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Wednesday, October 4, 2023


TULSA FOOTBALL: Tulsa aims to contain UH offense

The Tulsa Golden Hurricane is hoping to rebound from a disappointing loss against SMU last weekend with an upset of No. 13 UH on Saturday.

Tulsa trailed SMU by’ 7 points’ with 5:31 to play when head coach Todd Graham decided to go for a fourth-and-19. The pass was batted down and SMU scored again to make the final score 27-13.

‘Going back and looking at the film and to conclude last week’s game a bit, we didn’t play very well,’ Graham said at a press conference Monday. ‘The biggest thing was we didn’t block very well and didn’t protect very well on offense.’

Tulsa got off to a good start this year with a 4-1 record, but has since lost three straight, including another conference loss to UTEP.

‘It was disappointing for us,’ Graham said. ‘Basically, we lost a close game out in El Paso and then came back here. We’re losing the close games and we have to get back on track.’

Despite their current skid, Tulsa is optimistic about playing the Cougars and Graham knows his team is going to be ready.

‘We’re playing the best offense in the country this week and one of the best teams in the country,’ Graham said. ‘We have a great opportunity. Our guys are motivated and excited about the opportunity of having Houston come in here.’

The Cougars will enter Saturday’s game ranked first in the Football Bowl Subdivision in total offense, with a dynamic passing attack led by Heisman hopeful Case Keenum, who is coming off of a career game against Southern Miss.

Graham thinks Keenum deserves all the accolades he is receiving.

‘He’s as good as there is,’ Graham said. ‘I don’t think there’s a better player in the country than him. His knowledge of the system and what he does for (UH) is tremendous.’

Tulsa knows that it won’t be able to shut down the UH offense. If the Golden Hurricane has any hope of winning, it’ll have to outscore the Cougars in a shootout.

‘You have to score points,’ Graham said. ‘There’s no question about that. You look at every game they’ve played this year and they’ve scored points. We feel like you have to contain them. They’re going to have their plays. We have to keep them from having one-play touchdowns and big strikes. We have to score 30-plus points.’

If anyone can do that, Tulsa certainly can, but its offense has struggled in recent weeks and may not have the services of starting quarterback G.J. Kinne. Kinne, who transferred from Texas, suffered a concussion early in the game against SMU and his status for the UH game is uncertain.

‘If he’s ready, he’s definitely our starter,’ Graham said.

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