Both teams enter Saturday's ballgame with 0-1 records as Tulane dropped a 38-17 decision to Mississippi State last week in the Dome. The game will be broadcast in the New Orleans area on WIST AM 690 and on the eight-station Tulane ISP Sports Network.
Tailgating outside the Superdome begins about 3 p.m, with the Tulane team arriving and walking through the tail gate area at about that time.
In last week's game against the Bulldogs, the Tulane offense got off to a good start by racking up 166 yards in the first quarter and went into the locker room at halftime with the score tied at 17. In the second half, however, the 'Dogs took control of the lne of scrimmage limiting the Green Wave, to just 16 plays in the half. Tulane failed to get a first down in the second half and managed only minus-5 yards in total offense.
Tulane quarterback Scott Elliott, a junior, completed 15-of-26 passes for 197 yards, a touchdown and one interception. Elliott is recovering from an ankle sprain suffered on the first play of the Mississippi State game. Elliott participated in late week practices and was said to be nearly 100%.
Soph Anthony Scelfo is waiting in the wings if Elliott can't go or isn't effective.
The number three quarterback, redshirt freshman Kevin Moore, could also see action.
Senior running back Matt Forté led the Tulane ground game with 47 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries while hauling in a team-best six passes for another 49 yards through the air. Sophomore wideout Jeremy Williams led all Greenie receivers with 85 yards on four catches.
Tulane's defensive effort was led by junior linebacker James Dillard, who made a career-high 16 tackles while the defense sacked State quarterback Michael Henig twice, posted six tackles for loss, and forced a pair of turnovers.
The Cougars come into the game after a 48-27 loss in their opener at Oregon Sept. 1. The Cougar were led by senior running back Anthony Alridge, who rushed for 205 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Alridge added 88 receiving yards and a 32-yard kickoff return to finish with 325 all-purpose yards.
Houston won the C-USA championship in 2006.
U of H employs a two-quarterback system, with both QB's seeing their first collegiate action against the Ducks. Redshirt freshman quarterback Case Keenum threw for 179 yards on 14-of-27 passing with a touchdown, while sophomore Blake Joseph, made his first collegiate start, and accounted for 51 yards on 8-of-12 passing.
Both quarterbacks have good mobility and are threats to run with the ball.
The Cougars were off last weekend.
For Tulane to win the ball game, Forte has to have a better game than he did aganst State, when he was involved in three fumbles, with two of them leading to Bulldog touchdowns; Elliott has to step up his game and the offensive and defensive lines have to play four quarters of better football than what thy played against Mississippi State.
Houston is probably about even in talent with State but runs a more wide-open offense.
One of the key factors in tonight's game is the availability of the Green Wave's best defensive lineman, senior Frank Morton, who has been hampered by a high ankle sprain. Morton played on a limited basis against State.
Football conventional wisdom suggests that teams show the most improvement from game one to game two. If the CW holds up Saturday both teams will be improved over their openers. The Green Wave will have it's work cut out for it if it's to post a win.