Liberty Bowl Betting Preview: Iowa State Cyclones vs Tulsa Golden Hurricanes

2012 AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Monday, December 31, 2012, 3:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Iowa State Cyclones vs Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Liberty Bowl – Memphis, Tennessee
Opening Line: Iowa St -1
Current Line: Iowa St -1 1/2
Opening Total: 52
Current Total: 51
Opening Money Line: Iowa St -120 / Tulsa +100
Current Money Line: Iowa St -125 / Tulsa +105

Iowa St is a slight favorite over Tulsa in the Liberty Bowl Monday in Memphis. The game is a rematch of the season opener for both teams. Iowa St won that game 38-23 at home.

The Iowa St Cyclones and Tulsa Golden Hurricane opened the season against each other in Ames, Iowa in September. Iowa St won that game 38-23 and would end up 6-6 this season. That was one of 3 losses for Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane finished 10-3 this season. The two teams will face off again in the 2012 Liberty Bowl Monday in Memphis. The two teams will play again in Tulsa next September. Iowa St leads the series 2-0 against Tulsa.

Iowa St is 3-8 all time in bowl games. The Cyclones lost 27-13 to Rutgers last year in the Pinstripe Bowl. Tulsa is 8-10 all-time in bowl games. Tulsa lost to BYU 24-21 in the Armed Forces Bowl last year to break a 3 game bowl winning streak for the Hurricane.

Iowa St was 3-6 in the Big 12 under coach Paul Rhoads. The Cyclones started off 4-1 but have gone 2-5 since then. Other than the Tulsa win, Iowa St has other home wins over Western Illinois 37-3, and Baylor 35-21, along with road wins at Iowa 9-6,  TCU 37-23, and Kansas 51-23. The Cyclones have road losses at Oklahoma St 31-10, and Texas 33-7, along with home losses to Texas Tech 24-13, Kansas St 27-21, Oklahoma 35-20, and West Virginia 31-24 to close out the regular season. Iowa St is 5-6-1 ATS and the total is 4-7 this season.

Iowa St is averaging 372.2 yards per game on offense, including 217.8 passing yards and 154.4 rushing yards. The Cyclones are outscoring teams 25-23 this season. The Cyclones are 66th or worse out of 124 teams in all offensive categories. On defense, Iowa St is allowing 444.8 yards per game, including 279.7 passing yards and 165.2 rushing yards. The Cyclones are 99th in total defense, and 113th in pass defense. Strangely though, they are 35th in points allowed.  Iowa St has forced 25 turnovers, but has given up 23 of their own. Iowa St is averaging 39 penalty yards per game. The Cyclones have forced 15 sacks and has allowed 14. Iowa St is 82/197 on third and fourth down conversions, and 30/39 scoring in the red zone with 27 touchdowns. Cyclone opponents are 90/215 on third and fourth downs, and 36/46 scoring in the red zone with 25 touchdowns. Iowa St has 2 pick sixes this season.

Iowa St has used 3 quarterbacks this season. Jared Barnett took over from Steele Jantz who wasn’t injured but benched for throwing too many interceptions. Jantz came back to be the starter after several games. In the last two games, freshman Sam Richardson has been doing well. He came in after 3 series in the Kansas game when Jantz had a concussion and Richardson also started the West Virginia game.  Jantz has completed 163/262 passes (62.2%) for 1,562 yards with 13 touchdowns and 11interceptions. Jantz also has 88 carries, 210 yards and a touchdown. He is questionable with the concussion. Barnett is 52/108 passing (48.1%) for 624 yards with 6 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, along with 30 carries for 130 yards.Richardson is 36 for 58 passing for 412 with 7 touchdowns and no interceptions. He also has 31 carries, 187 yards and a touchdown. He will be the starter for the game but Jantz could see some snaps if healthy. Otherwise, Barnett could see a few snaps.

Running back Shontrelle Johnson has 115 carries, 504 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 14 catches for 115 yards and a touchdown. He is doubtful with a knee injury. James White has 89 carries for 462 yards with 2 touchdowns, along with 18 catches for 139 yards. Fullback Jeff Woody has 2 rushing and 2 receiving touchdowns.

