college football picks Tulsa at Oklahoma State 9-18-10

September 18, 2010


DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 18th, 7:00 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Boone Pickens Stadium (60,000) — Stillwater, Oklahoma. Television:None. Home Record: Tulsa 1-0, OSU 2-0. Away Record: Tulsa 0-1, OSU 0-0. Neutral Record: Tulsa 0-0, OSU 0-0. Conference Record: Tulsa 0-1, OSU 0-0. Series Record: Oklahoma State leads, 38-27-5.

GAME NOTES: The Oklahoma State Cowboys play the third of four straight home games this weekend, as they entertain the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in non- conference play at Boone Pickens Stadium.

In what many consider a rebuilding year, the Cowboys have a favorable early season schedule to help them in getting off to a fast start and they have taken advantage of their home field thus far. After trouncing Washington State, 65-17, to open the season, OSU nipped a scrappy Troy squad, 41-38, this past weekend. Following this weekend’s game, the Cowboys will close their homestand with a Big 12 bout versus Texas A&M on September 30th.

Tulsa meanwhile, broke into the win column over the weekend with a 33-20 victory over Bowling Green. It was a nice rebound for the Hurricane, which suffered a heart-breaking 51-49 loss on the last play against East Carolina to open the season.

With respect to the all-time series, OSU owns a 38-27-5 advantage over Tulsa and the Cowboys have won the last three encounters, including a 38-21 triumph in the most recent meeting in 2004.

The Tulsa offense has clicked on all cylinders thus far, as the unit has totaled well over 500 yards in each of the first two games. Last weekend, the Hurricane dialed up 546 total yards, including 190 rushing, in a victory over BGSU. The attack was paced by QB G.J. Kinne, who threw for 356 yards and a pair of TDs on 27-of-47 pass attempts. A steady passer with mobility, Kinne is off to a terrific start, which includes 399 yards and five TDs in the opener. Trae Johnson and Charles Clay each caught TD passes for the second game in a row, as there is no shortage of options for Kinne.

Defensively, the Hurricane needed an improvement after the unit’s poor opening game performance against ECU, which rolled up 538 yards of offense and won the contest on a 33-yard TD pass as time expired. A step in the right direction came last weekend when the Hurricane limited BGSU to just 303 total yards. The unit gave up 262 of those yards through the air, but compensated by picking off three passes. Helping create those turnovers was good pressure, as Tulsa came up with five sacks. Leading the defense was Shawn Jackson, who turned in an all-around effort of 2.5 TFLs, an INT and a sack.

Although they lost a significant amount of skilled players from a year ago, the Cowboys have the right system and developing talent to keep on producing. That has been evident through the first two games, as OSU has topped 500 yards of offense in each. This past weekend, the Cowboys amassed 522 total yards, but nearly gave the game away with five turnovers in a 41-38 decision over Troy. Kendall Hunter, one of the premiers backs, has returned to form following an injury plagued ’09 campaign, as he rushed for 157 yards and two scores on 28 carries versus Troy. The Big 12’s leading rusher in ’08 was even more impressive in the opener when he tore up Washington State for 257 yards and four scores on the ground. Brandon Weeden, a 26-year-old former professional baseball player, made his second start for OSU and threw for 238 yards and two TDs in the win over Troy. He, however, showed some of his inexperience with four turnovers. Sophomore Justin Blackmon has clearly emerged as his go-to-receiver, pulling in 10 balls for 132 yards and two scores last week. He was just as impressive in the team’s opener, grabbing eight passes for 125 yards and three TDs in that game.

On the defensive side of the ball is where the Cowboys have needed to improve over the years and they aren’t off to bad start in ’10. The unit limited Troy to 371 total yards, while forcing four fumbles, including two in the red-zone that helped preserve the victory. The defense, though, has yet to come up with an INT and that has to be concerning for the staff with the Big 12 slate set to begin soon. Orie Lemon notched 13 tackles and had two fumble recoveries to lead the defense in the win over Troy.

This should be a shootout as both teams possess high powered offenses. Go with the Cowboys, as Hunter should run wild en route to the victory.

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