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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 8, 12:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: H.A. Chapman Stadium (30,000) -- Tulsa, Oklahoma. Television: FSN Home Record: Tulane 0-1, Tulsa 0-0. Away Record: Tulane 0-0, Tulsa 0-1. Neutral Record: Tulane 0-0, Tulsa 0-0. Conference Record: Tulane 0-0, Tulsa 0-0. Series Record: Tulsa leads, 7-1.
GAME NOTES: For the third time in the last four seasons the Tulane Green Wave and Tulsa Golden Hurricane will open their Conference USA schedules head-to head as Tulane travels to H.A. Chapman Stadium this weekend.
In last season's meeting, which also came in the second week of the season, Tulsa came out on top dominating the Green Wave en route to a 31-3 win. The score was indicative of the series history as Tulsa has seven wins in eight all-time meetings. It also set the tone for each team's conference slate, as Tulsa went on to go 7-1 in-conference, while Tulane was 1-7 and just 2-11 overall. Tulane's only win in the series occurred in 1968.
Tulsa let a first quarter lead slip away in falling 38-23 to Iowa State in its season-opener last week. The Golden Hurricane led 16-7 going into the second quarter but allowed 17 more points before halftime and were outscored 31-7 over the last three quarters. It was the sixth straight season Tulsa has opened on the road.
In Curtis Johnson's head coaching debut for Tulane, the Green Wave were taken down by a strong Rutgers squad out of the Big East. Tulane couldn't get much going offensively against the Scarlet Knights and ended up on the losing end of a 24-12 decision. The Green Wave have now lost 11 straight games dating back to last season. Tulane is now 66-46-4 all-time in home openers. The 12 points scored was also the lowest season-opening output for the Green Wave since 1995.
Tulsa had a balanced attack on offense in the loss to Iowa State, recording 198 passing yards and 160 rushing for a total of 358 yards. The output was nowhere near the success of last year's squad which ranked 24th nationally in total offense (440.4 ypg). The Golden Hurricane also made a number of mistakes, fumbling the ball four times, one of which was recovered by ISU and throwing a pair of interceptions.
Running backs Trey Watts and Ja'Terian Douglas each had solid days out of the backfield. Watts led the team with 125 yards on only 10 carries, highlighted by a career-long 77-yard run. Douglas scored a touchdown and finished with 55 yards. Douglas' score was a one-yard plunge and is the eighth of his career and first for less than 15 yards.
Cody Green slung the ball around all afternoon but never found a rhythm, completing only 23-of-49 passes for 198 yards, while being responsible for both interceptions. Green did have one bright moment when he threw his first career touchdown pass with Tulsa to Thomas Roberson in the first quarter. It was Bryan Burnham though who was the junior's favorite target, catching nine passes for 90 yards.
Like the offense the defense came out and performed well early before eventually crumbling and allowing 441 yards of total offense to the Cyclones. In the first quarter, Tulsa allowed just one touchdown, forced two punts, grabbed an interception and recorded a sack. The safety, which was recorded by Brentom Todd, was the first by Tulsa since 2007.
After the strong first quarter though Tulsa allowed touchdowns on consecutive drives and was never able to recover. Three different Golden Hurricane players had double-digit totals in tackles, with DeAundre Brown (13) and Marco Nelson (13) tying for the team lead. Brown was especially active in the backfield during the game, recording three tackles for loss, including a pair of sacks.
It was not until the 5:07 mark of the fourth quarter that Tulane finally recorded a touchdown, after managing only six points the rest of the game. In fact the Green Wave scored nine of their 12 points in the final period.
Not surprisingly, a lack of production on offense was the culprit, with the Green Wave managing just 262 total yards, including only eight yards rushing.
Senior quarterback Ryan Griffin led the aerial assault, completing 34-of-48 pass attempts for 254 yards and the lone score of the day, an 11-yard strike to Rob Kelley. Ryan Grant led the team in receiving with 110 yards on six receptions.
While the offense struggled, the Tulane defense actually improved from last season, giving Johnson some positives to take away from an otherwise dismal debut on the sidelines. Tulane ranked 83rd nationally last season allowing 410.3 yards per game, but held Rutgers to 309 yards on Saturday. Even more impressive was the 24 points, 17 of which were scored by the Rutgers offense. Last season the squad ranked 115th in the nation in points allowed per game (37.5).
Devon Walker was the leader on defense with nine total tackles, while Ryan Travis collected an interception and Kenny Welcome forced a fumble.
Both of these squads had some small victories in their season-opening losses. Tulsa ran the ball well and managed a quarter of strong defense and Tulane had an improved defensive effort all around. However, both teams have some glaring weaknesses and unfortunately for Tulane, those are more likely to be exposed on the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tulsa 30, Tulane 10
09/05 10:34:22 ET
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