Green Wave Takes On Gulf Coast Offense

For Tulane, recording a win in this game is vital as it would put the Green Wave back on track towards their goal of recording a winning season. After recording an 8-4 season in 2002, including a Hawaii Bowl victory over the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, the injury-plagued Green Wave fell to 5-7 in 2003

Tulane and Florida A&M will meet for the first time Saturday at the Louisiana Superdome. Game time is 6 p.m. Both teams stand 0-1 on the season after losing their openers. Tulane lost 28-7 to Mississippi State, in a game televised nationally on ESPN2. FAMU lost decisively to Illinois, 52-13.

For Tulane, recording a win in this game is vital as it would put the Green Wave back on track towards their goal of recording a winning season. After recording an 8-4 season in 2002, including a Hawaii Bowl victory over the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, the injury-plagued Green Wave fell to 5-7 in 2003.

For FAMU, a victory would be their second all-time victory over a 1A opponent.

A win over FAMU in the home opener is vital to the Green Wave, for whom the schedule features daunting home games against C-USA foes Louisville and Southern Mississippi on the next two weekends.

Tulane will be the second of six (6) Division I-A programs the Rattlers will face this season. FAMU has already faced Big Ten foe Illinois, losing 52-13. After this week's game against the Green Wave, the Rattlers will also face two more established I-A programs in Temple (Sept. 18) and Virginia Tech (Oct. 16), along with divisional newcomers Florida Atlantic (Oct. 30) and Florida International (Nov. 27).

FAMU had applied for Division I-A membership a year ago, but elected to return to Division I-AA this past February, following a more complete study of the financial necessities for the move.

Ineligibilities
Defensive tackle John Edwards, who was slated to miss the first month with a surgically repaired right knee and cornerback Edward Wally Kwaku, will have to sit out the first three games.

Offensive guard Fletcher Williams will have to sit out five (5) games, while the club's receiving leader of a year ago, WR Rod Miller, will miss the first six (6) contests. These penalties were part of the conditions spelled out by the NCAA for the reinstatement of the players 2004 eligibility.

Offense
The Rattlers spread offense, which is referred to by Head Coach Billy Joe, the old AFL fullback, as the 'Gulf Coast Offense' is probably the strength of their team, featuring two veteran quarterbacks and a veteran offensive line. Last week against Illinois, the o'line allowed just two sacks in 55 pass attempts, while pushing the Illini around for two fourth-period scores on long drives (79 and 80 yards).

Against Illinois, FAMU ran the ball 25 times out of 80 snaps and produced 358 yards in total offense. The offense produced 3 turnovers to balance agaainst the two touchdowns.

Both quarterbacks who played against Illinois, starter Ben Dougherty and number two Josh Driscoll posted impressive numbers against the Illini. Dougherty completed his first eight (8) passes and finished 22 of 34 for 144 yards, with two interceptions, one a deflection. Driscoll led the club in rushing with 40 yards on eight carries and a pair of one-yard TD runs in the fourth period. He also hit on 15 of 21 passes for 143 yards.

Fullback Paul Sharpe averaged 5.5 yards per carry against the Illini (33 yards on six carries) but starting running back Rashard Pompey produced only 13 yards on 6 carries.

Junior slot receiver Ronnie Thomas made his FAMU debut (Clemson transfer) with 10 catches for 42 yards, while senior Maurice Demps had five (5) grabs for 38 yards.

Among the other receivers, Aubrey Parrish had 4 catches for 36 yards; Rashard Pompey added 4 catches for 13 yards; Jarvis Myers 3 catches for 59 yards; and Craig Swain 3 catches for 32 yards.

The Rattlers run a spread offense featuring speed:
40-Yard dash times:
4.25 - William Judson, WR
4.41 - Rashard Pompey, RB
4.41 - Paul Sharpe, RB
4.46 - Derek Williams, WR
4.47 - Roosevelt Kiser, WR
4.56 - Albert Chester, QB
4.59 - Greg Arline, RB

Saturday Tulane's young defensive linemen will be matched against some very big people.
The Rattler's starting o'line looks like this:
RT Lenard Black - 6-4 310, So.
RG Tarell Baldwin - 6-4 340, Jr.
C Garth McIntosh - 6-5 350 Jr.
LG 65 Mafileo Vakalaki - 6-2 340 Sr.
LT 78 Daniel Parrish - 6-7 340 So.

Defense
This team surrendered 554 yards of total offense to the Illini, 296 rushing and 254 passing. The defense did not record any sacks. This might be a game in which Tulane's offense can get itself untracked.

Linebacker Michael Foreman (12 tackles), strong safety Sammy Doughty (10 tackles, one for loss) and defensive back Brandy O'Bryan (nine tackles) topped the defensive charts for the Rattlers.

The Rattler's defensive front looks like this.

RE Jeff Green - 6-3 225 Sr.
RT Clarence Laws - 6-4 270 Sr.
LT Steve St. Felix - 6-0 285 Jr.
LE Altariq Brown - 6-1 275 Jr.

Special teams

Former FAMU High star punter Damon Miller averaged 44 yards per kick (51 long) on six tries last Saturday, with one punt downed inside the Illini 20-yard line. Miller's net punting average was 37 yards per punt.

The Rattler return game did not sparkle against Illinois, as 6 kick off returns netted only 105 yards - a 17.5 yards per return average. Although Illinois punted three times, there were no returns by the FAMU punt return team.

Meanwhile, the Fightin' Illini averaged 22.7 yards per return on 3 kick off returns; and averaged 8.4 yards per punt return on 5 returns.

Place kicker Jessie Hartley went 1 for 2 on extra points in the fourth period.

As if college football wasn't enough, the world renowned 300-member Florida A&M University 'Marching 100' Band will be performing at halftime.


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