Big Plays, Tough 'D' Lead No. 2 Tigers Past Wave, 34-9
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by Chris Macaluso
Special to LSUsports.net
NEW ORLEANS — A first-half offensive malaise that limited LSU to very tenuous 10-9 halftime lead turned into a three-touchdown second-half performance as the heavily favored, No. 2 Tigers eventually throttled past in-state foe Tulane, 34-9, Saturday in front of 58,769 in the Superdome.
The Tigers, who struggled mightily to gain 127 yards in the first half, more than doubled that production in the second half, ultimately amassing 391 yards by the end of the game. LSU’s defense held the Green Wave to just 227 total yards and no points in the second half.
The win moves LSU to 5-0 and sets up a hyper-anticipated showdown next Saturday night against fellow top-5 ranked and Southeastern Conference rival <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>Florida in Tiger Stadium. Tulane’s record fell to 1-3 a week before the Wave travel north to face Army.
LSU trailed briefly in the first half when Tulane recorded a safety on a holding penalty in the endzone with 5:56 remaining and then followed that score with a touchdown 11 plays later with 1:40 remaining in the half to make the score 9-7 Green Wave.
The Tigers were able to regain the lead with 3 seconds remaining in the half on a 36-yard field goal. LSU scored 27 unanswered points starting with that field goal and put the game effectively out of reach late in the third quarter.
Penalties severely limited LSU as flags flew for 15 Tiger infractions costing 91 yards. Tulane’s Achilles heel was turnovers as the Wave lost two fumbles and had one pass intercepted.
Tiger quarterback Matt Flynn struggled early, completing just 8-of-18 passes in the first half for 138 yards while being sacked four times. Flynn recovered a bit in the second half, finishing the contest with 16 completions in 29 attempts for 258 yards and an interception. All four Tiger touchdowns came on the ground with Charles Scott and Jacob Hester each scoring two. Scott led LSU with 53 yards on six carries.
Tulane tailback Matt Forte led all rushers with 74 yards on 16 carries but had one costly fumble. Green Wave quarterback Anthony Scelfo completed 11-of-26 passes for 117 yards and an interception before being replaced in the fourth quarter.
LSU missed on its first scoring chance of the game when Colt David‘s 37-yard field goal attempt with 12:29 to play in the first quarter hit the top of the right upright and bounded to the turf. The Tiger drive was set up when defensive back Jonathan Zenon stripped Green Wave receiver Kenneth Guidroz after an 11-yard third down completion at the Tulane 27. Safety Craig Steltz recovered the fumble but the Tiger offense failed to take advantage of the field position.
But, the Tigers didn’t let that happen again. After holding the Wave to one yard on the ensuing drive, LSU took over at the Tulane 49 and needed just two plays and 41 seconds to score the game’s first points. Flynn connected with Brandon LaFell for 43 yards on first down. Then, after an offsides penalty on the Wave, Jacob Hester plowed into the endzone with 10:56 remaining in the first quarter to give LSU a 7-0 advantage.
LSU’s offense limped and tripped throughout the half as the Tigers were unable to move the ball past their 30-yard line on their next five possessions. That lack of proficiency cost the Tigers two points as a holding penalty in the endzone gave the Wave a safety with 5:56 remaining in the half and cut the Tiger led to 7-2.
Tulane took the lead 11 plays after the free kick and eight plays after Scelfo faced a 3rd-and-14 at his 38. After finding receiver Michael Batiste 20 yards down the field on the 3rd-and-long, Scelfo led the Wave down the field giving tailback Andre’ Anderson a chance to score on a 5-yard end around with 1:40 remaining in the half. The 11-play, 58-yard drive consumed 4:11 and gave the Wave a brief 9-7 lead.
But, to the relief of the confounded partial-to-LSU crowd, the Tigers regained the lead on a 36-yard field goal to close the half. The drive was set up by a 38-yard kickoff return by Trindon Holliday that gave LSU a first down at its 44-yard line. Nine plays later, David added the three pointer and gave LSU a tenuous 10-9 halftime lead.
