Start Time: 8:00 P.M. ET, Saturday, Sept. 12
Location: University Stadium, Albuquerque, NM
Radio: Tulsa: Big Country 99.5 FM. New Mexico: Lobo Radio Network
Records: Tulsa 1-0, New Mexico 1-0. (Tulsa leads the overall series 4-2)
Live Stats: here.
Betting Line: Tulsa +4. Over/Under: 73.5.
Tulsa Outlook: The Tulsa Golden Hurricane are coming off of their second straight season opening overtime winner after dispatching Florida Atlantic 47-44. Tulsa can play a little offense with quarterback Dane Evans (21-33/424/2TD) tied for second in the nation in passing after week one in addition to the team gaining 618 yards of total offense. Wide receivers Keevan Lucas (10/193/2TD) and Keyarris Garrett (5/163/0TD) are both in the top ten nationally in receiving yards.
The Golden Hurricanes have 10 players returning on offense including all of the rushing, all of the passing, and 94% of the receiving totals from last season.
The Tulsa defense was porous to say the least in week one with Florida Atlantic gaining 563 total yards on the day. Those gaudy numbers end up at 5.86 yards allowed per play. Three Tulsa defenders ended game one with double digits tackles led by Michael Mudoh (20 tkl, 0.5 tfl). Trent Martin (12 tkl, 1.5 tfl, 1 sack) and Matt Linscott (10 tkl, 1 tfl) rounded out the trio that accounted for 42 total tackles. The biggest worry for the defense is the inability to stop the running game as Florida Atlantic rolled to 300 yards and a 4.9 yards per carry average.
Unless something changes, the Golden Hurricanes are looking to pull a Western Kentucky and outscore every opponent they face this fall. Realistically, that is not a feasible outlook with several teams coming up on the schedule with high level defense that will slow down the Tulsa offense.
New Mexico Outlook: The New Mexico Lobos are coming off of a dominant 66-0 win over FCS foe Mississippi Valley State in the season and home opener. While a 66-0 win is always a cause for excitement, MVSU may be one of the worst teams of the FCS level. Quarterback Lamar Jordan (7-7/103/0TD) went wild passing the ball for just over 11% of his previous season's total while adding 62 yards rushing on five carries. Star running back Jhurell Pressley (10/49/1TD) got very little action as 12 different players carried the ball in the win.
The biggest positive for New Mexico on offense was the completion of 11 passes, including all seven attempts by Jordan, with six different players making catches.
In shutting MVSU out, the New Mexico defense had three tackler hit double digits with Le'Trey Jones (11 tkl, 1 tfl) making a team-high 11 tackles. Marquis Green (10 tkl, 1 tfl) and Ladrel Cheatham (10 tkl, 1 tfl) rounded out the trio of double digit tacklers. The New Mexico defense was challenged very little with the Delta Demons accumulating only 74 total yards on 56 plays, good for 1.32 yards per play.
Prediction: This is an interesting matchup of one of the highest flying passing offenses versus one of the better ground and pound offenses. On paper, New Mexico has a much better defense although the stats acculumated so far were against a poor quality opponent. The Lobos' ability to slow down the passing game of Tulsa will determine the game. Expect New Mexico to rush for 350+ yards and pull away in the second half versus a gassed Tulsa defense.