5 date at Louisiana-Monroe. Texas is the highest ranked team to come to the Superdome since second-ranked Florida State posted a 31-13 win over the Green Wave in September 1990. The WaveÕs last win over a ranked team came at No. 12 LSU in 1982.

A good omen? The last time Texas played Too-lane in NawÔlins, it went on to win Darrell RoyalÕs first national championship in 1963.


Offensively, Tulane is so young that no one should be surprised if they asked Texas players for their autographs. The Green Wave lists nine new starters on a unit that typically operates out of a four-wide, one-back set. The second team is even wetter behind the ears, consisting of six true freshmen and one redshirt freshman. Tulane is averaging 337.3 ypg (131 rushing, 206.3 passing) and 25.2 points per contest.

The offense is not without its studs.

Junior RB Mewelde Moore owns 14 Tulane records, including the schoolÕs mark for most 100-yard rushing games (14), as well as four Conference USA records. The schoolÕs benchmark for rushing (3,095 yards established in 1949) and for all-purpose yards are well within reach. With little more than two seasons under his belt, Moore has 2,725 total rushing yards and 4,105 all-purpose yards. Last year, Moore became the first player in NCAA Division I-A history to rush for more than 1,250 yards and catch more than 60 catches in a single season. He totaled 114 yards on a career-high 30 carries in a losing effort at East Carolina last weekend. He is averaging 103.5 ypg, and no other Tulane RB or FB comes close to his numbers.

"Moore is a really good football players," Brown said of the Doak Walker Award candidate. "He was third in the country in total offense last year. He is their leading receiver right now (192 yards on 20 receptions in 2002; 1,298 career receiving yards)."

QB J. P. Losman, a 6-3, 215-pound UCLA transfer, is averaging 203.8 passing ypg and is completing 62.2 percent of his attempts (79-of-127). The junior has thrown for five touchdowns and three interceptions in four games.

"He was a (high school) Parade All-American and the third-rated quarterback in the country in a lot of recruiting services," Brown said.

However, Losman and the rest of the Green Wave continues to make the painful transition of adjusting to life without Williams at wide receiver -- their version of Williams, that is.

Preseason All-Conference USA nominee and leading returning receiver Roydell Williams was lost for the season last week after suffering a fracture of the distal tibia in his left leg. Redshirt freshmen Cletus McGee stepped in to the starting spot, after Williams held the role for 16 starts and 97 career catches.

TulaneÕs most heralded player is K/P Seth Marler, last seasonÕs winner of the Lou Groza Award for the nationÕs outstanding place-kicker. The senior has set both the school and conference record for career field goals at 54. He is 8-of-11 in field goals this season, including a 44-yarder against Houston. MarlerÕs 53-yard boot against East Carolina last season is both a personal best and a Conference USA record. He is the teamÕs leading scorer with 35 points this season.

And as far the Green WaveÕs defense?

"Their defense is the best weÕve played this year," Brown said.

Defensive players have scored three of TulaneÕs 11 touchdowns this season after recording four defensive TDs all last season. As a unit, thatÕs about as good as it gets.

The Wave is giving up nearly 382 ypg total defense and most of it is on the ground (205.5). ItÕs run defense is the 105th best (or should we say ÔworstÕ) in the nation. (RB Cedric Benson could get those 160 yards on less than 37 carries this week).

Statistically, the only phase of the Green Wave defense ranked in the nationÕs top 20 is its pass efficiency defense. ItÕs rating of 93.26 is good for No. 16 nationally, thanks largely to the efforts of CB Lynaris Elpheage. The junior ranks second in the nation, a spot he shares with FS Dakarai Pearson, with his four interceptions in four games. He ranks second on the team in all-purpose yards, averaging 71.2 ypg on punt and kickoff returns.

Freshman WLB Anthony Cannon leads the team in tackles with 36 (20 solo) and has forced a fumble.

The defense is giving up just under 24 points-per-game and hereÕs the good news for the Longhorn offense: Tulane surrenders more points (30) in the third quarter than at any other time during the game.


For the second consecutive Longhorn road trip, the venue is a place where Mack Brown used to pick up his paycheck. Brown paced the Tulane sidelines from 1985-1987, helping transform a one-win unit his first season into a 6-6 Independence Bowl squad during his final year. But donÕt expect the head coach to receive the same type of, a-hem, warm welcome that greeted him at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill. The Superdome should actually have more Burnt Orange than Green Wave in it Saturday and, besides, BrownÕs 1993 and 1994 UNC teams tallied wins against his former program.

"I am a Tulane fan and every time they win, I feel a sense of pride for our time there," Brown wrote of his three-year stint in the Crescent City. But there were some astonishingly lean moments there that had little to do the teamÕs early struggles.

"I was there for about two-and-one-half months when they dropped the basketball program (as a result of a point-shaving scandal)," Brown recalled this week. "It was the first day of (football) spring practice and I was told 10 minutes before the press conference. It was an absolute mess. All the media was going around asking the kids if they were also going to drop football. I was appalled, and it was overwhelming to them (football players)."

TulaneÕs athletic director resigned within one week of the scandal and the 33 year-old Brown was named his successor. Meanwhile, 41 of BrownÕs 59 football players were on academic probation. It was his job to build a team and promote the program in a state obsessed with LSU and in a city where college football is a hard sell.

"The problems of the city with football are that there is so much competition for the entertainment dollar, to start with," Brown said, "and then you add a pro franchise, high school football and college football. Where are people going to spend their dollars? And then you add in the fact that (Tulane is) a small, private school with their alums scattered all over the country. WeÕve got enough people in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio to fill our stands. ItÕs tougher for Tulane, which is why they have to upgrade their schedule and they play people who will bring people."


Upon BrownÕs recommendation, offensive coordinator Greg Davis succeeded him at Tulane for four seasons. Now, DavisÕ son (Greg Davis, Jr.) is the Green Wave running backs coach.

And all RG Beau Baker has to do to see eye-to-eye with his younger brother Blake Baker this Saturday is glance across the line of scrimmage. The younger Baker has started three of four games this season as the WaveÕs middle linebacker, registering 13 tackles and sharing the team lead in sacks with 2.5. The Tulane sophomore gives up two years, seven inches and 60 pounds to his big brother, who weighs in at 6-5, 280.

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