The Tigers awoke from their offensive slumber somewhat on the first drive of the second half, moving to the Green Wave 10-yard line in nine plays before Flynn was sacked again, this time for a seven-yard loss at the Wave 17. Two plays later, David booted true a 33-yard field goal to stretch the Tiger lead to a still shaky 13-9 with 8:51 remaining in the third quarter.
Forte’ quickly moved the Wave to its 40-yard line on a 21-yard carry on the first play of the next drive. But, on the next play, he was stripped of the ball by Tiger linebacker Luke Sanders at the Tulane 48. Tackle Al Woods pounced on the loose ball, giving LSU another chance to add to its lead.
Five plays later, Hester crossed the goal line for the second time to give LSU a 20-9 lead after the point after with 5:53 remaining in the third quarter. The 48-yard drive consumed just 2:20 and was highlighted by a 38-yard completion from Flynn to Terrance Tolliver that set up a 1st-and-goal for the Tigers at the 6-yard line.
The two teams then traded interceptions. Flynn badly underthrew a streaking Demetrius Byrd at the Tulane 22. Green Wave safety David Skehan intercepted the pass, giving the Wave a chance to move to the Tiger 28 in six plays. But, the Tulane advance was halted when Scelfo was rushed and attempted to throw the ball out of bounds. Instead, it landed in the arms of Tiger cornerback Chevis Jackson along the sideline, giving LSU a first down at its 24-yard line.
LSU took advantage of the Green Wave error, driving 76 yards in the next eight plays to ultimately extend its lead to 27-9 with 12:00 to play in the game. Scott capped the drive with a darting and dodging 35-yard run into the Wave endzone, ending the 3:28 possession.
A 39-yard slant-route completion to Byrd on the Tigers’ next possession set up a 1st-and-goal for the Tigers at the Wave 3-yard line and also gave the Tigers the chance to further extend the lead. Scott traversed the final three yards, crossing the goal line with 8:49 remaining in the game, giving LSU a 34-9 lead after the four-play, 44-yard drive.
LSU at Tulane
Sept. 29, 2007 ? Louisiana Superdome (New Orleans, La.)
1. LSU’s game captains were 6 Colt David, 45 Quinn Johnson, 49 Kirston Pittman and 89 Keith Zinger.
2. LSU won the toss and deferred to the second half. Tulane received the opening kickoff.
3. Tigers extending their consecutive starts streak today were: CB Chevis Jackson (31), LB Ali Highsmith (19), LT Ciron Black (18), CB Jonathan Zenon (18), LG Herman Johnson (15) and DT Glenn Dorsey (13).
4. First-time starters for LSU in today’s game: DT Al Woods.
5. First-time players for LSU in today’s game: DT Drake Nevis.
6. LSU has recorded at least one sack in 24 straight games after a second quarter sack by Al Woods in today’s game. The last time LSU’s defense did not record a sack was against North Texas in 2005.
7. LSU had converted 25 straight red zone opportunities (17 TD, 8 FG) dating back to the second quarter of the 2007 Sugar Bowl vs. Notre Dame. The Tigers missed a FG on the first drive of the game today to snap the streak.
8. LSU has held its opponents scoreless in the first quarter in 22 of the 31 games coached by Les Miles, including the 7-0 score against Tulane today.
9. LSU has outscored its opponents 219-32 over the last 20 quarters, including the 34-9 score today.
10. LSU extended several streaks tonight with the victory … The Tigers extended their overall winning streak to 12 games … The overall winning streak of 12 games is the third longest win streak in school history … LSU has now won 12 straight against non-conference opponents (last loss to Virginia Tech in 2002) … The Tigers have now won 20 straight against in-state opponents (last loss was to Tulane in 1982).
11. With the win, LSU is now 5-0 to open the season for the first time since the 2003 season.
12. SS Craig Steltz recovered the fumble on the first drive of the game. The recovery was Steltz’ first of the season and second of his career. CB Jonathan Zenon forced the fumble.
13. RB Jacob Hester scored the 11th rushing touchdown of his career and the third of the season on a 3 yard run with 10:56 left in the first quarter. He then scored his 12th of his career and fourth of the season on a 1 yard run with 5:53 left in the third quarter.
a. Hester’s two rushing touchdowns in the game tie a career-high for rushing TDs in a game. He also had two rushing touchdowns against Kentucky in 2006. Today also marked the third multi-TD game of his career (Kentucky in 2006 and Arizona in 2006).
b. Hester’s second rush of the second half, a 14-yard run, put the senior over 1,000 rushing yards for his career. He finished the game with 33 yards and 1,004 for his career.
