The Memphis Tigers will make their third of four road trips in the month of October when they travel to New Orleans this weekend to face the Tulane Green Wave in Conference USA action. Official kick-off Saturday is slated for 2:40 p.m., at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The game was picked up late last week for a televised broadcast by Fox College Sports. Steve Physioc and Yogi Roth will handle the announcing in the booth, while Desmond Purnell will handle the sideline reports. The game will be carried on FCS Central, which can be found on DirecTV (channels 617 & 623), on AT&T U-verse (channel 648) and on Comcast Cable (channel 639). Fans are encouraged to check their local listings for the game or go to FoxCollegeSports.com. Memphis fans can also listen to the game on WREC AM600 with Dave Woloshin and Wayne Weedon.
Saturday’s game is the 29th all-time meeting between the two schools on the gridiron. The Tigers hold a narrow 16-11-1 series advantage. Memphis has won five straight and six of the last seven encounters with the Green Wave. The Tigers took a 45-6 decision in the last meeting in the 2008 regular season finale. Tulane’s last win in the series was a 37-14 victory in the 2000 campaign. The Green Wave hold a 9-6-1 series edge in games played in New Orleans. In its last trip to the Crescent City in 2007, Memphis posted a 28-27 win over Tulane. The Green Wave’s last win in New Orleans was a 37-14 victory in 2000.
Not Even Close Regardless of which team comes out on top in the Memphis-Tulane series, the recent encounters have not been close. Eight of the last nine contests have been won by double digits, and the average margin of victory in those eight double-digit games was 26.4 points. In fact, the closest outcome of those eight double-digit games was a 10-point Tulane victory (41-31) in 1998. Even if you include the Tigers’ one-point win (28-27) in 2007, the average margin of victory in the last nine games is still above 20 points at 23.6.
Porter Versus The Green Wave Although Saturday is the first time he faces Tulane as a head coach, Larry Porter has been on the opposing sideline against the Green Wave four previous times — all coming as an assistant coach at LSU. Porter and the LSU Tigers played Tulane each year from 2006-09 and won all four encounters by an average margin of 33.5 points.
A Homecoming For Porter Yes, Memphis is his true home as a former player and alumnus. But, this Saturday, Tigers head coach Larry Porter makes a homecoming in his first trip back to Louisiana since moving to the Bluff City in December of 2009. Porter spent five seasons (2005-09) in Baton Rouge on the LSU staff and helped lead the Tigers to five-straight bowl appearances, including the 2007 BCS National Championship.
A Homecoming of Sorts For Curtis Johnson While his hometown is Miami, receiver Curtis Johnson will have a homecoming of sorts this weekend at Tulane. His father, Curtis, is the receivers coach for the New Orleans Saints and with the Saints being at home against the Colts on Sunday, father and son will be united for the Memphis game.
On This Date Memphis has an all-time record of 6-5 when playing on Oct. 22. The last time the Tigers played an Oct. 22 game was the 2005 season, and Memphis posted a 27-24 Homecoming victory over East Carolina. In fact, the Tigers’ last four Oct. 22 victories all came on Homecoming dates those seasons (2005, 1994, 1966, 1949).
Memphis Versus Louisiana Schools The Tigers have a 41-26-1 record against schools from the state of Louisiana. Memphis has played Louisiana College (5-3), Louisiana-Lafayette (9-4), Louisiana-Monroe (1-1), Louisiana Tech (5-5), McNeese State (2-0), Nicholls State (1-0), Southeastern Louisiana (1-2), Centenary (1-0) and Tulane (16-11-1)
Takeaways Lead to National Ranking With the three turnovers forced against Rice (2 INT, 1 FR), and the two (2 FR) against ECU, the Tigers have now registered 16 takeaways through seven games. Memphis logged 13 takeaways during all of the 2010 season. The Tigers have logged an interception in all but the Mississippi State and ECU games, including two picks each against APSU and Rice. Memphis has also garnered at least one fumble recovery in all but the Middle Tennessee game, which means that the squad has forced a turnover in every game this season.
Memphis is ranked tied for 13th nationally in turnovers gained. They are also in the Top 10 defensively in fumbles recovered (T9th) with nine. Akeem Davis, who leads the team in fumble recoveries with three, is ranked tied for seventh nationally. He also ranks tied for eighth nationally in solo tackles with 42. Also tied for eighth is Terrence Thomas.
Up Next The Tigers continue their road swing for the month of October, traveling to UCF on Oct. 29. The UCF game will be on Bright House Sports Network at 3 p.m. CT next week. The Tigers’ next home game is not until Nov. 12, when the squad hosts UAB at 3:15 p.m. on CSS. That game, which has been dubbed the Battle For The Bones for the BBQ contest and bronze rack of ribs trophy, will also be Senior Day for 15 senior Tigers. Senior Day is typically the last home game, which will be against Marshall on Nov. 17. Because that game was moved to a Thursday night, UAB was selected to honor the seniors so that their parents would be able to come in for the weekend contest. The seniors will be honored in a pre-game ceremony.
Please see below for a video interview with receiver Curtis “Trey” Johnson.