The Tulsa Golden Hurricane lost its last two games against the Oklahoma Sooners by a combined score of 107-21. Nonetheless, Tulsa has been a gamer of late. It's currently riding a seven-game winning streak, including victories against Notre Dame, Houston and a bowl win against Hawaii. Tulsa is coming off a 10-3 season and is returning dual-threat quarterback G.J. Kinne and five of the team's top six tacklers from a year ago.
TU was the favorite to win the Conference USA title, but the 'Cane suffered a harsh blow when it was announced that leading receiver Damaris Johnson was suspended indefinitely. With last year's two other top receivers gone with graduation, Kinne will need his running backs and younger receivers to step up if he has any chance of giving the Sooners only their third home loss in 12 years.
It's in Norman, fellas. OU would be a favorite against any team in the country. Hurricane players on this roster are very familiar with the 45-0 domination they suffered in 2009. They're familiar with the crowd noise, the heat, and if OU has a couple of quick scores, Pavlov will kick in and it will seem so normal. If you're out of it mentally, you're out of it totally.
Outcome: QB Landry Jones and the passing game are unstoppable. Running game gains a lot of yards, but mainly in garbage time. Tulsa's defense is simply overwhelmed. Kinne does his best, but has no one to help him out. OU wins 51-13.
It's very likely that the Sooner defense will not be a well-oiled machine. The secondary could mimic last year's start, and the linebackers will miss Travis Lewis' leadership. Tulsa has played in tough situations before and has fared remarkably well. The 'Cane battled No. 5 Boise State in 2009 and only lost by seven. TU went into Fayetteville in 2008 and played No. 19 Arkansas within a touchdown. If OU doesn't strike early and often, Tulsa can remain within striking distance longer than we'll all be comfortable with.
Outcome: The OU running game is hardly a world-beater, barely rushing for 120 yards. With wide receiver Kenny Stills out, the passing game is slow to get going, but eventually gets on track. The defense looks scattered at times, getting burned by Kinne several times as he posts a 100-yard rushing game mostly with runs down the middle. Sooner fans will have visions of last year's Air Force game for the first half, but the Tulsa defense just can't last four quarters against Landry Jones and company. The Sooners finally pull away in the second half and win 41-27.