14. PK Colt David‘s four extra points today were the junior’s 117th, 118th, 119th and 120th of his career. He now trails LSU career PAT leader John Corbello (129 PATs) by nine PATs.
a. David kicked the 19th FG of his career with a 36-yard kick with 0:03 left in the second quarter and the 20th of his career with a 33-yard kick with 8:51 left in the third quarter. He now has made 20 of 28 attempts in his career.
15. DT Al Woods recovered a fumble on the first drive of the second half. The recovery was Woods’ third of the season and third of his career. LB Luke Sanders forced the fumble.
16. CB Chevis Jackson recorded his second interception of the season and the fifth of his career with 0:28 left in the third quarter.
17. RB Charles Scott scored his first rushing touchdown of the season and the sixth of his career on a 35-yard run with 12:00 left in the fourth quarter. He then scored his second of the game and the seventh of his career with on a three-yard run with 8:49 left in the game.
a. This is Scott’s third two-touchdown game of his career.
18. WR Chris Mitchell‘s three receptions and 32 receiving yards today are both career-highs.
19. QB Matt Flynn‘s 258 passing yards today is a career-high.
20. With a pair of rushing touchdowns by both Jacob Hester and Charles Scott, LSU had two different players punch in two touchdowns for the first time since Oct. 5, 2002 when Dominick Davis and Joseph Addai also did so against UL-Lafayette.
21. WR Demetrius Byrd‘s three catches are a new career high. He had caught two passes twice before — against Virginia Tech and MTSU.
- Today’s game marked the 96th all-time meeting between the two teams, marking the oldest rivalry in both school’s history, and the 11th in the Louisiana Superdome since its opening in 1975. With today’s 34-9 loss to LSU, the Tigers improve to 67-22-7 in the all-time series.
- Tulane is now 17-13 vs. non-conference opponents (at the time of the competition) since the 2000 season, including three consecutive losses to LSU (2001, 2006, 2007).
- Tulane’s 88 rushing yards were the most allowed by LSU this season (previous high was 71 by Virginia Tech on Sept. 8), and the Green Wave’s 139 passing yards were the second most allowed by the Tigers in 2007 (South Carolina had 244 on Sept. 22).
- The Green Wave’s rushing total was nearly 61 yards higher than the average LSU had allowed all year. Conversely, the Tulane defense held LSU to season-low 134 yards rushing, which is more than 111 yards below its season average.
- For the second consecutive game, the Tulane pass rush was effective. After posting a season-high five sacks last weekend vs. Southeastern Louisiana, the Green Wave tallied six sacks for 44 yards in losses. The six sacks are the most by a Tulane team since the Green Wave had six against SMU on Sept. 24, 2005, in Dallas, Texas. The six sacks are also the most allowed by an LSU team since Florida had eight against the Tigers on Oct. 6, 2001, in Baton Rouge.
- Tulane’s first points of the game came on a safety when LSU was called for holding in its own endzone with the first safety recorded by the Green Wave since Dec. 25, 2002, when then-senior defensive tackle Roxy Shelvin hit Hawaii quarterback Shawn Withy-Allen and knocked the ball through the back of the endzone during Tulane’s 36-28 win over the Warriors in the 2002 ConAgra Foods Hawaii Bowl. The play occurred with 3:02 left in that ballgame.
- By holding LSU without a touchdown in the second quarter, Tulane becomes the first non-SEC opponent to keep the Tigers out of the endzone in a regular-season game since Appalachian State accomplished that feat in the third quarter of their game at Tiger Stadium on Nov. 5, 2005.
- With 73 yards rushing, 21 receiving and 11 returning kicks, senior running back Matt Fort? now has 620 all-purpose yards for the season and 3,461 for his career (2,646 rushing, 804 receiving, 11 returning). He remains third in Tulane history in career rushing yards, 449 yards behind second-placed Eddie Price (3,095 from 1946-49), and 10th in career all-purpose yards, 171 behind Price (3,643).
