CoogFans' Tulsa update

The Golden Hurricane are now eyeing a Conference USA West title, but they will have to go through Houston on Saturday night first.

Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Conference USA

2010 Record: (6-3, 3-2)
2009 Record: (5-7, 3-5)
2009 Bowl: none
Coach: Todd Graham (32-17 at Tulsa, 39-23 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Herb Hand and Chad Morris
Defensive Coordinator: Keith Patterson and Paul Randolph

Current Leaders Rushing: Alex Singleton, RB, 363 yards
Passing: G.J. Kinne, QB, 2,422 yards
Receiving: Damaris Johnson, WR, 532 yards
Tackles: Curnelius Arnick, LB, 79
Sacks: Shawn Jackson, LB, 3.5; Odrick Ray, DT, 3.5; Tyrunn Walker, DE, 3.5
Interceptions: Dexter McCoil, S, 4

Other Key Players: G Clint Anderson, LB Tanner Antle, TE Charles Clay, DE Cory Dorris, RB Ja'Terian Douglas, C Trent Dupy, CB John Flanders, S DeWitt Jennings, WR Trae Johnson, OT Tyler Holmes, S Marco Nelson

After winning at Notre Dame on October 30th, Tulsa was on a roll. Not only did the Golden Hurricane win just their second road game of the season, with the first being against a very bad Memphis team, but so far that is Tulsa's signature win. Coach Todd Graham followed up the victory over the Irish with an easy win over Rice. That has put the team at 6-3 and bowl eligible, but bigger things are to come. The Golden Hurricane are now eyeing a Conference USA West title, but they will have to go through Houston on Saturday night first.

Strengths:
The offense averages nearly 500 yards per game and few teams have had any success trying to stop them. The offensive line has been dominating and that has led to a very surprising statistic. Tulsa ranks 17th in the nation and first in the conference in rushing offense. This group does not have a single great back, but Alex Singleton, Ja'Terian Douglas and Trey Watts have done a great job with their opportunities. Having an H-back like Charles Clay who can also run, a wide receiver who has rushed for 339 yards in Damaris Johnson and a quarterback who can scramble with the best of them certainly helps. Yet, this is Conference-USA and G.J. Kinne passes for nearly 300 yards per game and has thrown 20 touchdown passes. The wide receivers have a superstar in Johnson. He has only caught 39 passes for three touchdowns, but he is a big play receiver. Johnson is also a big time running threat and an always dangerous returner. After Johnson, the receiving corps is much like the group at running back. There are a ton of different players who have plenty of talent and could end up having a huge game. Clay, Trae Johnson, Ricky Johnson, Thomas Roberson, Jameel Owens, Genesis Cole and Willie Carter are all dangerous receivers and figuring out which one of them will step up and compliment Damaris Johnson is not an easy feat.

Weaknesses:
No team in the nation gives up more passing yards than Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane pretty much run a 3-3-5 defense, but that has not helped. The front three has done a decent job of getting to the opposing quarterback, but the pressure has not been enough to stop most teams from throwing all over the Golden Hurricane. Cory Dorris, Odrick Ray and Tyrunn Walker will have to get into the backfield more often and allow the talented linebackers, led by Curnelis Arnick, to spend a little more time in coverage. Ray and Walker have both tallied 3.5 sacks on the season, so they can certainly make an impact, but they have to do more to beat a team like Houston. Cornerbacks John Flanders and Charles Davis are experienced players, but they have been tested week in and week out and usually come up short. The rest of the secondary is relatively young and they are running out of time to grow up if they hope to reach the conference title game.

The Bottom Line:
The win at Notre Dame was huge for Tulsa for multiple reasons. Beating Notre Dame always provides a nice boost in confidence, but more importantly the Golden Hurricane went into a hostile environment and won. This team's three losses were all on the road at the hands of East Carolina, Oklahoma State and Southern Methodist. The Golden Hurricane hung around against ECU and SMU, but they could not get the job done. Now they have the confidence they need to go into a hostile environment like Houston and actually believe they can win. It will not be that easy, but Tulsa's conference title hopes are on the line. If they can get by Houston, Tulsa will need some help to win the West, but with two home games left following the trip to Houston, Coach Graham has to like his chances of winning out if he can pull off a victory this weekend.

2010 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 214.11 (17th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 280.56 (19, 3)
Total Offense: 494.67 (7, 1)
Scoring Offense: 40.11 (11, 2)
Rushing Defense: 123.33 (30, 3)
Pass Defense: 318.44 (120, 12)
Total Defense: 441.78 (108, 9)
Scoring Defense: 28.44 (76, 5)
Turnover Margin: 1.11 (8, 1)
Sacks: 2.11 (48, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 1.89 (58, 8)

2010 Results:
September 5th at East Carolina: 49-51
September 11th vs. Bowling Green: 33-20
September 18th at Oklahoma State: 28-65
September 25th vs. Central Arkansas: 41-14
October 2nd at Memphis: 48-7
October 9th at Southern Methodist: 18-21
October 16th vs. Tulane: 52-24
October 30th at Notre Dame: 28-27
November 6th vs. Rice: 62-27


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