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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Commentary

The Opposition: Tulsa brings ‘fun, fast and physical’ football to the table


David Piland scrambles for yards as Tulsa defensive end Cory Dorris is in hot pursuit. | Justin Tijerina /The Daily Cougar

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Cougar asked the The Collegian’s sports editor Matt Rechtien to write about the matchup against Houston. Here’s what he had to say.

It’s not often that you’re excited after a loss, but that’s what the consensus is for the Golden Hurricane after their last game. Yes it was still a loss, but to only lose by two touchdowns, on the road, against a top-ranked Oklahoma team, while still putting up 600 yards of offense for a third straight game; that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Now they’re looking to bring that high-flying offense into conference play when Houston (3–0) comes to town.

This is not the same team that went 2–10 last year or 3–9 the year before or that lost to Houston at home last year. Under new head coach Philip Montgomery, this is a team that wants to play “fun, fast and physical football.” And that’s how exactly how the offense is built.

This is a team that is going to run a lot of plays as their 90 plays per game average is third in the country. They are averaging over 600 yards of total offense (fourth in nation) in large part due to junior quarterback Dane Evans who has thrown for over 1,100 yards so far this season.

In order to play their style of football this game, Tulsa will need to air it out because running the ball against this Houston team has been a nightmare for their opponents so far this season. No single rusher has had more than 44 yards against them, and no team has made it to the 100-yard plateau this season.

The good news is that Keyarris Garrett and Keevan Lucas will be catching those footballs, and they are two of the top wide receivers in the country averaging over 150 and 110 yards per-game, respectively.

Will Tulsa put up points against the Cougars? Yes, a team that’s managed to put up at least 600 yards and 38 points every game is going to score. The bad news for Tulsa is that football is one of those sports where you need to score more points than you allow. That’s the challenge for the Golden Hurricane. Much like it has been for the last two seasons, their defense leaves something to be desired.

Tulsa ranks 120th for defense in the country, allowing an average of 575 yards per-game to their opponents—200 more yards than the Cougars. The biggest struggle has been the run-defense. Every opponent has run for over 200 yards against the Golden Hurricane this season, and Houston, led by Greg Ward Jr., will look to do the same on Saturday.

What this means for the Golden Hurricane is that they will need to take advantage of every offensive possession and maintain a bend-don’t-break mentality on defense. Let’s face it; this game has all the makings of a shootout. With two of the top-ten offenses in the country, who both average over 40 points a game, how could it not be?

Tulsa will need to be at the top of their game to win this one. Houston is one of the best unranked teams in the country, and they want in. The Golden Hurricane can’t make any mistakes or errors, because if they do, the Cougars will be there to pounce at every opportunity.

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