Scouting the Opponent: Tulsa

SMU puts its 2-0 conference record on the line this week when the Tulsa Golden Hurricane comes to town Saturday night. Who are the key players to watch for the opposition?

Tulsa (3-2, 1-1 C-USA) is known for lighting up the scoreboard and with good reason: the Golden Hurricane is averaging a robust 39.8 points per game this season.

It all starts under center with QB G.J. Kinne, who is completing 62% of his passes (117-188, 1420 yards, 13 TDs). While Kinne has been accurate with the bulk of his attempts, he's shown a propensity to throw the occasional interception (six on the season). That could bode well for SMU's secondary, which got into the scoring column early last week on Sterling Moore's pick-six vs. Rice.

Kinne spreads the wealth, having completed double-digit passes to seven targets. WR Damaris Johnson, who hails from the same high school as SMU freshman Ashton Duhe (Destrehan, La.), is tied for the team lead with 19 receptions.

Senior halfback Charles Clay, who has also grabbed 19 passes, leads Tulsa with four TD catches. Clay has exceptional size at 6-foot-3, 235 pounds.

The diminutive Johnson serves as an additional thread in the return game, averaging almost 27 yards per kickoff return and nearly 12 yards on punt returns.

Bruising running back Alex Singleton, another south Louisiana product (East St. John HS), is the top ground-gainer. Singleton is averaging just over five yards per carry (42-222) with three touchdowns. He turned down the opportunity to play fullback for LSU, in order to play halfback in Tulsa's wide-open offense.

On defense, former JUCO All-American Tyrunn Walker has made quite a statement. The defensive end is tied with DT Odrick Ray for the team lead in sacks (2.5). Walker is also tied for sixth in tackles (19).

The Golden Hurricane, ranked No. 98 in the nation in points allowed, was shaky early in the season on defense, but the troops have rallied over the past two games. Last week, Tulsa only gave up seven points against Memphis.

Linebacker Curnelius Arnick, a 6-foot-1, 230-pound junior, is tops on the squad with 48 tackles.

True frosh Marco Nelson has three interceptions, while 6-foot-4 safety Dexter McCoil has swiped two passes. Nelson had an 81-yard interception return for a TD earlier this year vs. Oklahoma State.

Kicker Kevin Fitzpatrick has converted 9-of-12 field goals.

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