Tulane-LSU To Meet For The 95th Time Saturday

The victor is awarded the 'Rag', a satin banner commemorating the historic series, which has included games that ended in riots. The 'Rag' was created by leaders of the two student bodies to channel their energy into less violent paths after a game in the late '30's ended in a mass fight in the sugar cane fields then surrounding Tiger Stadium.

The Tulane Green Wave football team visits arch-rival LSU Saturday evening at 7 p.m. for the 95th game in a rivalry that dates back to 1893. The teams played every year from 1919 to 1994, but last played in 2001. This is the third football contest between the two schools since the '94 season. The teams also played in 1996.

Saturday's contest marks the first of a 10-year, home-and-home deal that guarantees the two teams will meet every year until at least 2015.

The victor is awarded 'The Rag', a satin banner commemorating the historic series, which has included several games that ended in brawls.

Created by leaders of the two student bodies to channel energy into less violent paths after the 1938 game ended in a bloody fight that started on the playing field and spilled out into the sugar cane fields then surrounding Tiger Stadium, 'The Rag' is a symbol of college football in Louisiana.

The 1938 riot, in which the numerous participants beat each other wth frozen cane stalks, ended the game prematurely and only ended with sundown.

According to Tuane sources the original 'Rag' seems to have been lost between LSU's victory in 1980 and Tulane's victory in 1981, although LSU sources claim that the 'Rag' was delivered to Tulane after the Greenie's 1981 victory and was then destroyed in a fire in the Tulane student center prior to the 1982 game. Tulane sources deny the fire explanation.

A replacement 'Rag' was created for the 2001 game.

Tulane, 1-1 and 0-1 in Conference USA, has not won in the series since a dramatic 31-28 upset win over the Tigers in 1982. LSU, 2-1 and 0-1 in the SEC, has won 14 straight in the series. LSU, ranked No. 10 nationally at game time, holds a 64-23-7 edge in the series according to Tulane's record books, however the Tigers claim a 65-22-7 series record.

Tonight's game in Tiger Stadium marks the last of 14 straight road games for Tulane, which has been unable to play on their home field, the Louisiana Superdome, since the final game of the 2004 season. After Saturday's game, Tulane will have played 14 games in 13 different stadiums since they last played in the Louisiana Superdome.

It's 14 games in 13 stadiums because, oddly enough, one of Tulane's 'home' games in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina led to the near-complete evacuation of New Orleans and left the Superdome unplayable, was played in Tiger Stadium. Tulane's game with Southeastern Louisiana was relocated to Tiger Stadium, the first time the Green Wave has played an opponent other than LSU in Tiger Stadium. Tulane won that game 28-21.

LSU lost their first game of the season last weekend when the Tigers visited Auburn and dropped a controversial 7-3 decision to the Plainsmen in a game marked by a large number of disputed calls.

The Tigers opened the seasons with identical 45-3 home victories over Louisiana-Lafayette and Arizona. Both games were played in the storied confines of Tiger Stadium.

LSU brings the nation's top defensive unit into the contest against the Greenies, with the Tigers ranked No. 1 in the country in total defense, allowing only 170.0 yards per game; No. 2 nationally in pass defense, allowing 96.67 yards per game, and No. 3 in scoring defense, allowing 4.33 points per game). LSU's defense has surrendered only one touchdown this year.

Offensively, LSU is led by quarterback Jamarcus Russel, who has completed 46 of 72 passes for 718 yards and five touchdowns. His favorite target has been New Orleanian Craig Davis, who has caught 13 passes for 207 yards. Dwayne Bowe virtually equals Davis with 209 yards on 11 receptions, and freshman Early Doucet has grabbed nine passes for 165 yards.

LSU's rushing attack is led by Alley Broussard with 92 yards on 26 carries, Charles Scott with 86 yards on 9 carries, Jacob Hester with 70 yards on 19 carries, and Justin Vincent with 68 yards on 22 carries. Broussard and Hester have scored 2 touchdowns on the ground each for the Tigers.

) Tulane rebounded last weekend from a season opening 45-7 loss to the Houston Cougars by defeating SEC-member Mississippi State 32-29.

The Green Wave is led by quarterback Lester Ricard, who transferred to Tulane from LSU at the beginning of the 2003 season. Ricard, a graduate of Amite Huigh School, has played in 21 games since taking over at quarterback for the Green Wave at the beginning of the2004 season. Since then Ricard has started 19 games, throwing for more than 4,200 yards and 42 touchdowns, but has also thrown 22 career interceptions. A lackluster effort in the season opening debacle against the Houston Cougars led to Ricard's replacement by backup Scott Elliott, but Lester rebounded with a four-touchdown effort last weekend against the Bulldogs.

The Tulane rushing attack is led by Matt Forte, a 220-pound junior running back from Slidell. Forte has gained 190 yards on 41 carries and scored a touchdown in 2006, and has now totalled 1,468 career rushing yards. Forte also leads the Green Wave in receiving with 6 catches for 74 yards and a touchdown.

Three wide receivers - two seniors and a redshirt freshmen - have also figured large as Ricard's targets in the Green Wave passing game so far this season. The seniors are Damarcus Davis, who's managed 4 catches for 90 yards and a touchdown; and Preston Brown, who has grabbed 4 catches for 32 yards.

Redshirt freshmen Jeremy Williams, a graduate of Sterling High School in the Houston, Texas area, has emerged as a major contributor in the Wave passing attack. Williams has grabbed 4 passes for 43 yards.

Tulane's defensive coordinator, Eric Schuman, will look to senior linebacker Terrence Peterson for leadership on a young defensive unit that relies on numerous freshmen and sophomores. Peterson has made 10 tackles through the first two games.

The Green Wave's leading tacklers, safety Joe Goosby and cornerback Israel Route, have 12 tackles each.

Regular middle linebacker Jordan Ellis, a sophomore, will miss his second straight game because of a leg injury after making 11 tackles in the opener. Ellis will be replaced by sophomore Evan Lee and redshirt freshman James McMurchy.

Route's running mate at cornerback, Jeremy Foreman, has made 9 tackles. Both Route and Foreman have grabbed interceptions. Both are seniors.

The Green Wave's starting free safety, Louis Thomas, is credited with 8 tackles.

Davis Skehan is listed as the starter at strong safety over Goosby. Skehan has made 7 tackles.

Tulane will return to the Superdome Sept. 30 for their first home contest since 2004 when the Green Wave takes on SMU in a contest scheduled to kick off at 6:30 p.m.

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