The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Mustangs, Green Wave both in need of a win Saturday

America’s attention turns to the Hilltop this weekend as the Tulane Green Wave comes to SMU. News reporters from across the country will come to Ford Stadium to see a pair of teams that are in need of a win.

Tulane’s players and coaches obviously have more important things on their minds, as they deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and it showed at times in their 21-14 loss in their opening game against Mississippi. SMU is coming off of a 66-8 thrashing at the hands of the Texas A&M Aggies, and Coach Phil Bennett says his team will be ready.

“We have some things we have to work on,” he said, “but we will have them fixed for Saturday.”

Key Match-Up

Tulane’s Lester Ricard vs SMU’s Secondary

Last week, the Mustangs were faced with a Heismen-caliber dual threat in Reggie McNeal, and he put together a real performance. Although Ricard lacks the big name of McNeal, the former LSU-signee may be a better pure passer, although not a better runner.

Last season, Ricard threw for 21 touchdowns and 1,881 yards in only nine games, which was good for the 11th best-pass efficiency ranking in the nation. Ricard must live up to a tradition of great Tulane quarterbacks, as the last three graduating quarterback starters, Shaun King, Patrick Ramsey and J.P. Losman, have been drafted in the first or second round of the NFL draft. Tulane specializes in a spread offense that spreads the field and gives Ricard a bevy of talented receivers that SMU must contend with.

SMU will counter with what many people believe to be its best and deepest unit, the defensive secondary. Joe Sturdivant and Jamey Harper man the safety position and find themselves in the top four teams in tackles, with 30 and 17 tackles, respectively.

They will be aided by Rolando Humphrey, the Mustangs’ most consistent player, as evidenced by his 18 tackles and the opposing teams’ avoidance of his side of the field on passing downs. SMU will rely on Brandon Jones, Jonathon Lindley, Johnnie Fitzgerald and former safety Rico Harris to match up all over the field with the Tulane offense. Success for the Mustangs will hinge on whether the defensive secondary can keep Ricard to short passes and stop the big passing plays that plagued the Mustangs in their game against the Aggies.


Tulane’s Preston Brown

As a freshman, Brown registered 11 tackles, three of which came as a defensive end. As a sophomore, he had four tackles and also started against Navy at tight end. In those two seasons, Brown did enough on special teams for Scelfo to call him the best gunner in the entire country. These stats are important, because in his first start as a wide receiver (yes, his fourth different position), Brown managed to haul in nine catches for 117 yards.

The mechanical engineering major from Camden, N.J. is 6-foot-4-inch, 234-pound match-up nightmare who can do a little bit of everything, including hit the books. Brown is too big for most corners and is too fast for any safety or linebacker.

SMU’s Bobby Chase

It was Chase who gave Mustang fans hope for a span of time last week, as he hauled in a 67-yard touchdown reception to make the score 7-6. The team’s offensive MVP last season has 10 catches on the year for 155 yards and two touchdowns. Chase presents match-up problems because of his frame and solid speed, but it is his willingness to go over the middle and make the tough catch that seems to make him a favorite target of the quarterbacks. Chase must continue to make plays for the Mustangs to open up room for the slew of running backs the team possesses.

Inside the Mustangs

New Beginnings

SMU’s game against Tulane is the inaugural game in Conference USA for the Ponies, something that Bennett is looking forward to.

“We are excited about our first game in Conference USA,” he said, “and we are excited about getting into an environment that we are used to.”

The second line by Bennett is a little surprising, but true nonetheless. Mustang fans can talk all they want about Bennett’s overall record, since the Pony leader is 7-31 in his four seasons as head coach, but over the last two seasons his team has been 4-3 at Ford Stadium. This can be attributed to the team playing well in the familiar surroundings or to the raucous support from the Mustangs in the stand, but either way there is no doubting the Mustangs play better at Ford Stadium.

Bennett hopes the familiar surroundings help his receivers, who struggled last week in College Station. “We are better than that and they know it,” Bennett said. “We were tense and the atmosphere intimidated us.”

The atmosphere caused five drops by the receivers, including one on a deep ball that looked to be a big gain. SMU will cleanup the receiver play this weekend, and it could be the difference in keeping their winning home record over the last two years.

Inside the Green Wave


The Green Wave story is well known, but following its trek with the use of a map is probably the best way to fully understand its plight. On Aug. 28, the Tulane football team left New Orleans for Jackson, a three-hour drive that took nine hours because of the other travelers fleeing the hurricane. After 24 hours in Jackson, the team went to Dallas, where SMU allowed the use of some of its facilities, and the Doubletree on 75 opened its rooms for the team.

The Green Wave attended the Mustangs’ opening game against Baylor and took in the pre-game pageantry of The Boulevard. The Mustang community aided with donations, time and meals, and the entire team ate meals at a few of the SMU sorority houses.

Tulane Coach Chris Scelfo’s job description has expanded from football coach to disaster recovery expert, though he also dabbles as a psychiatrist to his players and other coaches who lost homes and family members in the storm.

Tulane packed up his buses after just a week in Dallas, and its players enrolled in classes at Louisiana Tech in Ruston, which had an extra dorm for the players to live in. The odyssey finally ended as Tulane scheduled home games in Shreveport, Lafayette and Baton Rouge.

Now the Saints, the LSU Tigers and the Green Wave athletic programs have found themselves the most public symbols of the recovery effort in the state of Louisiana, and the teams have played with a sense of pride and purpose that can only attributed be to an understanding of their importance.

Saturday’s game marks the 14th meeting between the two schools, with Tulane holding a 9-4 series edge. SMU hopes to break their 4-game losing streak in the series when the game kicks off from Ford Stadium at 1:00 pm.

Trent Redden is a senior accounting and public policy major. He can be reached at [email protected].

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