- Junior middle linebacker Evan Lee posted a new career-high with 13 stops (5 solo, 8 assists) Saturday against LSU. Earlier this season, Lee set a then-career high with 12 stops against Houston (Sept. 15).
- Junior defensive lineman Antonio Harris posted a multiple-sack game for the second consecutive contest, with two sacks for 13 yards lost. In the last two games, Harris now has five sacks for 29 yards in losses.
- Sophomore quarterback Anthony Scelfo made his first career start Saturday vs. LSU, posting career marks in completions (11), passing attempts (26) and yards (117).
- Senior tight end Gabe Ratcliff posted a career-best four receptions (for 55 yards) Saturday vs. LSU. His previous high was three, originally set vs. Florida A&M on Sept. 11, 2004 and tied last season against Army (Oct. 28).
- Junior defensive lineman Antonio Harris started his 38th consecutive game, the longest such streak on the Green Wave team and longest in the nation among NCAA Division I-Bowl Subdivision defensive linemen.
- Saturday’s game marks the collegiate debut of redshirt-freshmen Shannon Davis and Curtis McGinity as well as true freshman Cody Blackwelder. Sophomore running back Andr? Anderson and senior wide receiver Evan Lee also saw his first action of the 2007 season Saturday vs. LSU.
- Today’s announced attendance of 58,769 is the largest crowd to see a Green Wave home game since Nov. 21, 1987, when 70,168 fans were on hand to see Tulane take on LSU. Today’s crowd ranks eighth in Tulane/Superdome history.
QUOTES FOLLOWING TULANE FOOTBALL’S 34-9 LOSS TO LSU
LSU 34, Tulane 34
Tulane Game 4
New Orleans, La.
HEAD COACH LES MILES
“Give credit to our opponents. They played extremely hard and extremely well. I certainly think that we made our share of mistakes. Any time you take a game and you change the intensity ten degrees, things happen that shouldn’t. If you want to say that we came out flat or we played to the same style, I think that’s it; especially on the offensive side. I thought the defense played well the entire game, but we just relied on them way too much.
“The good news is that a team when caught not playing their best football and turns and gets it in gear, and does things they are supposed to do to come back and get a victory. That’s the way it is supposed to finish. It wasn’t our best game, but I think victory and that’s what we play for.
“Into the week, there are some things we’ve got to accomplish; some things we’ve got to get fixed. Trust me ? that will happen ? pretty routinely. That will happen in the short order. We look forward to our next opponent.”
On the play of the offensive line
“It’s a little puzzling to me. It’s one of those things. I think they improved and played extremely well as they went into this game. Maybe they just took for granted that they could block these guys. But you don’t take that for granted. Not in major college football. I think they certainly sputtered and did not look like a finely tuned group, but I think they played well in the back half of that game. We’ve just got to point it back in the right direction. I don’t think it’s going to be a major overhaul. I think it needs to be addressed that you play with the same intensity, no matter who the opponent is.”
On warning signs of his team playing flat in the first half
“I didn’t see any warning. I can only tell you that you can link a lot of things together that may be true at all. So, why spend that time. The issue is they had a little flat start, they understood that they were going to have to play. Thank goodness the defense played well the entire game, except for two spots late in the first half and a little in the second half. If they hadn’t played well, it could have been a long night.”
On the penalties
“We didn’t have our head there. And that is something that must get fixed. There is no reason for that. I blame me for that. We’ll get that fixed.”
On what he told the team at halftime
“Basically that we shot ourselves in the foot. We came here and played like we didn’t have intentions or purpose. And I said in the second half, let’s do what we came here to do. Let’s play like we play. Let’s take the opening kickoff and score, and set the tone for this game like we should have in the opening drive in the first half. But we waited a half. It’s fortunate that we got it going.”
On (senior quarterback) Matt Flynn’s performance
“It is difficult to rate Matt’s performance to be honest with you. I think he was avoiding the rush at times, and getting hit. You like to have thought that he would have had an easy day, but credit Tulane because they were coming and they got to us.”
