Tulane To Face Marshall In Mobile Saturday

Tulane's last visit to the city that claims to have originated Mardi Gras (a dubious proposition on close examination), and really was the capital of Louisiana once upon a time, came in 1959, when Andy Pilney's Green Wave lost to Bear Bryant's Crimson Tide, 19-7.

Tulane will play Marshall University Saturday at 6 p.m. in Ladd-Peebles Stadium, in Mobile, Ala. The Tulane-Marshall game will be broadcast live by College Sports TV.

The Green Wave played numerous games against both the University of Alabama and Auburn University in Mobile in the decades when the Green Wave was a member of the SEC. Tulane's last visit to the city that claims to have originated Mardi Gras (a dubious proposition on close examination) and actually once was the capital of Louisiana, came in 1965, when Tommy O'Boyle's Green Wave lost to Bear Bryant's Crimson Tide, 27-0.

Tulane head coach Chris Scelfo was an assistant coach at Marshall for six years (1990-95), helping the Thundering Herd to four I-AA National Championship game appearances, including a national title in 1992. He was the offensive line coach for his first three years and the offensive coordinator for the final three seasons.

Senior linebacker Anthony Cannon, the leader of the defense, continues to pile up big numbers for the Green Wave. In Friday's loss to UCF, the senior posted 12 tackles, including a season-high 11 solo, to pace the team defensively.

That was the senior's fifth double-figure tackle game of the season and the 20th of his Green Wave career. Cannon, who has registered 100+ tackles in each of his first three seasons, piled up a season-high 14 tackles in the Houston game. The Stone Mountain, Ga., product has 389 career takedowns to rank sixth all-time (three from moving into fifth) for the Green Wave. He has 206 solo stops; while his 183 assists rank third all-time for the Wave.

On the other side of the ball, quarterback Lester Ricard again surpassed 300 yards by completing 27-of- 44 passes for 360 yards, his fifth career 300-yard passing game. Senior Bubba Terranova posted his second straight 100-yard receiving game with six catches for 109 yards, while Preston Brown had three catches for 97 yards, including his fourth TD grab of the season.

Through the first six games of 2005, Tulane's offense has not delivered the consistent production of recent seasons. Through five games, the Green Wave has managed only 17 offensive touchdowns against 14 turnovers. Thirteen of those touchdowns have come courtesy of quarterback Lester Ricard's strong arm. Ricard has thrown seven interceptions this season, four of them coming against UTEP.

In the last two games, quarterback Lester Ricard has completed 56-of-99 passes for 736 yards and six touchdowns. He now has five 300-yard passing days (fourth all-time at Tulane), including three this season. The junior has climbed onto many career leader lists for the Green Wave this season - he now ranks seventh all-time in passing yards (3,450) and touchdowns (34) and eighth in pass attempts (493) and completions (283) at Tulane. Here is a look at the top back-to-back games as far as yardage of the last eight years:
Year Quarterback Com-Att Pct. Yds TDs
2005 Lester Ricard 56-of-99 .566 736 6
2004 Lester Ricard 51-of-80 .638 643 9
2003 J.P. Losman 55-of-81 .679 699 9
2002 J.P. Losman 35-of-58 .603 463 6
2001 Patrick Ramsey 51-of-79 .646 614 4
2000 Patrick Ramsey 55-of-96 .573 740 8
1999 Patrick Ramsey 66-of-98 .673 851 7
1998 Shaun King 44-of-66 .667 705 7

Entering this season, Bubba Terranova had 33 catches for 426 yards and four touchdowns in his career. In the first six games of 2005, the senior has 28 catches for 430 yards and four touchdowns. He has snared TDs in four different games and has also tallied three 100-yard receiving games, the first of his career. On Friday against UCF, the New Orleans native (from Slidell, La., a suburb), had six catches for 109 yards. In the last two games, he has 14 receptions for 212 yards.

Not only is Bubba Terranova posting big numbers in receiving, but the veteran wide receiver is making plays in crucial situations. Of his eight catches in the UTEP game, five were third-down plays and another was a fourth-down conversion. In the UCF game, all six of his catches went for fi rst downs. For the season, Terranova has 13 catches on third down (11 for first downs), including all four of his touchdown receptions. He has 20 first-down receptions total this year.

While the Green Wave has committed nine turnovers in the last three games, the real crusher has been that its opponents have not commited any turnovers in those games. And all three of those opponents had struggled with turnovers the game before the Tulane game:
Opponent Turnovers Before Tulane/Against Tulane
Houston 2 v. Memphis, 0 vs. Tulane
UTEP 6 v. Memphis 0 vs. Tulane
UCF 5 v. USM 0 vs. Tulane
Marshall 1 v. UTEP 0 vs. Tulane

Wide receiver Preston Brown, who had not caught a pass entering this season, has stepped into the role of Tulane's go-to receiver in 2005. The junior has 30 receptions for 426 yards this year to lead the team in both categories. In the Houston game, he snagged a 13-yard Lester Ricard delivery for his first career touchdown and he followed that up with a pair of TD catches against UTEP. Against UCF, he added three receptions for 97 yards, including a 44-yard TD fingertip-grab on a perfect route over the middle. He has three 90-yard receiving games this year. The New Jersey product made his debut at wide receiver on Sept.

When Barrett Pepper battled injuries this fall, walk-on freshman Jacob Hartgroves stepped into the place-kicking role and has successfully converted 16-of-17 extra point attempts. His lone miss was a blocked extra-point against Southeastern Louisiana. A three-time academic all-district honoree at Bryan (Texas) High School, Hartgroves also has a pair of field goals this year.

Punter Chris Beckman, a first team all-conference selection in 2004, may have a lower punting average, however, the junior continues to excel at his duties. In the UTEP game, Beckman punted five times for 179 yards (35.8 avg.), however, that number is deceiving as he had punts of 21 and 24 yards which were both downed at the UTEP 10-yard line. This season, Beckman has punted 37 times for 1481 yards (40.0 avg.). The Mississippi product also has a 35-yard punt which was downed at the 11 (SMU) and a 31-yard punt which was fair-caught at the 12 (MSU). Removing his four successful "short" punts from his average boosts him to a solid 41.5 punting average. Ten of his punts have been downed inside the 20 (five inside the 10) while he just has three touchbacks (he had only two in 52 punts all of last season).

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. Th is year, the pair are splitting time in the backfield. In the Houston game, the duo combined for a season-high 150 yards on the ground, while their combined season total now stands at 545 yards (90.8 yards per game). Forte leads the way with 92 carries for 341 yards, while Jackson has 56 attempts for 205 yards.

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