Green Wave Prepping For ESPN Game With Miners

The Miners will be missing their sack leader, senior defensive tackle Chris Mineo, this weekend. He is presumed out for the remainder of the regular season after suffering an ankle injury

Coming off a disappointing losing performance against the University of Houston Cougars Saturday in Lafayette, La., the Tulane Green Wave (2-2, 1-1) will take on the University of Texas-El Paso Miners (3-1, 1-1) this Friday in Ruston. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN.

A small crowd is expected for the 6:06 p.m. kickoff at 30,200-seat Joe Aillet Stadium. And while Tulane has been practicing in Ruston - its home away from home this semester - since Sept. 12, the Green Wave has yet to play a game in its new surroundings

The Miners will be missing their sack leader, senior defensive tackle Chris Mineo, this weekend. He is presumed out for the remainder of the regular season after suffering an ankle injury.

Miner senior wide receiver Chris Francies, who has the nation's third-longest string of games with a reception (37), is doubtful for Friday's game necause of bruised ribs.

Houston defeated the Green Wave 35-14, putting the game away with a dominating third quarter performance by their offense. Houston controlled both sides of the line of scrimmage in the second half in scoring four touchdowns to thwart the Green Wave.

Last season, Matt Forte and Jovon Jackson reach rushed for exactly 624 yards. However, the majority of Forte's yardage came after Jackson suffered an injury. This year, the two are proving to be a formidable tandem. In the Houston game, the duo combined for 150 yards on the ground, lifting their season total to 422 rushing yards (105.5 yards per game). Forte leads the way with 74 carries for 258 yards, while Jackson has rushed 39 times for 164 yards.

Wide receiver Preston Brown, who had not caught a pass in the previoustwo seasons, has stepped into the role of Tulane's go-to receiver in 2005. The big junior has 22 receptions for 240 yards this year to lead the team in both categories.

In the Houston game, Brown snagged a 13-yard Lester Ricard delivery for his first career touchdown. Th e New Jersey product made his debut at wide receiver on Sept. 17 against Mississippi State and corralled Tulane's first reception of the game, a 20-yarder, on the Wave's second possession. He finished that game with nine catches for 117 yards, including a 27-yard reception from punter Chris Beckman on a fake punt. Brown's 117 yard-effort is the 83rd-best in school history.

While junior Barrett Pepper has battled injuries this fall, walk-on freshman Jacob Hartgroves has stepped into the place-kicking role and has successfully converted 10-of-11 extra points. His lone miss was a blocked extra-point against Southeastern Louisiana. A three-time academic all-district honoree at Bryan (Texas) High School, Hartgroves has also made one field goal this year.

Despite giving up a season-high 440 yards (which would have been the sixth-best effort last year) to Houston on Saturday, Tulane's defense remains near the top of the nation in total defense, with 275.25 yards allowed per game, the Green Wave ranks 12th in the country. The Wave is ranked 12th nationally in pass defense at 158.0 yards per game, while its run defense ranks 35th at 117.3 yards per game.

Senior linebacker Anthony Cannon piled up a season-high 14 tackles in Saturday's loss to Houston. The Stone Mountain, Ga., product opened the game wearing his normal #11, but a ripped jersey forced the veteran into #10 for the second half. As a freshman, Cannon wore #36 and led the team with 114 tackles. He now has 18 double-fi gure tackle days in his career. His 366 career takedowns rank eighth all-time (four from moving into sixth) for the Green Wave. He has 193 solo stops; while his 173 assists rank third all-time for the Wave.

With three of its top receivers from last year graduated, Tulane was in the hunt for players to step up in 2005. Thus far, it has not been a problem. Quarterback Lester Ricard has connected with 10 diff erent receivers in the first four games. Junior Preston Brown (zero career catches entering 2005) leads the team with 22 grabs for 240 yards, while senior Bubba Terranova (14-for- 218) and junior Damarcus Davis (15-for-138) have also stepped up their production. Brown and Terranova have both registered their first career 100-yard games this year, while Davis had a career-best seven catches against Southeastern Louisiana.

Here's a comparison of previous year's numbers and this year for Tulane's receivers:

Player Previous Best Year This Year
Preston Brown 0-0 22-240, 1 TD
Damarcus Davis 2002: 21-241, 2 TDs 15-138, 2 TDs
Bubba Terranova 2003: 19-253, 3 TDs 14-218, 3 TDs
Brian King N/A (Freshman) 7-99
Kenneth Guidroz 0-0 5-34
Cary Koch N/A (Freshman) 3-41, 1 TD
Michael Batiste N/A (Freshman) 2-16

The Green Wave has had 22 players see their fi rst career action this year. Offensively, linemen Troy Kropog and Michael Parenton, and receivers Brian King and Cary Koch have seen the most time, while on defense it been cornerback Josh Lumar and linebackers James Dillard and Jordan Ellis hitting the field the most.

True freshman Jacob Hartgroves has handled all place-kicking duties thus far this year. Fourteen true freshmen (Luke Bell, Kirk Bush, Sean Carney, Dillard, Ellis, Ace Foyil, Matt Harding, Charles Harris, Hartgroves, Justin Kessler, King, Koch, Evan Lee, James McMurchy) have seen action, while seven redshirt freshmen (Michael Batiste, Ryan Bewley, Scott Eilliott, Craig Gelhardt, Kropog, Josh Lumar, Parenton, David Skehan) cracked the lineup for the first time. Redshirt freshman defensive lineman Reggie Scott has seen significant action this year, but he played in last year's opener before suffering an injury.

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