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Rivalry's renewal sparks bayou

Published Sep. 23, 2006
Updated Sep. 23, 2006

Nostalgia might make tonight's matchup of Tulane and No. 10 LSU more interesting than anything else right now.

They first played in 1893 and have played 93 times since. But by the time the Tigers and Green Wave stopped playing regularly in 1995, it was hardly the rivalry it once was. Tulane left the Southeastern Conference in 1965 and hadn't beaten LSU since 1982, before players this year's squads were born.

The only meeting this decade was the 2001 opener, when the Tigers won 48-17. But now an agreement is in place to play annually again for the next decade, renewing a tradition between schools separated by less than a two-hour drive along the Mississippi River.

"It's a game that more than anything, needs to be played. It's great for the fans. It's great for everybody," said Tulane coach Chris Scelfo, a south Louisiana native who fondly recalls when the game was an annual end-of-season event. "It was a very traditional-like atmosphere. I think the whole state, back in that day, would circle that game."

It's good for Tulane in that LSU will give the Green Wave about a $600,000 guarantee, which Tulane's athletic program badly needs, since the small part of campus that flooded after Hurricane Katrina is where most of the athletic facilities were.

On the field, however, LSU may not be so charitable.

"You can't be No. 10 in the country without having some great players," said Tulane quarterback Lester Ricard, an LSU transfer who threw four touchdown passes in an upset win over Mississippi State last week. "We're just going to have to go out there and keep our cool.''

PUNTER STABBING: Prosecutors in Greeley, Colo., said they need more information before deciding whether to file charges against a Northern Colorado player accused of stabbing a teammate in a rivalry over the starting punter position. District attorney's spokeswoman Jennifer Finch said the investigation is continuing but declined to say whether Mitch Cozad is still a suspect. Cozad was accused of stabbing starting punter Rafael Mendoza in the kicking leg Sept. 12.

REFEREE BACK: The referee who was suspended after last week's controversial Oregon victory over Oklahoma is working today's USC-Arizona game. Arizona is coached by Mike Stoops, brother of Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops.

On Monday, the Pac-10 suspended referee Dave Cutaia and the rest of the seven-man on-field crew from last week's Oklahoma game in Eugene, Ore., for one game. But the suspensions must be staggered so the conference has enough officials to cover all its games, Pac-10 spokesman Jim Muldoon said.

Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen has apologized to Oklahoma for the bad calls in Saturday's game, won by the Ducks 34-33 after officials mistakenly awarded a late onside kick to Oregon.

Friday's game

Nevada 31, N'western 21: In Reno, Joe Garcia returned his second interception of the game 24 yards for a touchdown with 2:14 left for Nevada. Robert Hubbard ran for 156 yards and two scores for the Wolf Pack. Jeff Rowe completed 13 of his first 16 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns before the half and Northwestern turned the ball over three times in a 7-minute span in the first quarter as Nevada opened a 24-14 halftime lead.