Jacksonville State Gamecocks (3-0, ASUN) vs Tulsa Golden Hurricane (1-1, American)
Time and Date: 7:00 PM ET, September 17
Broadcast Network: ESPN+
Location: H.A. Chapman Stadium - Tulsa, OK
ESPN FPI: Tulsa, 87%
All-Time Series: This is the first time Tulsa and Jacksonville State will face off against one another.
17 of Tulsa’s past 24 games have been decided by a touchdown or less (71%). It looked like they were going to buck the trend against Northern Illinois as halftime approached. Tulsa got the ball with less than two and a half minutes in the half and successfully completed their two minute drill. Redshirt QB Davis Brin completed a 38-yard pass, scrambled for 10 more yards on the next play, and then finished off the drive with a 20-yard touchdown throw. Tulsa were now firmly in command 24-7 going into the half.
However, they call Phillip Montgomery’s Golden Hurricane the “Cardiac Canes” for a reason. The NIU Huskies came roaring back in the third quarter. The Huskies scored with ease after receiving the first half kickoff. Then, they successfully converted an onside kick and scored another touchdown with minimal resistance. After Tulsa missed a field goal, NIU scored on their third possession of the quarter to take 28-24 lead.
Just as they have for the past two seasons, Tulsa looked to their two offensive stars to get them back on track. QB Davis Brin and WR Keylon Stokes were clearly the two best football players on the field. Tulsa regained their lead after they went for it on fourth and goal and Brin found Stokes in space for a needed touchdown.
Tulsa eventually survived more late game drama to get the win, 38-35. While Coach Montgomery’s squad is happy to avoid an 0-2 start and another one score loss, they are going to have to fix their defense in a hurry. For a second consecutive game, Tulsa rarely put pressure on the quarterback and got burned by chunk plays. It only gets more difficult from here as the Golden Hurricane are set to face two of football’s best offensive-minded coaches in consecutive weeks in Rich Rodriguez and Lane Kiffin. The defensive staff has to figure things out in a hurry.
Meanwhile, Rich Rodriguez is back as a head coach with the Jacksonville State University Gamecocks. JSU is riding high after starting the season 3-0 and outscoring their opponents by a combined 111-37. Their last game was a dominate victory on both sides of the ball as they beat FCS Murray State 34-3.
The Gamecocks are led by their versatile dual threat quarterback, Zion Webb. In his second game of the season Webb threw for two touchdowns and rushed for three more on the ground. If there is a knock against the senior signal-caller, it is that he has been far too casual with the ball in his hands. Through three games, Webb has thrown four interceptions and lost a fumble.
While there should be a clear talent disparity in favor of the Golden Hurricane in this game, JSU should have a coaching advantage and are well rested. Rich Rod won the Sugar Bowl with Big East West Virginia and took Arizona to the Fiesta Bowl. Furthermore, while Jacksonville State have already played three games, they got to rest their starters in the second half of last week’s game.
This is a massive trap game for Tulsa. This may not be the cakewalk their fans think it will be based on what we’ve seen from the Golden Hurricane defense. Ultimately, the two best players on the football field should be Davis Brin and Keylon Stokes and that is why Tulsa should win. Final Score - 40-28.