Last week, I was just slightly off on my prediction, huh? I had Ohio State winning 38-17 over Bowling Green, and the Buckeyes more than exceeded my expectations with a young team. That said, I expect the Golden Hurricane to put up much more of a fight. Tulsa’s offensive attack is no joke. They put up 38 on Oklahoma last season in Norman, and quarterback Dane Evans is a seasoned vet. He threw for 4,332 yards a season ago and appears to have a running game to support him this year. While the Ohio State secondary looked solid in week 1, I expect them to be tested this week and maybe even allow a big play or two.
Offensively, the Buckeyes’ 77-point showing in week 1 is either a sign of things to come or a result of poor competition. While I do not expect another 77-point explosion, I do think Ohio State puts up plenty of points. Tulsa allowed only 10 points in its opener against San Jose State but was ranked 126 out of 128 teams in total defense, allowing 536.6 yards per game a season ago. In case you missed it, Ohio State put up 776 yards against Bowling Green, a program record.
I expect a lot of points in this one, with maybe a few interceptions thrown in as well. Also, Tyler Durbin attempts and makes his first career field goal.
SCORE: Ohio State 45, Tulsa 24
I expect Ohio State’s game against Tulsa to be much like the season opener vs. Bowling Green. Another week of practice and film sessions for the new starters and substitutes in addition to the confidence gained from their week 1 performances can only help the Buckeyes going into Saturday’s game.
Furthermore, Bowling Green indirectly prepared the OSU defense for Tulsa. Both the Falcons and Golden Hurricane like to play fast on offense, and the Buckeye defense has already shown it can handle a high-tempo attack. It allowed only three points to the Bowling Green offense and held the Falcons to less than 100 yards rushing.
Offensively for the Buckeyes, I expect quarterback J.T. Barrett to have another remarkable game this weekend. The Golden Hurricane lost a couple of seniors in the secondary from a year ago, so I expect Barrett to take advantage of a somewhat inexperi- enced Tulsa defensive backfield. The Golden Hurricane will probably attempt to contain H-back Curtis Samuel after seeing him obliterate Bowling Green’s defense for 261 total yards and three touchdowns. With that said, other weapons such as receivers Dontre Wilson or Noah Brown may have big games for the Buckeyes.
Lastly, Tulsa will find the end zone once against the Buckeye defense simply because it is difficult to prevent two different teams from scoring a touchdown in consecutive games. Conversely, do not expect Barrett to spot the opposition seven points in back-to-back weeks.
SCORE: Ohio State 63, Tulsa 13
Heading into Ohio State’s matchup with Bowling Green, it certainly seemed like going conservative was a good idea. Well, it wasn’t, and I’d be hard-pressed to make that mistake twice in a row.
Did Ohio State beating the Falcons 77-10 make me think the Buckeyes are the best team in the nation? No, not necessarily, but it certainly showed me that the team is much further along that I had previously expected. That said, Tulsa looked pretty good in its opener, too, beating San Jose State, 45-10. Sure, San Jose State isn’t a premier program, but neither is Tulsa.
The Golden Hurricane is definitely better than Bowling Green, but Saturday’s game in the Horseshoe will tell us exactly how much better it is. The Buckeye defense – despite allowing just three points (the other seven came via an interception return) – looked leaky at times last Saturday. If that’s the case again this week, then Tulsa is going to score some points.
How many points? Well, still not enough to keep up with the Buckeyes. For all I know, Ohio State’s offense really is that good and the Buckeyes will post 60-70 points this week. Or the team could get a minor reality check and post a measly 40-something points.
With J.T. Barrett and Curtis Samuel leading the charge, I expect the Buckeyes to be closer to last week’s offensive output, and at the end of the day the defense will be just fine.
Sept. 17 has always been and still is the date when we’ll learn how good this Ohio State team already is.
SCORE: Ohio State 59, Tulsa 21
Well, now what?
Are the Buckeyes really as good as the 77-10 shellacking of Bowling Green that included a number of historical achievements in the realm of points scored and yards gained? Or was that merely an outlier, an exaggeration of OSU’s talents brought on by facing an overwhelmed opponent?
We’ll begin answering those questions over the next two weeks. First, OSU faces a Tulsa team that should provide a better challenge, then the Buckeyes travel to take on what should be a wounded Oklahoma team on Sept. 17.
But we’ll worry about that contest next week and focus here on the Golden Hurricane, which is coming off a 45-10 drubbing of San Jose State. With a four year starter at quarterback in Dane Evans and good talent on hand, Tulsa was expected to shine on offense this year, and that was the case in game one. But the big surprise for the Golden Hurricane was the defense, which allowed more than 535 yards per game last year but held SJSU to 287.
Of course, their degree of difficulty ramps up this week, and while OSU outgunned BG, there was plenty to like about the Buckeyes, from an efficient J.T. Barrett to a strong running game to a dependable offensive line to a bevy of receivers getting open.
I’d expect the Buckeyes to keep rolling this week. The defense will be tested some more, but not enough to keep the Scarlet and Gray from 2-0.
SCORE: Ohio State 51, Tulsa 24
We all had a lot of questions for Ohio State heading into the opener, and, man, did the Buckeyes deliver some emphatic answers. I was relatively conservative with my score, though I did expect the Buckeyes to score points. What surprised me more was the excellent play of the defense against Bowling Green.
Moving forward, I expect that to continue. Tulsa, coached by Art Briles disciple Philip Montgomery, will move with tempo against the Buckeyes and mix in more run than it did a year ago, but even without Tracy Sprinkle I expect Ohio State to shut down the Golden Hurricane on the ground and force a one-dimensional attack. The Tulsa offense was expected to be a high-powered attack, and it delivered on those expectations with 45 points against San Jose State. I think the Golden Hurricane will put at least a few points on the board against Ohio State, but it won’t be nearly enough.
And that’s because I expect the Ohio State offense to keep rolling. Tulsa was dreadful defensively last year, and I expect those tendencies to surface in Ohio Stadium. J.T. Barrett will continue to distribute the ball with confidence, and Mike Weber will post his second straight 100-yard performance as the Buckeyes tune up for Oklahoma. The score won’t be as out of hand as week 1, and I doubt the Buckeyes will set another yardage record, but the result will be in doubt for about as long as it was against the Falcons as Ohio State rolls to 2-0.
SCORE: Ohio State 45, Tulsa 13