On (redshirt sophomore quarterback) Ryan Perrilloux not playing in the first half
“We expected him to play in the first half this game. The reality is when you are limited in snaps and things don’t go the way you wanted, you just don’t substitute as freely. It was our intent to get him in the second half pretty early, and we did.”
On trying to get Flynn on track by playing him most of the first half
“We would like to get him more comfortably back in there and making some throws like we would expect, but that wasn’t the case. Although he did make some plays that we needed to make today.”
On abandoning the run
“When you start first-and-10, then it’s first-and-15, or it’s second-and-20, it’s an issue. When you are behind the chains as regularly as we were, you throw the football a little more than maybe we would have liked. We had holding penalties; and the penalties really slowed us.”
On using (sophomore running back) Charles Scott more in the second half
“We wanted to get him some carries; he is too talented a back not to get some snaps, and he came in and gave us a couple nice powerful runs.”
On if the change of momentum in the third quarter was a result of the fumble recovery
“I’ve got to be honest with you, I liked the way our team started playing in the second half and I thought the momentum with the first drive just really… I liked the feel of the game from the start of the second half on.
“I can only tell you that we were ready to play and that we were ready to play, and certainly that we were ready to answer their call. It’s a wonderful thing about athletics ? you know what? You have to play to win. You can’t go out there and just say okay, you guys know what the score is supposed to be and we know what the score is supposed to be so let’s arrange it.
“No, you’ve got to play, and you’ve got to make those plays hard. I credit Tulane for that. That’s what you came to do. You came to play hard to win. So eventually we had to do that. In the second half, it appeared to me that took place.”
On the importance of (sophomore) Trindon Holliday’s long kickoff return late in the first half
“I think any time Trindon Holliday touches the ball there is some electricity that can be generated. I thought it was a big play. Staring the second half, it just felt like big plays were about to come.”
On whether his team overlooked Tulane to playing Florida next week
“I don’t see that; don’t understand it. It’s not something that we talk about on our staff or with our team. I just think that it’s an array of circumstances that put us in this style of play for the first half ? 11:00, new uniform, etc. ? a number of circumstances that may not have any effect or any bearing on this conversation. We just have to make sure that we are ready to play when we take the field.”
On Tulane’s excitement late in the first half
“Give credit to them. We weren’t down. Give credit to them. They played hard. I congratulated Coach Toledo. You’re supposed to compete. That’s the name of the game. That’s what they did. They called us to task, they said, ?Listen you want to win this one, you’ve got to come out and play.’ So I enjoyed that.”
SENIOR DEFENSIVE END KIRSTON PITTMAN
On thoughts during halftime
“They just came out and played great ball. We had to re-group, come out in the second half and play football. There was a lot of emotion, everybody just saying to keep their heads up and go out and play LSU football.”
SOPHOMORE RUNNING BACK CHARLES SCOTT
On playing one good half and still winning by a large margin
“I wouldn’t say it felt good, because we have a lot of plays that we need to improve. I think the main thing is a mental thing today and we were not focused at all in the first half.”
On being tested and coming back to win
“It was real big, because if you look at the season ahead of us, we’ve got Florida and Auburn – it’s probably going to be a lot of dogfights. It was good that we won one tonight to tell us that we’ve got to stay with it and we can persevere through anything.”
HEAD COACH BOB TOLEDO
“Let me start by saying that I am extremely happy with the effort of our football team. I’m obviously disappointed that we lost the football game. We should never like losing, but we prepared them well. I thought our defensive coaches did a super job. They prepared our defense to play against a physical and explosive offensive football team. Physically we played against the best team in the country. So we had to make some plays. We had to try to do some things to make some plays. Last night when we were at the hotel, I showed them the 1981 LSU-Tulane football game. I wanted to show them a little history, a little tradition. It showed the guys flying around and we beat LSU (at home) that year. So it was pretty exciting for the kids. We just told them, ?If you want big-time football, this is big-time football. This is why you came here. You need to prove to everyone else that you’re a big-time football player and play with great intensity and great emotion for 60 minutes. I thought we played extremely well. I thought we battled well the first half. The two turnovers took the wind out of our sails. But again, I can’t be prouder of how we played.”
