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Friday, October 20, 2017

Football

Cougars primed to beat a struggling Tulsa team


Dating back to 2005, Tulsa has won the Western division of Conference USA four times while UH has layed claim to three. | Justin Tijerina/The Daily Cougar

The football team travels to Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday to face a Golden Hurricane team on a four-game losing streak. | File photo/The Cougar

After a tough stretch of games early in the season, the Cougars may have an easy game coming up.

The Cougars travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday to face a struggling Golden Hurricane team. Coming in on a four-game losing streak and a 1-5 record, Tulsa is sitting at the bottom of the American Athletic Conference — a far cry from the team it was last year.

In 2016, head coach Philip Montgomery led the Golden Hurricane to a 10-3 record and a 55-10 win against Central Michigan in the Miami Beach Bowl, an immediate improvement from the team’s 6-7 record in Montgomery’s first year.

Behind quarterback Dane Evans, the Golden Hurricane had the sixth best total offense in the NCAA. Ranking above teams like Alabama, Texas Tech and Baylor, Tulsa averaged 526 yards per game and scored 42.5 points per game.

The Golden Hurricane ended the year in second place in the AAC West Division. A two-point loss to the Navy Midshipmen kept them out of the championship game.

Coming into 2017, some were predicting Montgomery’s team would again compete for a conference title, despite the loss of Evans, but that has not been the case.

After an opening day loss to then No. 10 Oklahoma State, Tulsa earned its first and only win against Louisiana-Lafayette. The Golden Hurricane scored 66 points in their victory but gave up 42.

A combination of defensive inefficiency and bad luck has plagued the Golden Hurricane this season. Against Toldeo and New Mexico, the Golden Hurricane lost both games by only three points: 51-54 against Toledo and 13-16 against New Mexico.

Even when they have kept the score close, the offense has not been able to get over the hump. Against Navy at home, Tulsa could not close the ten-point differential that Navy rode to victory.

Luck ran out this weekend as the Golden Hurricane were beaten 28-62 at Tulane, a team near the bottom of the conference nearly every season.

As it stands, the Golden Hurricane own the No. 24 best offense in the NCAA in terms of total yardage. The Cougars will arrive at Tulsa facing a team that has the tools to score on offense. Running backs D’Angelo Brewer and Shamari Brooks have six touchdowns each, and quarterback Chad President, who despite only completing 56 percent of his passes, has five rushing touchdowns.

If the Cougars execute their game plan, and if a little luck is on their side, they should leave Tulsa with their third consecutive conference victory.

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