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September 9, 2010Tulsa is coming off of a heartbreaking 51-49 loss at East Carolina, one that had many fans lighting up the message boards on InsideTulsaSports.com. But the focus has now shifted to this week's opponent. In the Hurricane's home opener, they face Bowling Green, a team TU beat 63-7 in the 2008 GMAC Bowl to set an NCAA record for margin of victory in the postseason.
• If there was any remaining doubt that Conference USA is an offense-first league, then the opening weekend eliminated that. Only four FBS quarterbacks passed for five touchdowns in Week 1 and three of them play in C-USA. Tulsa's G.J. Kinne's five scores complemented a career-high 399 passing yards. None of the three other quarterbacks who threw five touchdowns threw for more yards than Kinne.
• Last year, Damaris Johnson led the nation in all-purpose yardage, and he's off to a good start toward repeating that feat. Johnson had 299 all-purpose yards, more than any other player in Week 1. At this pace he will easily break the Conference USA record set by DeAngelo Williams. Johnson already got the career kickoff return record at Tulsa after last week.
• The offensive line is showing plenty of improvement after Week 1. The unit only allowed one sack of Kinne in the East Carolina game, a welcome number considering that the O-line allowed four sacks per game last season. The offensive line also run blocked well, plowing the way for 180 rushing yards by the Golden Hurricane. Graham says he is very pleased with the progress the offensive line is making.
Series History: Tulsa leads Bowling Green 2-0 (last meeting, 2008 GMAC Bowl, 63-7 Tulsa).
Scouting the Offense: Tulsa's offense looks to be back to the form that had it leading the nation in production in 2007 and 2008. The Golden Hurricane just needs to continue its balance (399 passing yards, 180 rushing yards). The only room for improvement is in turnovers; Tulsa had two last week.
Scouting the Defense: Golden Hurricane fans knew coming into the season that the secondary was young, and it looked the part. It allowed 383 passing yards and five touchdowns by East Carolina quarterback Dominique Davis, making him C-USA player of the week. Sure tackling was one problem and lack of an intimidating pass rush was the other. Tulsa needs more than one sack if teams are going to pass that much against them.
Quote to Note: "It's about preparation for the season. It's not about one game or one day. These guys have worked hard. You go back and put it behind you and move forward." -- Tulsa coach Todd Graham about putting the heartbreaking loss to East Carolina behind them.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
This Week's Game: Tulsa vs. Bowling Green, Sept. 11 -- The vaunted offense is back and looked healthy after Week 1, but Tulsa needs to establish some defensive momentum and show it is over the hangover of its last-play loss to East Carolina. The Golden Hurricane doesn't want to go into the game at Oklahoma State with the same cloud hanging over the team.
Keys to the Game: This could be another shootout if Tulsa's defense doesn't cover the pass better. A quick start by the offense could give the defense an advantage because Bowling Green suffered a dramatic loss as well last week, and being behind early could shake them mentally. If the Golden Hurricane is struggling to stop Bowling Green, then it may want to be more conservative with PATs. Tulsa can't afford to be chasing points again.
Players to Watch:
QB G.J. Kinne -- Tulsa has a history of obliterating a lot of teams, perhaps none more so than the Falcons. In two meetings, the Golden Hurricane has smacked Bowling Green by a combined score of 108-17. If Kinne has another great statistical day, he could help add to Bowling State's misery against Tulsa.
RB Trey Watts -- It's difficult not to wonder if his performance against East Carolina was a fluke. The redshirt freshman and former walk-on was just named starter, and proved to be a valuable scat back-type option, registering 85 all-purpose yards. Watch to see what the son of former Oklahoma star QB J.C. Watts does for an encore.
WR Charles Clay -- The versatile H-back who is an NFL fullback prospect added one more touchdown to his career total against East Carolina. Clay now has 32 scores in 41 career games. Seven more TDs and he will tie the Tulsa career record. Clay has 22 receiving touchdowns and 10 rushing.
• Sophomore defensive back Dexter McCoil may not play against Bowling Green after banging his knee in the third quarter. He left the postgame locker room on crutches, according to reports.