Friday, September 10, 2010

25 Questions About Tulsa...

What is their body of work?

Coming into their last season, they had been 21-7 over the previous two years, and last season found them at 4-1.  From there, they were 1-6 and the one win was an overtime win over a poor Memphis team.  So, they certainly have been successful in recent years.  The recent work has been less inspiring.

What is their best recent result?

They had close losses to Boise and a ranked Houston team.  They have won their last two bowl games and beat a ranked but overrated UCF team in 2008.

What is their worst recent result?

Other than the Hail Mary loss to East Carolina, they lost @UTEP last year and lost 70-30 to Houston the year before.

What is their turnover ratio?

Like many high octane offenses, this is just not as important as it is for teams that have other styles.  They have not had a plus turnover since 2005.  Yet, they have won many games.


How is their QB Play?

Their QB is really good.  GJ Kinne is a dual-threat run/pass guy who transferred from Texas.  He threw for 399 yards on 65% passing against East Carolina.  I think his numbers from last year were a little down because he had an inexperienced supporting cast and it was his first year starting.  Based on the opening game, he's a really good QB.

What was their scoring and yards per play?

They opened up with some playstation numbers--49 points and 6.9 yards per play.  Last year, their scoring was a little down--29 points per game and 5.7 yards per play.

Can they run the ball?

In the ECU game, their offense average 4.4 yards per carry, which is pretty good.  However, that isn't the whole story.  Almost one third of their yards came from WR Damaris Johnson in the "wildcat."  Both Kinne (2.7) and RB Trey Watts (3.1) were less effective.  So in general, they did fine a way to run the ball, but you can expect something different from their base set and the "wildcat."  The year before, they certainly tried to run the ball, but only average 3.8 yards per carry.

Do they pass the ball?


How is their run/pass balance?

Last year they ran on 55% of their offensive plays, while their play selection normalized a little bit in the East Carolina game to 50/50.

Do they convert on 3rd Down.

They were a crazy 11 out of 14 last week, but an ordinary 39% the year before.

Do they score in the red zone?

Well, the ECU numbers were crazy.  They had 7 trips, 5 TDs and 1 FG.  Last year they got 4 points per trip, which is very average.

Do they protect the quarterback?

They did give up a lot of sacks last year--46.  Even given the number of passes they throw, that's a lot--about 6.7% of their passing attempts.  The line was inexperienced last year.  They only gave up 1 to ECU and are hoping that is the sign of improvement.

In general, the ECU game would give you the idea that this team is ready to reclaim its high powered offensive heritage.  They struggled last year, but have very good skilled players.  From reading the coverage this week, they are counting on 40+ scoring to compete this year.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

Well, suffice it to say that the performance against East Carolina was a horror show.  51 points, 27 first downs, 6.6 yards per play, and those 51 points came with only 2 red zone trips.  Our correspondent noted earlier today that there were injuries at safety (both of them) that hurt them defensively, and it would appear that at least one of them will not play Saturday.  Last year, they allowed 27 points per game, which has been pretty typical.

Do they defend the run effectively?

East Carolina got 4.6 yards per carry against them.  Typically, run defense has not been a strength, and their line and linebackers were rated in the bottom third of the conference coming into the season.  They had the same tackling problems BG had in their opener.

Could they be passed on?

Again, based on our correspondent, youth and depth in the d-backfield was an issue to start the season, and injuries only made it worse.  They gave up 383 yards against East Carolina.  You'd like to think that if BG has a shot in this game, we're going to have to exploit this.

Did they get off the field on 3rd down?

They allowed only 38% against East Carolina, which is pretty low given they scored 51 points.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They allowed TDs on both red zone trips on Sunday.  Last year, they were pretty good in the red zone, with less than 4 points per trip.

Do they pressure the QB?

They had 1 sack against ECU and only 25 last year.  If they are going to pressure the QB, they have yet to show it.

Bowling Green will have to score to compete in this game.  It appears that is something we can do.

Special Teams:


Michael Such is back as the punter.  He only punted twice Sunday, but he did have 37.5 yards per punt net last year, which is pretty good.

Punt Return?

Damaris Johnson is the Jernal Jernigan for Tulsa.  He averaged over 14 yards per punt return last year (with a TD) and had a nice game against ECU.  We're going to have to be very careful with this part of the game.


Kevin Fitzpatrick is back as kicker.  He is pretty good.  He went 13 for 14 last year, and his only miss was over 50 yards.  He did have a FG blocked against the Pirates.


Tulsa kicked off 9 times Sunday....their opponents averaged starting at the 32, which is slightly worse than normal.

Kickoff Return?

See above: Johnson.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

It is Tulsa's home opener, and when they are good, they are tough to beat at home.

Both teams are coming off last second losses.  Who will respond better?

Finally, the environment around the Golden Hurricanes has been pretty toxic this week.  As I said earlier in the week, the test for them is whether this turns into a trend, or whether they right the ship and turn it around.

Going into the season, I was pretty sure Tulsa would win this game.  Clearly, they are still the favorites.  However, I do think that if BG can score, we have a shot to stay in the game and win it.

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