On LSU being heavily favored to win
“I learned that they’ve got a lot of character. They’ve got a lot of fight in them. They played a lot better than a lot of people gave them credit for. I told them, ?Nobody’s a six touchdown favorite. There’s no way they’re a 40-point favorite. We’re not going to let that happen. And I talked about David and Goliath. I said, ?Goliath was a 40-point favorite too, but David hit him right between the eyes and knocked him out. And that’s what we’re going to try to do before the game. And our kids were pretty fired up and we played pretty hard. We didn’t pull it off, but we battled and I think we gained respect all over the country today.”
On the “trick plays” Tulane used in the first quarter
We had two turnovers, so obviously I thought we had to get out of some of our (original) game plan, but we took a lot of shots, from the opening kickoff. If we had completed the pass to Devin Holland, we would have taken it to the house on that play. We wanted to create some emotion ? some intensity ? to make some big plays. And that’s why we did what we did. You can only draw up so many trick plays, until eventually, you run out of dirt. You can’t draw them all up in the dirt.”
On the atmosphere of the locker room at halftime
“Halftime was good. Our kids came in and they were very businesslike and I told them, ?Defensively, you’re doing a great job.’ I said to them, ?One of the things we wanted to do, was to get into it on the second half close and see if we could win it at the end.’ Of course then LSU took the ball down and they scored and then we fumbled and they scored again. Then after that, it was pretty tough sailing.”
On Tulane’s intensity in the first half
“I think our kids believed. They had trust in and believed in what we were trying to tell them since we’ve been here. That is, ?If you work hard and you keep competing, you’ve always got a chance to win.’ But we had (LSU) going. And if nothing else, I know Les Miles and his whole staff has a lot more respect for our football team.
“I think we’re getting better. I felt bad that I was playing a little bit of Bear Bryant crying the blues all week, but deep down inside, I’ve got a lot of faith for these guys. They’re getting better and I think we can make a little run here.”
“Again I want to thank the crowd. I know a lot of them were LSU people, but our crowd was really good too. They’re behind us and I appreciate it and hope they come back and see us again.”
SENIOR DEFENSIVE END ANTONIO HARRIS
On how they were able to pressure LSU like they did
“We played a lot of different schemes this week with twists, stunts up front and we just pinned our ears back a lot.”
On where this spark has been all year so far
“I think it has been there most of the year. Our secondary players had a good game too by bumping the receivers and pressing the receivers and allowing the defensive front more time and to get more pressure.”
On the energy of Tulane’s team
“It felt good because we knew that once we got momentum we had to just keep pushing, keep playing hard. We knew that towards the first half we had the momentum.”
On what coach Toledo told the team before the game
“His message was to just play hard and try and be in the game until the fourth quarter, and try and get it.”
On what Tulane’s D-line was doing to get so many penalties from LSU’s O-line
“I think the defensive line just got such great get-offs today. We had them on their heels so we were just getting at the ball fast. We had them on their heels.”
On if there was anything Tulane saw that they could take advantage off to get a quick jump on LSU
“No, no particular thing. The things we ran today we’ve ran the past three weeks and it didn’t change too much.”
On being motivated to play against LSU’s top ranked defense
“Of course we were motivated, because their defense is a very good defense and we think our defense is very good as well so we were on national TV trying to show the world that our defense can play also.”
SOPHOMORE QUARTERBACK ANTHONY SCELFO
On thoughts going into the second half
“To start off, it was the little guy trying to beat the big guy; just hanging close and trying to stay in there. Once halftime came, our thoughts were on trying to win the game. It had nothing to do with who they were, who we were; we were going out there to battle and try to make a game of this and see if we could pull it off. In the end and a few mistakes in the third quarter ? those can’t happen against a team like this ? they’re going to capitalize on them, which they did. I think we played right there with them and without those mistakes it’s a whole different ball game.”
On what the feeling was like when Tulane took the lead
“We were almost having our way with them with the way we executed. Our O-Line played unbelievably today and we executed perfectly. We didn’t miss a lot of things and we took that lead and there was a lot of excitement. There was a lot of energy and we knew we were going to be there if we played our game and did what we had to do. We were going to be there until the end. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that. Those mistakes killed us.”
On if there was a sense of change in the LSU players as momentum changed to be with Tulane
“I thought they were pretty urgent all game. I just thought we did a great job. Our line did a good job. They played as hard as they would’ve in the past and played hard all game.”
