Tulane Game Notes: Green Wave faces Tulsa for Homecoming

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Tulane football
(Photo: Parker Waters)

-The Green Wave will play host to Tulsa on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 3:00 p.m. CT on ESPNU.
-Tulane’s meeting with Tulsa will mark the Golden Hurricane’s first trip to New Orleans since 2019.
-The Green Wave will look to snap their seven-game losing streak. Tulane also will be in search of its fourth win over Tulsa in its last five tries.
-Tulane has not lost to Tulsa at home since 2015.
-The Green Wave will faceoff against Tulsa for the 18th time in program history. Tulane trails in the all-time series 12-5.
-Tulane will look to bounce back from its 14-12 loss at UCF last week at the Bounce House.

1. Over the past four games, Tulane running back Tyjae Spears has returned to his explosive 2020 form, as he has rushed for a team-best 333 yards (6.3 yards per carry) and scored four touchdowns.
2. Fellow running back Cameron Carroll leads the team in rushing yards with 476 yards. His 70.4 yards per game in conference play ranks fifth in the American Athletic Conference.
3. The Green Wave’s matchup with Cincinnati on Oct. 30 marked the fourth nationally-ranked opponent Tulane has faced this season. Tulane has not played four nationally-ranked opponents in the same season since the 1971 campaign. The Green Wave’s meeting with Cincinnati also marked the second No. 2-ranked team Tulane has faced this season (Oklahoma was the first).
4. Prior to the Green Wave’s trip to ECU, Tulane announced its team captains for the remainder of the year. Linebacker Nick Anderson, offensive lineman Sincere Haynesworth, linebacker Kevin Henry, defensive lineman Jeffery Johnson, quarterback Michael Pratt and linebacker Dorian Williams were all voted as captains by their teammates.
5. Senior Ryan Wright has established himself as one of the top punters in the nation. His 47.8 yards per punt lead the American Athletic Conference and rank sixth nationally. Most recently, Wright was selected as a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award.
6. Tight end Tyrick James has established himself as one of the top tight ends in the American this season. His 380 yards receiving rank second in the AAC among tight ends.
7. Last week against UCF, Pratt had his consecutive touchdown pass streak snapped. For the first time in 18 career games, Pratt failed to throw a touchdown pass. He currently has 36 career touchdown passes and has cracked into the program’s all-time Top 10 in career touchdown passes (he is currently ranked ninth all-time).
8. The Green Wave have surpassed 200 yards rushing in 16 games dating back to the start of the 2019 season. Tulane led the American in rushing yards per game last year, averaging 217.1 per game.
9. Tulane has rushed for 100 yards or more as a team in 71 of its last 74 games. Tulane had its 56-game streak of rushing for at least 100 yards as a team snapped at Houston back on Oct. 8, 2020.
10. Tulane’s special teams rank eighth in the nation in net punting (43.2 yards per game).

• The Golden Hurricane enter their matchup with Tulane after they nearly took down second-ranked Cincinnati on the road. Tulsa fell in the contest 28-20, despite having the ball inside the five-yard line with a chance to tie the game.
• Tulsa has also hung tough with Oklahoma State and Ohio State earlier this fall. The Golden Hurricane fell by just five points to Oklahoma State on the road and was within one score late in the second half against Ohio State.
• Tulsa features an experienced unit, as five players have played in 50 career games.
• The Golden Hurricane also showcases an impressive ground attack, as the team has rushed for 200 yards in five games this season.
• Running back Shamari Brooks is 95 yards shy of moving into fourth place on the school’s all-time career rushing list.
• Quarterback Davis Brin is the 15th different quarterback in school history to reach 2,000-plus yards passing in a single season.
• Head coach Philip Montgomery is in his seventh year on the sidelines for the Golden Hurricane.
• The Golden Hurricane was picked to finish sixth in the American Athletic Conference 2021 Preseason Poll.

• In just 18 career appearances, quarterback Michael Pratt has quickly made a name for himself in the college football landscape.
• Pratt has thrown for over 3,000 yards and has 36 touchdown passes in his career.
• His 16 touchdowns this season rank fifth in The American and 30th nationally.
• Pratt also ranks seventh in the American in passing yards (1,745).
• The Florida native has thrown for multiple touchdown passes in 14 career games.
• Pratt has passed for over 200 yards in nine career games.
• Pratt also has proven to be a force in the running game, as he has rushed and passed for a touchdown in nine career games.
• Against UAB, Pratt threw his first interception of the year in the third quarter against the Blazers. Prior to his interception, Pratt had gone 96 attempts without throwing an interception.
• Pratt currently has thrown 80 passes without an interception.

• Tulane kicker Merek Glover needs just eight points to pass Seth Marler to become the school’s all-time leading scorer.
• Marler has held the all-time scoring record since 2002.
• Glover currently has 326 points in his kicking career.
• Glover also ranks in the Top 10 in field goals made (43), PATS made (197), PATS attempted (202) and PAT percentage (.975).
• Glover originally joined the team as a walk-on back in 2017 and was later put on scholarship in 2019.

• The Green Wave’s schedule included non-conference matchups against Oklahoma (Sept. 4), Morgan State (Sept. 11), Ole Miss (Sept. 17) and UAB (Sept. 25). Tulane also welcomes league opponents Houston (Oct. 7), Cincinnati (Oct. 30), Tulsa (Nov. 13) and USF (Nov. 20).
• Tulane’s 2021 schedule is currently tied for the sixth toughest schedule among teams from the FBS. The combined record of Tulane’s 2021 opponents is 68-40.
• Tulane’s matchup with Cincinnati marked the fourth nationally-ranked opponent the Green Wave have faced this season.
• The Green Wave have not faced four nationally-ranked opponents in the same season since the 1971 campaign.

