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Tulane opens C-USA slate on Thursday at Louisiana Tech

Green Wave/Bulldogs contest to be televised live nationally on Fox Sports 1; kickoff slated for 6:30 pm

NEW ORLEANS – The Tulane University football team will open the Conference USA portion of its 2013 schedule on Thursday, Sept. 12, when the Green Wave travel to Ruston, La., to face league newcomer Louisiana Tech at Joe Aillet Stadium. The game, which is slated to kick off at 6:30 p.m., will be televised live nationally on Fox Sports 1.

The Wave are 5-12 all-time in C-USA openers, including a 4-5 mark when opening the conference slate on the road. Tulane has a bit of history on its side as the squad is a perfect 7-0 against the Bulldogs, including a 63-30 decision in the 1998 regular-season finale when the squad finished the year with a 12-0 mark. Second-year head coach Curtis Johnson, however, was quick to discount the all-time series record and said his team had to be ready to play when the whistle blows for the opening kickoff.

“I don’t think you worry about history too much,” Johnson said. “The last time we played, some of these kids probably weren’t even playing football yet. Some of them probably weren’t born. The team that is going to win this game is the team who can handle this Thursday game the best.

“I told that to the team. I really think that. If we can go up there and handle this like business as usual, we can handle it like ‘Hey, we’re on the road, we just have to play, it’s us against the world,’ we’ll win the game. If they handle it better, they’ll beat us.”

In addition to the television coverage, Thursday’s game will be broadcast on the flagship station of Tulane Football, WMTI 106.1 FM “The Ticket”, and live audio will be available on the web at www.TulaneGreenWave.com to paid members of the All-Access Pass. Live stats are also available on the Internet via GameTracker.

Tulane heads to Ruston 1-1 on the year and looking to bounce back from a 41-39 loss to South Alabama. As a team, the Green Wave are averaging 340.0 yards per game offensively (101.5 rushing, 238.5 passing) while giving up 410.5 yards per contest on defense (140.0 rushing, 270.5 passing).

Junior Nick Montana leads the Green Wave passing attack, completing 35-of-61 tosses for 471 yards and five touchdowns. His favorite target to date has been senior wideout Ryan Grant, who has 17 catches for 269 yards and a pair of scoring receptions. Junior running back Rob Kelley and sophomore tight end Sydie London are tied for second on the squad with four catches each.

Senior tailback Orleans Darkwa headlines the ground game, running 23 times for 82 yards and four touchdowns, and Kelley is next with 53 yards on 12 totes.

Defensively, Tulane has three sacks among 15 tackles for loss and forced nine turnovers with six interceptions and three fumble recoveries. Junior safety Sam Scofield leads the unit with 19 tackles (15 solo, 4 assists) while senior linebacker Dominique Robertson (12 solo, 2 assists) and sophomore safety Darion Monroe (9 solo, 3 assists) follow with 14 and 12 stops, respectively.

Senior defensive lineman Julius Warmsley paces the squad with 3.0 tackles for loss and shares the team lead in sacks with Robertson and junior defensive end Tyler Gilbert at 1.0 apiece. Monroe, senior nickelback Derrick Strozier and senior cornerback Jordan Sullen each have a team-best two pass break-ups.

Louisiana Tech, meanwhile, enters Thursday’s ballgame 1-1 on the young season and fresh off a 27-14 win over Lamar last Saturday at home. As a team, the Bulldogs are averaging 380.0 yards of total offense per game (208.0 rushing, 172.0 passing) while giving up an average of 452.0 per contest on defense (288.5 rushing, 288.5 passing).

Scotty Young is the field general for Louisiana Tech, completing 37-of-59 passes for 344 yards and a pair of touchdowns and has connected with 11 different receivers to date. Sterlin Griffin paces the Bulldogs’ aerial attack with eight receptions for 77 yards while Andrew Guillot and D.J. Banks are tied for second with five grabs each. Tevin King and Kenneth Dixon headline the team’s ground game, churning out 201 yards on 27 carries and 159 yards on 26 opportunities, respectively.

The Louisiana Tech defense has seven sacks among 18 tackles for loss and forced three turnovers with a pair of interceptions and a fumble recovery. Kentrell Brice leads the team with 20 tackles (12 solo, 8 assists) with Thomas McDonald ranking second with 16 stops (7 solo, 9 assists) and the duo of Mitch Villemez and Daniel Bocc tying for third with 13 tackles apiece. Cobb paces the unit with 6.0 tackles for loss, IK Enemkpali has as team-best 2.0 sacks, and Le’Vander Liggons leads the secondary with three pass break-ups.

The game at Tech is the first of three straight road games for the Green Wave, who will play at Syracuse on Sept. 21 and at ULM on Sept. 28 before returning to the Superdome on Oct. 5 when the Wave play host to North Texas for Homecoming 2013.

For tickets to the Tulane/North Texas game, as well as future Green Wave events, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office. The Ticket Office is located on the first floor of the Wilson Center on Ben Weiner Drive, and tickets can be purchased in person weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., over the phone at 504-861-WAVE (9283) or via the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.