On grading his performance today
“Well, we lost the game so, it was alright here and there. I can’t throw that ball in the third quarter and there are a few other plays that probably I should’ve checked, but we lost the game. So, I don’t know ? not too well.”
SENIOR RUNNING BACK MATT FORT?
On what the emotion was like having the lead before halftime
“It was very emotional. The offensive line and all of the receivers ? everyone was excited. You could look in the huddle and look into everybody’s eyes and you could see that. The way we were playing it was going the way we wanted it to and everybody was excited to be out there on the field.”
On if watching the 1981 Tulane vs. LSU football game the night before affect the team
“Yeah, of course, it motivated our whole team. We saw Tulane and how they were back then beating up on LSU and making plays and it showed us what we had to do to win the game ? make plays and stick to minimal mistakes.”
On how much Tulane was feeding off of the crowd on the touchdown run
“We were just excited about the touchdown. We weren’t worried about the crowd since most of them were LSU fans and we always get excited after a touchdown. So we were just excited for ourselves.”
On how the safety elevated Tulane’s belief that they could keep up with LSU
“Belief starts at the beginning. If you don’t believe you can win a game then you’re going to go out there and play terrible. It gave us momentum, I would say that.”
On the first half feelings
“The first half we were doing well. We went ahead and that’s when I think a lot of people were noticing that we could go out and do this and play with these guys. I think that was mostly the first half.”
On what he thinks the team proved today
“I think we proved that Tulane is not a pushover school and a pushover football team. We don’t get a lot of respect and we know that and we go out there every week and just play hard and fight hard to earn that respect.”
On Tulane’s success with running the football
“We knew they were the number one run defense in the nation and that cant scare you. It can’t scare your whole game plan away. You have to run the ball to be effective in a football game. You can’t just pass it the whole time. The first play we ran the ball and the first series we started running and that was part of our whole game plan ? to run the ball to be effective in the football game. It actually gave us a lot of motivation. We can run the ball on these guys and it boosted the whole team’s confidence.”
On if the he likes running the trick plays
“I especially like it, because it’s fun to run trick plays and you can get a big play off of them and also it keeps the defense on their heels and they don’t know what’s coming next. It’s exciting to get to run a lot of trick plays in the game.”
On if the team expected that many trick plays to be ran in the beginning of the game
“Yeah, we went over them. Some we worked the whole week on.”
On what was going through his mind when he fumbled this game, after having fumbled in previous games
“Same thing goes for every time ? it was a mistake and you let your team down, but you can’t get too down and curl up in a ball and do nothing. You’ve got to come right back out there and run the ball. I was disappointed.”
JUNIOR LINEBACKER EVAN LEE
On Tulane trying to match LSU’s physical strength
“From the beginning of the game, we just got up. We were trying to win. We didn’t care if they were bigger or stronger. It didn’t matter. We were just out there trying to win.”
On what the difference between Tulane’s defense in the first half and the second half
“We weren’t tired. They’re a good team. They made a couple of good plays on us. The few mistakes we had ?that was probably the only difference.”
On how Tulane was able to pressure LSU’s offensive line
“Our defensive coordinator he went out there with a good plan. He told us what to do and we did it.”
SENIOR TIGHT END GABE RATCLIFF
On Anthony Scelfo’s performance
“Anthony played well. He’s a guy that always brings excitement to the game. He laughs and jokes a lot, but he brings that excitement to the game, so when Anthony is on the field, you know you’re going to get a spark. He made some really good throws and I would grade him, overall, an 8. He made some really good throws and a couple mistakes, but we all make some mistakes.”
On the team’s spirit following the loss
“They’re a great team, but we’re a good team also. We’ve done a lot of hardwork. We’ve put our work in, so it’s time for it to pay off. Coming off the field, obviously we lost the game and it feels bad, but like Dave said, we did a lot of good things that we can capitalize on and take to the next game with us.”
On LSU fans cheering for the Tulane team after the game
“During the game I’m really not focused on the fans. I’m really focused on the game and I’m zoned in to what I have to do. There were a lot of LSU fans.”
