Location: Yulman Stadium - New Orleans, LA
Date: Saturday, November 13
Time: 3:00 p.m. CT
Records: , Tulsa 3-6 (2-3 AAC), Tulane 1-8 (0-5 AAC)
Betting Line: Tulsa -3.0, O/U 58.5
All-Time Series: Tulsa leads 12-5
Last Meeting: Tulsa 30, Tulane 24 (September 19, 2020)
Quick Hits: The Golden Hurricane enter this game knowing they most likely must win out to gain bowl eligibility. Tulsa is coming off a hard-fought loss to Cincinnati in which they had their chances to upset the Bearcats but ultimately fell short at the goal line (several times). Several players on their roster are currently listed as questionable for Saturday’s contest including running back Deneric Prince, safety Kendarin Ray, receiver Keylon Stokes, and defensive lineman Tyarise Stevenson.
Tulane is riding a seven-game losing streak that began all the way back in September and is still searching for their first FBS win. Despite close games against quality opponents like UCF last week, the Green Wave remain the only team in that has yet to pick up a conference win the AAC this year. There is no hope for a return trip to a bowl game at this point but the Wave have their eyes set on finishing the season strong.
From Tulsa’s Perspective: If the Golden Hurricane can take anything away from their respectable loss against Cincy last week it’s that they are a very talented team. The Bearcats, whom many believe could be a Playoff team, surrendered nearly 300 rush yards to Tulsa and that’s good news for head coach Philip Montgomery as his squad now prepares to face a Tulane defense that certainly isn’t on the same plane as Cincinnati’s.
Running backs Shamari Brooks and Anthony Watkins look to lead the charge yet again this weekend. The duo are the top two rushers on the team currently, combining for well over 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns this season. Watkins averages 8.4 yards per run while Brooks is easily the team’s leading ball carrier with 144 touches. It’s a formula that’s worked this season and there’s no reason to believe they’ll turn away from it now.
Quarterback Davis Brin is also having a very productive season. He’s surpassed the 2,000-yard passing mark and has thrown 12 touchdowns (easily the best numbers of his career thus far). He is the only player on Tulsa’s roster to attempt a pass all season meaning that he is the guy that makes the areal attack go.
It certainly helps when he has receivers like Josh Johnson and J.C. Santana to work with. Johnson leads the team with 638 yards on 51 catches and Santana is right behind him with 491 yards on 34 receptions. The duo is complimented by Sam Crawford Jr. who has a team-best four touchdown catches. Brin has options and he’ll most likely use all of them on Saturday against a Green Wave defense that is giving up almost 300 pass yards per contest.
Tulsa’s defense boasts a pair of ball-hawking DBs that could make life difficult for Tulane quarterback Michael Pratt. Tyon Davis and Travon Fuller are a dynamic force on the back end with Davis leading the team in tackles with 58 and Fuller nabbing two interceptions so far this year. Each also has seven defended passes. They’ve allowed Tulsa to remain in several games this season and will again be a key in this one.
From Tulane’s Perspective: Head coach Willie Fritz is in unfamiliar territory with his Green Wave right now and trying to keep the team rallied together in the midst of a lost season will be made easier with a win here. If that is to happen, two major things must first occur.
The first is that Tulane’s defense must continue to build on the positive momentum its acquired over the last two weeks. Remember, the Wave D had them right in that game with Cincy two weeks ago and last week they held a scary UCF offense in check. Despite losing both of those games, there’s been much improvement in that department.
Linebacker Dorian Williams has helped greatly. Williams has a team-high 56 tackles and has recovered a fumble this season. When he and defensive lineman JoJo Dorceus are on, Tulane’s defense is that much better. Dorceus, the transfer from Memphis, had a big game against the Knights last week with seven stops and a fumble recovery. If these two can lock things down in the middle against a good Tulsa ground game then the Wave will have a chance.
Offensively, the Green Wave is glad to have Pratt back under center after taking a scary last month. His return to play last week was undoubtedly a huge factor in keeping that game close. Pratt has thrown for 1,754 yards and 16 touchdowns this year and has only tossed five interceptions.
His favorite receiver this season has been tight end Tyrick James. James has put up career-best numbers with Pratt throwing his way having caught 27 passes for 380 yards three touchdowns in 2021. Expect him to be targeted often again on Saturday.
It’s Tulane’s rushing game, however, that’s been relatively quiet this year, at least compared to what many expected. Running back Cameron Carroll only has two rushing scores to his name this season and had 12 total last year. Carroll has performed well as a pass catcher, however, hauling in 15 passes for 191 yards and two more scores. Tyjae Spears also features into Tulane’s ground attack as he leads the team with five rushing scores.
Final Thoughts: This game could be interesting because Tulsa is desperate while Tulane has nothing to lose. The Green Wave, in spite of recent losses, are steadily trending up but Tulsa just took a juggernaut to the wire. Winning out is of the utmost importance for both these programs for very different reasons and all of that will culminate in a good game on Saturday. If Tulane can avoid turnovers and keep Pratt upright then they have a chance but conversely, if Tulsa can do the same with Brin they'll be in really good position. Ultimately, it’s hard to pick against a team that just kept Cincy on the ropes, especially going against an opponent that has yet to pick up an FBS win.
Prediction: Tulsa 27 - Tulane 24