Green Wave gears up to tackle Memphis in Homecoming game

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Kate Jamison, Print News Editor

Tulane football (3-6, 2-3 American Athletic Conference) will take on Memphis (6-3, 4-1 AAC) 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Yulman Stadium to kick off its first Homecoming game on campus in 40 years.

Coming off of a 31-24 victory over Houston last weekend, Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson said the Wave will benefit from the momentum of the win. 

“What the kids needed was for something positive to happen to them,” Johnson said. “I thought [the game against Houston] was the game that we kind of began to put it all together offensively and defensively.”

The Wave will face another challenge against AAC leader Memphis, as Tulane enters the game as an 11.5 point underdog. This is the 31st contest between Tulane and Memphis, with Memphis leading the all-time series 18-11-1. The last time the teams met was in the 2012 season, when both were members of Conference USA. 

Johnson said the team is ready to compete despite the unfavorable odds.

“We have 11 players [on the field] and we have to play the game,” Johnson said. “Our kids just have to come out and play the type of ball and the caliber of ball that we’re capable of playing. I’m not saying we’re going to win, lose or whatever, but I like the direction we’re going in.”

Memphis’ offense has averaged 34.0 points per game and is paced by its balanced passing and ground attack. Memphis averages 192.2 rush yards per game and 240.7 passing yards per game.

Redshirt senior running back Brandon Hayes has rushed for 604 yards and 7 touchdowns this season. Hayes is averaging 75.5 rushing yards per game and his veteran leadership carries the Memphis offense.

“[Memphis] is a veteran team,” Johnson said. “All of those guys are the same [guys we played against two years ago] with the exception of the quarterback. They’re a senior-laden team.” 

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Paxton Lynch has passed for 2121 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. Lynch is a dual-threat quarterback and has rushed for 7 touchdowns. 

Johnson said Tulane, which has won just three Homecoming games since 2003, is ready to play in front of a full crowd and kick off its Homecoming return to campus with a bang.

“We’re used to the stadium and we’re getting used to stuff,” Johnson said. “I want all of them to play well because for Homecoming, everybody is going to be here and it should be a packed stadium.”

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