Receiver Josh Lenz has 29 catches, 430 yards, and 6 touchdowns. He even threw a touchdown pass. Chris Young has 37 catches, 403 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Aaron Horne has 38 catches, 365 yards and 3 touchdowns. Ernst Brun, Jr. has 22 catches for 228 yards but has 5 touchdowns. Jarvis West, Quenton Bundrage, Albert Gary, and Jerome Tiller will also get some catches. Two defensive players and two offensive linemen are listed as questionable, doubtful or out Monday.

Tulsa finished 8-1 in Conference USA under coach Bill Blankenship. The Golden Hurricane beat Central Florida 33-27 in overtime in the Conference USA Championship game in Tulsa. Tulsa also beat Central Florida in the regular season in Tulsa 23-21. The Golden Hurricane also have home wins over Tulane 45-10, Nicholls st 66-16, Fresno St 27-26, UTEP 33-11, and Rice 28-24,  along with road wins at UAB 49-42, Marshall 45-38, and Houston 41-7. The only other losses for Tulsa besides Iowa St came at Arkansas 19-15 and SMU 35-27. Tulsa is 7-5 ATS and the total is 5-7 this season.

Tulsa is averaging 461.6 yards per game on offense, including 220.5 passing yards and 241.1 rushing yards. Tulsa is outscoring teams 35-24 this season. The Golden Hurricane are in the top 30 in total offense and scoring, #11 in rushing and #74 in passing. Tulsa is +1 in turnovers with 23 giveaways. The Golden Hurricane average 40 penalty yards per game and have allowed 9 sacks this season. Tulsa is 106/255 on third and fourth down conversions and 50/64 scoring in the red zone with 41 touchdowns. On defense, Tulsa is allowing 353.9 yards per game including 237.7 passing and  121.2 rushing yards. The Hurricane are in the top 40 nationally in total offense, rush defense, and points allowed. Tulsa has forced 24 turnovers and 48 sacks. Tulsa opponents are 88/237 on third and fourth down conversions and 28/42 scoring in the red zone with 23 touchdowns. Tulsa has 2 special teams touchdowns and 3 defensive TD’s this season.

Tulsa quarterback Cody Green has completed 217 of 396 passes (54.8%) for 2,499 yards with 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, along with 68 carries, 225 yards and 2 touchdowns. Back-up Kalen Henderson started the Rice game when Green was injured. Henderson has 294 passing yards, a touchdown and 2 interceptions along with 90 rushing yards and a touchdown.

Running back Trey Watts has 161 carries, 959 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 30 catches for 326 yards. Watts has just under 2,000 all purpose yards with both a  punt return and a kick return for touchdowns.  Ja’Terian Douglas has 129 carries, 857 yards and 7 touchdowns. Alex Singleton has 187 carries, 765 yards and 21 touchdowns, and a receiving touchdown. Zach Langer has 35 carries, 181 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 2 catches for 68 yards.

Receiver Keyarris Garrett has 64 catches, 826 yards and 9 touchdowns. Jordan James has 40 catches, 565 yards and 2 touchdowns. Thomas Roberson has 27 catches, 454 yards and 4 touchdowns. Willie Carter has 48 catches, 363 yards and 2 touchdowns. Receivers Brian Burnham and Joshua Atkinson are both out for the season.

Iowa St is 5-2 ATS after failing to cover, and after allowing 200 rushing yards or more, 1-4 after rushing for more than 200 yards, after allowing  450 yards or more, and in neutral site games.

Tulsa is 4-1 ATS overall, 5-2 on fieldturf, 14-6 after a cover, 37-17-2 after rushing for more than 200 yards, 5-15-1 against Big 12 teams, and 1-4 in non-conference games.

It will be interesting to see how Richardson reacts. He threw 7 touchdowns against Kansas and West Virginia but neither one of those teams are anywhere close to the quality of Tulsa’s defense. Tulsa lost the first game against Iowa St mainly due to turning the ball over  3 times. Tulsa took a 16-7 lead in that game at the end of the first quarter, but Iowa St scored 24 unanswered points to take control of the game. If Tulsa can take care of the ball, I think they win this time.

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