The Monarchs and the Golden Hurricane fought for every inch this season and each went on their own impressive winning streaks to end the season and claim bowl eligibility. Tulsa fought through a concerning amount of injuries and the Monarchs needed more time than they thought to shake off the dust that came with not playing football at all in 2020. Nevertheless, both teams had leaders step up to keep their teams’ postseason hopes alive and added to their own resumes in the process.
Sportsbooks are predicting a close, physical game despite the dings to both teams from throughout the season. Per DraftKings, Tulsa is a 9.5-point favorite with the over/under set at 53 points.
Keep an eye on these players who have the chance to let the nation know what they can really do in the Myrtle Beach Bowl.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Jaxon Player, DT - Tulsa
An imposing six-foot, 294-pound presence in the middle, Player is third in the AAC in tackles for loss (12.5). The senior from Waco will provide a tough challenge for a young Old Dominion offensive line and quarterback that lacks the mobility of many other starting quarterbacks we’ve seen so far this postseason.
Player was also named a third-team All-American by Pro Football Focus in 2021 and was an All-AAC selection in 2020.
Hayden Wolff, QB - Old Dominion
Earlier this season, Wolff replaced the more mobile DJ Mack at starting quarterback and quickly grew comfortable in the role. The redshirt freshman has completed 62 percent of his passes for 1,757 yards, 10 touchdowns and six interceptions this season. Wolff averaged 195.2 passing yards playing nine games this season. Averaging 36 points in their last five games, ODU will rely on Wolff to orchestrate their effective, pro-style offense.
At 6’5” and 219 pounds, the Myrtle Beach Bowl should give fans an idea of what Wolff’s ceiling is for the rest of his college career.
Shamari Brooks, RB - Tulsa
A fifth-year senior, running back Shamari Brooks is just 30 yards shy of becoming Tulsa’s second all-time leading rusher. In the last four games, Brooks has carried 73 times for 334 yards. That comes out to 4.5 yards per carry and roughly 18 carries per game. His chances to hit that milestone are good. Old Dominion will not make it easy, however, with the Monarchs allowing 3.5 yards per carry.
Throughout his career at Tulsa, he has amassed 3,622 rushing yards. Brooks has rushed for 922 yards and six TDs on 192 carries in 2021. Brooks is the AAC’s third leading rusher this season. After rebounding from an ACL injury that kept him out for the entire 2020 season, Brooks hitting the 1,000-yard mark for the second time in his college career would be a great way to wrap the year up.
Zack Kuntz, TE - Old Dominion
A grad transfer from Penn State, Kuntz has 71 catches for 674 yards on the season. He’s also been an incredibly solid target in the red zone, who has connected with ODU QBs for five touchdowns this season. Kuntz went over 100 yards receiving twice this season and had a reception of at-least 20 yards in seven different contests.
Expect the 6’8”, 245 pounder to make a significant impact on this game both blocking and catching passes.