7:00 PM ET, November 13, 2004
MERCEDES-BENZ SUPERDOME, NEW ORLEANS, LA
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Army knocked out Tulane's prolific starting quarterback, only to be worn out by a feisty freshman running back.
Matt Forte ran for 216 yards on 34 carries and had 283 total yards and four touchdowns to help Tulane beat Army 45-31 on Saturday night.
"Coach told me going in that we were going to run the ball a lot and keep pounding it at them. I knew I'd have a chance for a big game," Forte said. "I've been playing all year so the butterflies have been gone since the first or second game."
Forte turned a short sideline pass from Lester Ricard into a 47-yard score in the second quarter, then had two short touchdown runs and another scoring run of 48 yards after Ricard left early in the third quarter with a right wrist injury (his throwing arm).
Forte ran for 159 yards in the second half as the Green Wave (4-5, 2-4 Conference USA) shifted from their usual pass-oriented attack to a time-consuming ground game.
"He's going to continue to get bigger and stronger and faster," Tulane coach Chris Scelfo said. "He made some good catches today. He made some guys miss. He really played well."
Ricard -- who was 18-of-19 for 323 yards in last week's victory over Navy -- completed 11 of his first 13 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns over the first 20 minutes against Army (2-7, 2-5). His first scoring pass was a quick slant over the middle to Roydell Williams, who accelerated between a pair of converging defenders and outran all other pursuers on a 63-yard play.
Ricard left after a 12-yard completion to open the second half and finished with 227 yards. Scelfo and Ricard disagreed over the severity of the injury, with Scelfo saying Ricard would miss the rest of the season and Ricard holding out hope he could return for Tulane's next game, which is a Texas Christian on Nov. 27.
"He really began to play well these last several weeks. It's a shame," Scelfo said.
Reserve quarterback Richard Irvin was 10-of-14 for 123 yards, including several difficult drive-extending passes.
"We never did stop them," Army coach Bobby Ross said. "To their credit the young quarterback came in and did what he needed to do with the ball. He didn't go down the field quite as much and took a more conservative approach, but he still came in and did a good job.
Irvin wasn't mistake-free, but Tulane's defense allowed him to get away with it. Irvin turned the ball over twice in Tulane territory on an interception and a fumble, but Army managed only a 28-yard field goal by Austin Miller. The other drive ended on a failed fourth-down pass late in the fourth quarter.
Army had only one touchdown on offense through the first three quarters. It came in the first quarter on a 1-yard run by Carlton Jones, which capped a drive that began on the Tulane 39 after Scott Wesley's 53-yard kick return.
In the third quarter, Wesley returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. In all, he returned seven kickoffs for 269 yards.
Jones scored his second touchdown on a 3-yard run early in the fourth quarter to make the score 38-24. Army's final touchdown came on a 20-yard pass form Zac Dahman to Aaron Alexander.
Dahman was 22-for-41 passing for 232 yards. He was intercepted twice.
Ray Boudreaux had a 1-yard touchdown run for Tulane. Chris Bush caught eight passes for 104 yards. Tulane, winners of three out of four games, finished with a season-high 593 total yards.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||6-15||8-12|
|4th Down Conversions||2-3||0-0|
|TD||9:42||ROYDELL WILLIAMS 63 YD PASS FROM LESTER RICARD (NICK BEUCHER KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 84 yards.
|TD||6:43||CARLTON JONES 1 YD RUN (AUSTIN MILLER KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 39 yards.
|FG||4:32||NICK BEUCHER 36 YD FG|
Drive info: 6 plays, 30 yards.
|TD||13:22||RAY BOUDREAUX 1 YD RUN (NICK BEUCHER KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 74 yards.
|TD||10:09||MATT FORTE 47 YD PASS FROM LESTER RICARD (NICK BEUCHER KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 66 yards.
|TD||10:38||MATT FORTE 9 YD RUN (NICK BEUCHER KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||10:28||SCOTT WESLEY 97 YD KICK RETURN (AUSTIN MILLER KICK)||14||31|
|FG||4:22||AUSTIN MILLER 28 YD FG|
Drive info: 7 plays, 20 yards.
|TD||3:24||MATT FORTE 48 YD RUN (NICK BEUCHER KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||13:21||CARLTON JONES 4 YD RUN (AUSTIN MILLER KICK)|
Drive info: 12 plays, 54 yards.
|TD||7:16||MATT FORTE 1 YD RUN (NICK BEUCHER KICK)|
Drive info: 14 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||6:21||AARON ALEXANDER 20 YD PASS FROM ZAC DAHMAN (AUSTIN MILLER KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 54 yards.