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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Football

The opposition: Previewing UH football against Tulsa


UH football is coming off a second half comeback win against Navy to open up American Athletic Conference play. | James Schillinger/The Cougar

UH football is coming off a second half comeback win against Navy to open up American Athletic Conference play. | James Schillinger/The Cougar

At 3-1, Houston is off to its best start under head coach Dana Holgorsen and is looking to keep the momentum going Friday night as the Cougars travel to Tulsa to take on the Golden Hurricane.

Here is everything you need to know about the matchup:

Golden Hurricane offense

After a slow start to the season, Tulsa junior quarterback Davis Brin has found his stride. Brin has thrown for over 350 yards in consecutive weeks including five touchdown passes — and this has all been without Keylon Stokes, Tulsa’s top receiver from the past three seasons.

Regardless of if Stokes plays Friday, the Golden Hurricane offense is loaded at depth at receiver led by Josh Johnson, JuanCarlos Santana and Sam Crawford Jr, each of whom has double-digit receptions and over 200 receiving yards on the season.

Tulsa’s run game has also been rolling, averaging five yards per carry and a total of 187.75 yards on the ground per game.

Shamari Brooks, who led Tulsa in rushing in 2018 and 2019, leads the Golden Hurricane offense with 292 rushing yards on 52 carries. Deneric Prince and Anthony Watkins split time in the backfield with Brooks, with Prince averaging 5.6 yards per carry and Watkins leading the team with 10.3 yards per carry.

Golden Hurricane defense

Despite giving up nearly 400 yards a game, the Tulsa defense is better than the numbers show.

The 122 points allowed through Tulsa’s first four games cannot all be blamed on the defense. Six turnovers which were either taken back to the house or set up the opposing offense in prime territory along special teams miscues resulting in three touchdowns have accounted for a large portion of the total points the Golden Hurricane has allowed.

Even with being put in unfavorable positions, the Golden Hurricane has held its own and done a good job limiting the damage after their offense has turned the ball over.

The Tulsa defense has been trending upward in the turnover game, forcing a total of four turnovers in their last two games.

How does UH match up with Tulsa?

Tulsa has struggled on special teams, giving up two kickoff return and one punt return touchdowns in its first four games.

UH has one of the country’s top punt returners in senior Marcus Jones, who has taken punts to the house in consecutive weeks and could make it three weeks in a row against a struggling Golden Hurricane return defensive unit.

Turnovers have been the Achilles’ heel for Tulsa, playing a big role in the Golden Hurricane’s 1-3 start.

Brin has struggled to protect the ball, throwing five interceptions on the season. The UH defense has been much improved in the turnover game, creating at least one turnover in every game this season.

How to watch

The game will kickoff at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN and can also be listened to at KPRC 950 AM.

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