October 12, 2007
Wave gearing up for Blazers
Both Tulane and UAB will look to notch their first Conference USA victory of the season when the Blazers and Wave square off against each other Saturday night at Legion Field in Birmingham.
These two clubs have a ton of things in common. First of all they are both in C-USA, second their programs have new head coaches in the Wave's Bob Toledo and UAB's Neil Callaway and both team's victories have come against Division I-AA teams.
Tulane edged Southeastern Louisiana 35-27 in week three of the season and the Blazers beat winless Alcorn State 22-0 also in week three of the season. So not only are these clubs looking for their first conference win, they are also looking to beat a team that is in their own college division.
Like Tulane did against LSU, UAB hung tough with two very solid opponents in Florida State and Mississippi State. Against FSU UAB darted out to an early 17-3 lead only to go on to lose the game 34-24.
And in last weeks game in Starkville against Mississippi State the Blazers had the same fate as they led for most of the game only to falter down the stretch and lose 30-13 to the Bulldogs.
UAB and Tulane look to be comparable on paper an this should be an interesting C-USA game. Tulane will obviously try and give the ball to senior RB Matt Forte as much as possible and the Blazers run defense has had trouble with opposing backs.
UAB is allowing 221-yards rushing per game and the Wave are averaging over 152-yards per game. Forte is one of the nations leaders when it comes to all purpose yards this season.
The Slidell native averages over 170-yards per game including 142-yards rushing and another 29-yards in receptions.
"Obviously, Matt Forte rushed for over 200 yards with two touchdowns and caught five passes for 45 yards. I believe he now has three games with over 200 yards, which is a record here, and I'll venture to say that before it's over he'll have another 200-yard game for us. He's a great back, as I mentioned when the season started," Toledo said of Forte.
But the Wave will need to mix things up against the Blazers because at times this team has played some inspired defense against decent opponents according to Toledo.
"UAB has played some really good competition, very similar to us. They've played Florida State, Michigan State, Mississippi State and they lost to Tulsa , one of the better teams in our conference. They've played some good people and beat Alcorn State, so they're on the same track that we're on."
Tulane will once again be another team's Homecoming opponent and that seems to be the case in all of football as Homecoming games are rarely considered to be competitive. Toledo talked about that at his weekly press conference.
"They're a lot like us. They're 1-4. They're 0-1 in the league. It's a league game, it's on the road and it's another homecoming game. Why does everyone have us for homecoming? I don't understand that. But anyway, we've got another homecoming game and we're going to see more homecoming queens than anyone else in the country."
Tulane will also see some familiar faces on the Blazers Sidelines as former Green Wave assistant coaches Eric Schumann, Lorenzo Costantini now members of Blazers' staff.
Toledo talked about the impact the two former Wave Coaches could have on the game.
"I think that's a big advantage. You never really know players. You think you do when you watch them on video and you recruit them, but unless you've actually coached those kids, you really don't know them."
Tulane and UAB kickoff at 6:00 p.m. Saturday night in Legion Field.
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