2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 2 - Tulsa at Tulane
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Sept. 10 Tulsa 31 … at Tulane 3
CFN Analysis: COMING
(AP) NEW ORLEANS -- G.J. Kinne threw for 241 yards and three touchdowns to lead Tulsa past Tulane 31-3 on Saturday.
The Golden Hurricane (1-1, 1-0 Conference USA) are 7-0 against the Green Wave (1-1, 0-1) since joining the league in 2005, winning each game by at least 24 points.
A 5-yard toss from Kinne, who completed 21 of 29, to Bryan Burnham put Tulsa ahead 10-3 with 2:16 left in the first half.
The Golden Hurricane padded their lead on Alex Singleton's 2-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and finished off Tulane when Burnham outfought cornerback Jordan Sullen for a deep pass, tipped it to himself and fell across the goal line for a 40-yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Burnham led Tulsa with seven catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns, and Singleton rushed nine times for 61 yards.
Ryan Griffin completed 18 of 39 for 170 yards with one interception for Tulane, and Orleans Darkwa had 53 yards on 17 carries.
The game turned soon after Tulane forced a fumble by Kinne and returned it to the Tulsa 35 with the score tied at 3 in the second quarter. The Green Wave lost 12 yards on an end-around on the next snap, and the Golden Hurricane's Milton Howell intercepted a third-down pass near the sideline.
Tulsa then drove 73 yards in six plays for the go-ahead touchdown.
Tulsa's final score came on a 1-yard pass from Kinne to Clay Sears.
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Tulsa (0-1) at Tulane (1-0) Sept. 10 , 3:30, CST
Here's The Deal … Both teams enter this game coming off subpar defensive performances. The good news for both is that teams usually improve the most between Week 1 and Week 2.
Despite last week's loss at Oklahoma, expectations remain high for Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane won 10 games last season, including a victory against Notre Dame in South Bend. With 18 starters returning from a team that tied for the C-USA West title, it expects to earn a spot in the league championship game this time around.
Tulane enters this week looking to build on its 47-33 win over SE Louisiana. Although the Green Wave finished 4-8, seven starters return from last season's defense that ranked first in the conference against the pass. If the offense puts up the same type of numbers it did in 2010, the Green Wave might qualify for a bowl for the first time since 2002.
Each team needs to win this game to set the tone for the conference season. With a win, Tulsa will send a message to the Western Division that it's still the team to beat in the West. A Tulane victory over the reigning division co-champ would give the Green Wave some much-needed confidence.
Why Tulsa Might Win: The Tulsa rushing attack. While the Golden Hurricane has established a reputation as a high-octane passing team, the ground game is what's always beaten Tulane in the past. Over the last four meetings, Tulsa has run for at least 200 yards in every contest. Last season, they did even better, rolling up 332 yards on the ground against the Green Wave, and averaging 7.7 yards per carry. It could rack up even more yardage this season, as the talented ‘Cane line remains largely intact from last season. On the other side of the ball, Tulane's has problems stopping the run. With a more experienced front seven returning this season, the Green Wave did a much better job of stopping an FCS opponent in the opener. However, expecting it to duplicate that performance against one of the conference's top rushing attacks is a tall order.
Why Tulane Might Win: The Green Wave passing game. Tulane has moved the ball through the air at will against Tulsa the past two seasons, throwing for 325 and 446 yards, respectively. It should eclipse those totals Saturday, as it'll have more time to throw behind a veteran line. By stretching the defense vertically, the running game will open up. When the running game works, the Green Wave can keep the clock moving, which will keep the potent Golden Hurricane offense on the sideline. As well as the Tulsa offense has played, the defense continues to be its Achilles' heel. This disturbing trend continued into this season, as the defense struggled in every facet of the game last week, yielding 663 yards against Oklahoma. While Tulane does not have the firepower that the Sooners do, it'll find success through the air, and will match the Golden Hurricane score for score.
What To Watch Out For: Watch out for Tulsa RB Trey Watts. While QB GJ Kinne will get most of the attention from the Green Wave defense, Watts holds the key to victory. The sophomore was one of the few bright spots for the Golden Hurricane offense last week, rushing for 47 yards, adding 31 yards receiving and scoring a touchdown. With WR Damaris Johnson out indefinitely, Tulsa can use Watts' versatility to add another dimension to the offense. It'll run him early and often to exploit Tulane's weak run defense.
When Tulane makes adjustments, it'll open up the passing game for Kinne and Tulsa's outstanding receivers. On the other hand, Tulane will rely heavily on QB Ryan Griffin, as Tulsa will load up on the run to neutralize Green Wave star RB Orleans Darkwa. With the running game stuffed, Tulane will turn to Griffin and the passing game. Last season, Griffin had a career-best performance against Tulsa, completing 36-of-53 passes for 412 yards and two touchdowns. While no one expects an exact repeat, Griffin will hit some deep throws against Tulsa's inexperienced secondary to keep Tulane in the hunt.
What Will Happen: The offenses will rule the day. Tulsa will rely on a balanced attack, while Tulane finds success through the air. While Tulane's offense will keep them in the game, the Golden Hurricane D will make enough timely second half stops to be the deciding factor. In an entertaining shootout, Tulsa will survive to break into the win column.
CFN Prediction: Tulsa 38 … Tulane 28
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Tulsa -12.5 O/U: 64
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