Week 4 - Fresno State at Tulsa

Posted Sep 19, 2012

Week 4 CFN Fearless Prediction – Fresno State at Tulsa

Fresno State (2-1) at Tulsa (2-1) Sept. 22, 8:00, CBS Sports Network

Here's The Deal: If BYU-Boise State is Week 4 non-AQ main event, then Fresno State-Tulsa is atop the undercard. This figures to be an intriguing matchup at Chapman Stadium between high-powered offenses that each produced at least 66 points a week ago. The Bulldogs annihilated Colorado of the Pac-12, 69-14, to help soothe the wounds of a loss to Oregon a week earlier. For first-year head coach Tim DeRuyter, this will be his team's final non-conference test before beginning Mountain West play a week from now. The Golden Hurricane has overcome a listless effort against Iowa State in the opener by pounding its last two opponents by a combined score of 111-26. However, those victims were Tulane and Nicholls State, leaving unresolved questions about just how good this program might be in 2012.

Why Fresno State Might Win: The backfield tandem of QB Derek Carr and RB Robbie Rouse is dynamite, which Colorado witnessed firsthand last Saturday. The Bulldogs' all-time leading rusher has gone for more than 100 yards in each of his first three games, showing the burst and toughness that have become his trademarks in the Valley. The beauty of the Fresno State offense is that Rouse is perfectly complemented by Carr, a future NFL hurler who has already thrown eight touchdown passes to just a single pick. He'll dump it off to his back on occasion, but prefers unleash lasers in the direction of big-play receivers Davante Adams and Isaiah Burse.

Why Tulsa Might Win: Keeping up with Fresno State requires an efficient offense. Yup, Tulsa has one of those. The Golden Hurricane has hit its stride over the last two games, cranking out the yards on the ground behind Ja'Terian Douglas, Trey Watts and Alex Singleton. The backfield is comprised of a diverse group of runners averaging a healthy 6.4 yards per carry. Helping the cause has been former Nebraska QB Cody Green, who has gotten increasingly comfortable in his role by throwing two touchdown passes in each of his first three games. While injured WR Bryan Burnham has certainly been missed, successor Keyarris Garrett is flourishing in his new role as a go-to guy.

What To Watch Out For: Both defenses are excelling at attacking the pocket. But which O-line will succeed in putting up the stop sign? Tulsa leads the nation in tackles for loss, pressing from all levels with linebackers DeAundre Brown and DeWitt Jennings and talented safeties Demarco Nelson and Dexter McCoil. Fueled by LB Tristan Okpalaugo, Fresno State is No. 10 in the country in sacks. Whoever can keep the pocket clean on Saturday will likely leave Tulsa with its third win of the year.

What Will Happen: It's not the biggest game of Week 4, but it might wind up being one of the most entertaining on the slate. Fresno State and Tulsa play the game fast, both on offense and defense. They'll move the ball liberally, take lots of chances and fly all over the field in pursuit of a game-changing play. After trading blows for nearly all 60 minutes, the outcome will boil down to the play of the quarterbacks. Green will get robbed by underexposed Fresno State ball-hawk Phillip Thomas, while Carr will engineer the game-winning drive for his Bulldogs.

CFN Prediction: Fresno State 37 … Tulsa 35
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Fresno State -6 O/U: 69.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Ray Lewis: A Football Life, 1 – Frankenweenie): 2.5