WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Army football team continues its 2010 campaign on Saturday when the Black Knights travel to the Louisiana Superdome to take on Tulane. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. ET.
The Army Sports Network will have the audio call of the game on its flagship station WABC (770-AM), as well as WALL (1340-AM) and WEOK (1390-AM), Sirius Satellite Radio (channel 129) and ITT Knight Vision. Rich DeMarco (play by play), Dean Darling (color analyst) and Tony Morino (sideline reporter) will cover the game on the Army Sports Network.
Army (3-2) is coming off a 42-35 setback to Temple last week. The Black Knights led the Owls 28-13 midway through the third quarter only to see Temple reel off 29 unanswered points en route to the victory.
Tulane (2-2) enters Saturday's matchup fresh off a 17-14 win at Rutgers last week. The Green Wave intercepted a Rutgers pass with less than one minute to play to seal the victory and break its six-game road losing streak.
Army head coach Rich Ellerson is in his second season guiding the Black Knights. He posted a 5-7 record during his first season along the banks of the Hudson, and he currently holds an 8-9 mark at West Point.
Tulane is coached by Bob Toledo, who is in his fourth season at the school. He has led the team to an 11-29 record since taking over the program before the 2007 season. Tulane is the fourth head coaching stop for Toledo, who had previously coached at UC Riverside, Pacific and UCLA.
Army and Tulane have met 17 times previously, with the Green Wave holding a slim 9-7-1 edge in the all-time series. Tulane won last season's meeting, securing a 17-16 verdict at West Point. Army's last win in the series came during the 2008 campaign, when the Black Knights scored a 44-13 victory at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans, La.
Army's offense has been explosive in its second season under Ellerson. The Black Knights, who employ the triple option attack, are averaging more than 30 points per game. Army is led by its rushing game, which ranks ninth in the nation with 266.8 yards per contest.
The Black Knights feature four players averaging more than 40 rushing yards per game, led by sophomore quarterback Trent Steelman (54.0 yards/game). Steelman, who found the end zone four times against Temple last week, also tops the squad with six rushing touchdowns. Sophomore fullback Jared Hassin (49.8), sophomore slotback Malcolm Brown (47.8) and senior slotback Patrick Mealy (46.0) have all been productive on the ground as well.
Army has scored 18 rushing touchdowns, after totaling just 13 ground scores in 2009. The Black Knights' 21 total TDs have already surpassed last year's season total (19).
Steelman has been efficient through the air this fall as the second-year signal caller is completing 55.3 percent of his passes and has thrown for three touchdowns. His favorite target in the passing game lately has been junior wide receiver Austin Barr, who enters Saturday's contest at Tulane leading the Black Knights in receptions (eight), receiving yards (128) and receiving touchdowns (two).
Sophomore wide receiver George Jordan (five receptions, 54 yards) and junior wide out Davyd Brooks (four catches, 61 yards) have been viable options in the passing game as well.
Tulane's offense, which averages 20.0 points per game and 285.0 yards per contest, is directed by redshirt-sophomore quarterback Ryan Griffin. Griffin is completing 64.1 percent of his throws and averages 125.0 passing yards per contest.
Griffin's top options in the passing game are redshirt-senior wide receiver Casey Robottom (23 receptions, 218 yards) and sophomore wide out D.J. Banks (16 catches, 163 yards).
The Tulane ground game, which averages 89.8 yards per contest, is paced by freshman running back Orleans Darkwa (46.3 yards/game, four touchdowns) and junior running back Albert Williams (43.5 yards/game).
The Green Wave offense is known for its creativity and use of trick plays. Last week versus Rutgers, Tulane reached into its bag of tricks in the third quarter to score a touchdown. D.J. Banks took a lateral from Joe Kemp and Banks then threw the pass back across the field to a wide open Kemp, resulting in Banks' first touchdown pass and Kemp's first receiving score.
Army's defense, which struggled at times against Temple last week, has played well overall this season. The Black Knights are allowing just 24.2 points per game, while yielding less than 330 yards of total offense per contest. Army has forced 13 turnovers as a team, and the Black Knights are ranked second nationally in turnover margin (2.00).
Senior linebacker Stephen Anderson continues to leads the Black Knights' defensive unit with 39 tackles. He has also posted one interception and three tackles for loss. Senior defensive end Josh McNary leads the team in tackles for loss (7.5) and quarterback sacks (5.0), while listing second in total tackles (25). McNary, who has been the Black Knights' most impressive playmaker on the defensive side of the football, is Army's all-time leader in both sacks (23) and tackles for loss (44).
Senior defensive back Jordan Trimble paces the Black Knights' secondary with 20 tackles and an interception. Fellow senior defensive back Donnie Dixon has posted 17 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss.
Tulane's defense is led by redshirt-sophomore linebacker Trent Mackey, who tops the Green Wave with 48 tackles, including five tackles for loss. Senior defensive tackle Justin Adams is Tulane's top pass rusher with team highs in quarterback sacks (4.5) and tackles for loss (7.5). As a team, the Green Wave has posted 12 quarterback takedowns and forced nine turnovers.
On paper, the Green Wave seems to have the advantage in the kicking game. Tulane freshman kicker Cairo Santos is 6-of-7 on field goal attempts, while Army senior kicker Alex Carlton has connected on just two of his seven tries.
Tulane freshman punter Jonathan Ginsburgh is averaging 43.0 yards per punt, while Army senior punter Jonathan Bulls is averaging 40.0 yards per punt. The two teams are very comparable in the return game as each squad averages close to 19 yards per kickoff return and nearly nine yards per punt return.
Army wraps up its mini two-game road swing next weekend when the Black Knights travel to East Rutherford, N.J., to take on Rutgers at New Meadowlands Stadium. Kickoff for that contest is scheduled for 2 p.m., and it will be video streamed live by ESPN3 (www.espn3.com).
Mini-plan and single-game tickets for all Army home contests are currently on sale at the Army Ticket Office, by phone at 1-877-TIX-ARMY or online at www.goARMYsports.com.