College Football Week 1 Picks: Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Bowling Green Falcons
Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Bowling Green State Falcons
Perry Field – Bowling Green, Ohio
Thursday, August 29, 2013, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPNU
Opening Line: Bowling Green -3
Current Line: Bowling Green -3 1/2
Opening Total: 49 1/2
Current Total: 48 1/2
Opening Money Line: BGSU -150 / Tulsa +130
Current Money Line: BGSU -165 / Tulsa +145
Last season, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane went 11-3 and won the Conference USA Championship Game. The Golden Hurricane would then defeat Iowa St 31-17 in the Liberty Bowl. Tulsa is again favored to win Conference USA before leaving for the American Athletic Conference (formerly the Big East) nest season. Tulsa opens the season at the Bowling Green Falcons who went 8-5 last year in the MAC. Bowling Green lost to San Jose State 29-20 in the Military Bowl.
Tulsa has won all 3 previous meetings between the schools, all by double digits. Tulsa won the last meeting at home 33-20 in 2010. This is the first meeting in Bowling Green between the teams.
Tulsa is coached by Bill Blankenship. Tulsa has won at least 8 games in 7 of the last 8 seasons. The Golden Hurricane were #9 in rushing last year nationally at 245.7 yards per game and #18 in total offense. Tulsa scored 34.7 points a game.
Senior quarterback Cody Green, a former Nebraska transfer, completed 54.4% of his passes last year for 2,592 yards with 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, and also had 78 carries, 283 yards and 4 touchdowns. Senior running back Trey Watts also returns after he had 186 carries, 1,108 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 34 catches for 343 yards. Watts also threw a touchdown pass, and had a punt and kickoff return both for touchdowns. Senior Je’Terian Douglas had 137 carries, 936 yards and 7 touchdowns. Tulsa must replace short yardage star Alex Singleton who had 800 yards on 202 carries with 24 touchdowns, and also caught a touchdown pass. Junior receiver Keyarris Garrett had 67 catches, 845 yards, and 9 touchdowns. Jordan James and Thomas Roberson also return and will get significant targets as well. The biggest question on offense is the line which must replace 3 starters.
Tulsa led Conference USA in run defense, pass efficiency defense, points allowed and sacks last year. However, the Golden Hurricane must replace the entire defensive line and three fourths of the secondary. Linebacker Shawn Jackson had 88 tackles and 5 sacks last year, and will be the leader of the defense. Free safety DeMarco Nelson had 2 picks last year.
Bowling Green struggled on offense last year averaging 22.9 points per game and were 11th in the MAC in total offense. The Falcons return 10 starters on offense with the notable exception of star running back Anthon Samuel who transferred to Florida International. Samuel rushed for just under 1,000 yards with 11 rushing touchdowns, and also caught a touchdown pass.
Senior quarterback Matt Schilz completed 55.2% of his passes for 2,585 yards with 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, along with a rushing touchdown. Sophomore Andre Givens looks to replace Samuel as the feature back after Givens rushed for 134 yards last year on 20 carries with a touchdown. Junior Jamal Martin and senior Jordan Hopgood both return from injury and will also get some carries. Sophomore receiver Chris Gallon had 54 catches, 720 yards and 6 touchdowns. Senior Shaun Joplin also returns after making 40 catches, 639 yards and 4 touchdowns. Senior tight end Alex Bayer has 36 catches, 410 yards and 3 touchdowns. The offensive line returns 4 starters and should be great at pass protection.
Bowling Green had the #1 defense in the MAC last year, and was in the top 10 nationally in points allowed at 16.8 points per game. The defense returns 9 starters from that unit, but must replace MAC defensive player of the year DT Chris Jones and linebacker Dwayne Woods. Junior linebacker Gabe Martin does return after making 70 tackles and 4.5 sacks last year. Senior safety Jerry “BooBoo” Gates also returns to anchor the secondary.
Tulsa is 5-1 ATS overall, 4-1 in Thursday games, and on fieldturf, 3-1-1 in August, and 13-5 in road games. Last year, Tulsa was 8-5 ATS and the total was 5-8.
Bowling Green is 7-1 ATS on fieldturf, 7-2 overall, and 2-5 in non-conference games. Last year Bowling green was 8-5 ATS and the total was 2-10.
This should be a low scoring game between good if not great defenses. Tulsa is much better on offense, but Bowling Green is better on defense. Both of these schools have dreams of not only winning their conferences, but perhaps of crashing a BCS bowl game. I like Tulsa to pull off the mild upset on the road.
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