JUNIOR SAFETY DAVID SKEHAN
On the team’s spirit following the loss
“Looking at this game, there’s a lot of good. We did a lot we could work with and we could work on. We’re going to build on that. We want to become a team that can compete with LSU frequently.”
On the crowd noise level
“It echoes out there, it’s tough to make calls. They can go back to Baton Rouge.”
On what turned in LSU’s favor in the third quarter
“They started to execute a little bit more. We were just getting our momentum by halftime and when halftime came around it didn’t kill it completely, but that was our time when we were just taking the lead. They just started making plays and we stopped.”
SENIOR DEFENSIVE TACKLE FRANK MORTON
On what Tulane’s defense causing LSU penalties
“We just rallied around the ball and tried to get to the quarterback on every play. During practice this week, we ran a lot of pass-rush drills to set our defense right for their protection. We just executed well as a defense with our pressure.”
On the strength of LSU’s line
“At the end of the day it’s more about technique. It’s good to be able to bench press and squat all of that but if you can’t play football on the field, it really doesn’t matter.”
On playing against the No. 1 defense in the country
“It motivated everyone on the defense. When you’re going against the best, you want to play your best. If they’re rated No. 1, you want to say that you’re better than them. I think today our defense held our own and a lot of teams around the nation will respect us for that. We hit the quarterback a lot of times today.”
On Tulane’s safety in the first half
“That wouldn’t be my top moment, but it’s one of the top. We’re expected to make a play like this it’s not like we didn’t think we could play with these guys. We can play with everybody. They put their pants on the same way we do. It’s not like we didn’t expect to play with these guys. We just had to play ball.”
SENIOR DEFENSIVE TACKLE AVERY WILLIAMS
On whether Tulane had the LSU O-Line frustrated
“That’s pretty much it. We kind of got a rattle early and it takes them a while to settle down and of course it was loud down there. It just got a little rattled, a little discombobulated.”
On feeding off of the fans
“That was exciting. It was a great atmosphere. You couldn’t have asked for anything better, and it was a great show.”
On the strength of LSU’s line
“Clearly we didn’t care, because we showed it on the field.”
On buying into Toledo’s program
“It’s just settling down. In the beginning of the season, you’ve got to get your cobwebs out. We had some difficulty with some guys not knowing things, but when it comes to game four and game five, you should pretty much have it down. Bob Toledo, when he came in here ? Day 1 ? if you hadn’t bought into the program, then you didn’t need to be here in the beginning. Anytime I hear coach saying you need to buy into his program to just let it work, it’s like Novocain ? just give it time.”
On if they were motivated to play against the No. 1 defense in the country
“The thing about being number one is that sometimes you get complacent. You sit at the top for so long and you get another defense coming in and you’re not even looking at them or giving them a chance. They were out here saying they were looking at this game as a bye-week and getting ready for Florida. I think Urban Meyer can take a page out of Tulane’s book and say ?hey, let’s go get these guys.’”
JUNIOR DEFENSIVE END REGGIE SCOTT
On the pressure Tulane placed on LSU
“We put a lot of pressure. This week we worked a lot on our twist-game, hand movements, getting off blocks. It showed today.”
On Tulane’s progress this season
“All of our games this year we’ve been in everybody’s face. We just wanted to keep it up. We didn’t want to take any steps backwards. We want to keep on going forwards.”
JUNIOR OFFENSIVE LINEMAN TROY KROPOG
On going up against Glenn Dorsey and the LSU defense
“He’s a big name on their defense, but they have a great defense all around. He’s not really particularly the one that ties it together. They have great defensive ends, their other tackles are real good and that’s why they’re the number one defense in the country. The big thing was today was just for everybody to get their job done and just play hard.”
On Tulane’s safety in the first half
“The whole first half our defense was playing lights out and we just didn’t really get it going. We got some yards, but we just couldn’t put it in. I feel like when they got that safety, everybody just got on a horse and just took some fight out of LSU…. We just had an opportunity to score and everybody executed and we did.
On Tulane’s improvement
“Every game, win or lose, you hope that you got better. I think the team got better that game and even though we didn’t win the game, I’ll see on film whether or not we got better. As far as a pat on the back goes, it would feel a lot nicer if we had won.”