• Tulane has continued its trend of putting pressure on the opposing offense.
• On Sept. 11 versus Morgan State, Tulane tallied 6.0 sacks and 10.0 tackles for loss.
• Against Ole Miss, the Green Wave registered 8.0 tackles for loss.
• Against UAB, Tulane 8.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks.
• Last week against UCF, Tulane held the Knights to their fewest yards they have gained all year.
• The Green Wave finished the 2020 campaign first in the American Athletic Conference as a team with 36.0 sacks.
• The Green Wave defense held strong up front all of last season. The unit ranked fifth in FBS and first in the AAC in tackles for loss per game at 8.5.
• Tulane’s defensive attack pushed opposing offenses back 405 yards.
• The Olive and Blue recorded 101 tackles for loss last season, which ranked third nationally.
• The Green Wave also ranked third in the league and 31st nationally in interceptions, finishing with 12.
• Tulane ranked third in The American and 26th nationally in passes defended with 63.
• The Green Wave defense held the line of scrimmage all season in 2020. Tulane logged 10 or more tackles for loss in a single game four times last season.

• Sophomore Dorian Williams was named to the preseason watch lists for the Bednarik and Lombardi Awards.
• In the 2021 opener at Oklahoma, Williams tallied eight tackles which tied for the team lead.
• Against UAB, led the team with seven tackles.
• Against SMU, Williams posted seven stops.
• Williams stepped up on the defensive side of the ball for the Green Wave in 2020. He has finished first or second on the team in tackles on nine occasions last season.
• Williams led the Green Wave with 98 total tackles and 16.5 tackles for loss.

• Senior Ryan Wright has made a habit of booming punts throughout his career with the Green Wave.
• Most recently, Wright was selected as a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award.
• He currently leads the American Athletic Conference and ranks sixth nationally, averaging 47.8 yards per punt.
• Throughout his career has totaled over 8,000 punt yards (8,301). He is one of only five Tulane players to surpass 8,000 career punt yards in program history.
• In Wright’s first game of the 2021 campaign, he averaged 49.7 yards per punt and against Oklahoma.
• Against Morgan State, Wright’s lone punt traveled 68 yards.
• In Tulane’s trip to Ole Miss, Wright averaged 45.8 yards per punt and dropped two punts inside the 20-yard line.
• Following his performance at Ole Miss, he was named to the Ray’s 8 List – an honor that the Ray Guy Award bestows on the Top 8 punters of the week.
• Wright has posted an average of 46.2 yards per punt against UAB and ECU.
• Against SMU, Wright had three punts for 161 yards (53.7 average).
• Last week at UCF, Wright averaged 48.3 yards per punt and drilled a season-best 69-yard punt.
• In 2020, Wright finished the regular season as one of 14 punters that surpassed 2,000 punting yards.
• Following the 2020 campaign, Wright earned All-AAC First Team honors.
• Prior to the 2021 campaign, Wright was selected to the preseason watch list for the Ray Guy Award.

MEET THE PRESS: Fritz Previews Tulsa at Weekly News Conference

Listed below is the complete transcript from Green Wave football head coach Willie Fritz’s weekly press conference leading up to Tulane’s matchup vs. Tulsa on Saturday.

How was the mood at practice today?
“It was alright. Some guys were good, some guys were bad, but it’s always that way. We have to get ready for Tulsa, they’re a very physical team with a huge offensive line. They’ve been running the ball very well. Defensively, they have a different defense than we have played – a three man front and basically four safeties on the back end. They do a good job of disguising who is coming down and getting in the box and getting depth. It’s a unique defense.”

On Tulsa’s schedule…
“Yeah, it’s been a tough schedule. They’ve played some good teams without question. They played against both Ohio State and Oklahoma State well.”

Do you feel like you’re close?
“Yeah, last week I felt we played well, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. We missed a couple of key conversions that would’ve helped us out on offense. The punt block was a big play and that kind of hurt us on field position for the rest of the game. There were some opportunities to win and we did a good job of hanging on to the football offensively and I thought we tackled and stayed over the top for the most part. We didn’t allow too many big plays defensively.”

Darius Hodges hadn’t played a ton going into this season, how do you feel he has progressed?
“We had some good players at those positions last year and he didn’t get to play much, but he backed up and learned from them. He’s a big guy and has movement and good pass rushing skills. I think he’s picking the game up. He’s never really played in a space like that before, sometimes in his position you have to play with space and he’s having to do that. He’s getting better every week.”

How encouraging is it that you’ve got him around for a while?
“Yeah, we have a bunch of guys. Him, Angelo (Anderson), Armoni Dixon has done some things. I think Michael Lunz has a chance to be a really good player. Keith Cooper is another true freshman who is playing quite a bit for us, so we have a bunch of guys who are younger.”

Ygenio Booker hasn’t played the last couple games, is there a chance he’ll be back this week?
“We’re hoping so. He’s banged up right now and getting better everyday. We’re hoping he gets better for Saturday.”

Michael Pratt seems tough, it seems like he gets up from those hard hits?
“Yeah, he is very competitive. We’re a better team when he’s playing. Touchdowns, first downs, getting down, we’re working with him on all that. But he’s a competitive guy. If there’s six yards to get he’s going to try and get six. Sometimes he may just get five, but he’s learning.”

You held UCF to 100 yards below it’s previous season low, how encouraging is that?
“It was good, we’ve been wanting to play better and I think the last two weeks we have played better on defense. We have to continue that ascent.”

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