HAMMOND — The opportunity for Southeastern Louisiana to travel to Tulane and play at 7 p.m. Saturday in Yulman Stadium means a lot of different things to different people.
To senior defensive back Marice Sutton, it represents a homecoming. He grew up several blocks from Tulane’s campus and graduated from St. Augustine High School.
Sutton nearly committed to play football at Tulane where his former coach, David Johnson, is the Green Wave’s running backs coach. He chose SMU instead before winding up at New Mexico Prep to shore up his academics, and signed with Southeastern.
“Just the opportunity go back home will be a great experience,” said Sutton, who was a freshman when Southeastern dropped a 47-33 decision at Tulane in 2011. “Now I have the chance for my family to come and watch that game.
“Playing those guys is just another opportunity to show what we have here,” Sutton said. “We know they’re an FBS school, but we’re looking at them as another team in our way. We know we have to play our game and play well in all three phases.”
The chance to step up in competition is always intriguing. And for No. 3 Southeastern (2-0), this week’s game represents a milestone the program has never achieved: defeating Tulane (0-1) or a school from the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Southeastern lost last season at No. 24 TCU 38-17 and finds itself with a potential one-shot matchup with Tulane, as the two schools are not scheduled to play beyond this year.
The Green Wave has never lost to the Lions in six previous meetings, with three of the past four, dating to 2005, decided by eight points or less.
“I think it would be awesome,” Southeastern coach Ron Roberts said of a continuation of the series. “It would be great. It’s a positive for us all the way round.”
Roberts noted Tuesday during his weekly media luncheon the benefits of playing at Tulane, ranging from recruiting in the fertile grounds of New Orleans to the hour-long trek being conducive to a large number of fans being able to attend the game.
“It’s a huge game,” Roberts said. “No. 1 is the recruiting ramifications. To get down in New Orleans and play there where a lot kids get to see us play and the publicity we’ll get from playing down there is huge.
“It’s also important for us to go and play well,” Roberts said. “We can’t just go play the game, but we have to go and play well and make a statement that we’re a team that is on the rise. We’re a good football team that has a chance to win a championship. Being so close, this is a game we’d love to turn into a rivalry and continue to play on a regular basis. It’s easy for our fans to get to. I expect us to travel well.”
Southeastern sophomore cornerback Derrick Raymond, an LSU transfer, is another player with ties to New Orleans, having graduated from East Jefferson.
He’s planning to push aside any existing friendships with Tulane players and concentrate on the task at hand.
“I know a couple of their guys, but I’ll talk to them after the game, not now,” Raymond said. “We’re just going to prepare and play ball. We don’t see it as a big game. We see it as the next game. We’re going to prepare and whatever happens, happens.”
Roberts said Southeastern has scheduled road games against FBS opponents Ohio in 2015 and Oklahoma State in 2016. … Running back Rasheed Harrell is expected to play against Tulane after missing last week because of a concussion, Roberts said … Fellow running back Darrius Guy, who rushed four times for 15 yards last week against Southern Utah, suffered a dislocated vertebrae in the game and will not play. … Senior place-kicker Ryan Adams was named Southland Conference special team’s player of the week after making all five of his extra points, and field goals of 24 and 29 yards.