TU will have a big chore when it travels to Norman to play 14th-ranked Oklahoma this week.
The Sooners are starting Blake Bell at quarterback after Travis Knight suffered a knee injury last week against West Virginia.
Oklahoma (2-0), has struggled with its passing game, mostly with Knight at the helm, yet flourished with its run attack against the Mountaineers.
Fullback Trey Millard, running backs Damien Williams, Brennan Clay and Roy Finch account for the Sooners’ backfield.
“The key to the whole thing as far as we’re concerned is (Trey Millard),” Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship said at his weekly press conference on Tuesday. “He’s the guy that makes it all kind of fit. He can do a little bit of everything. He is a great blocker, can catch the ball, when they are serious about running the football, they work their way to him.”
The Sooners have also been strong on defense, having only given up one touchdown in two games.
Tulsa (1-1) enters the game after beating Colorado State with a field goal on the last play of the game.
“It was certainly a great win for our team, a great win for this season and our program,” Blankenship said. “As I shared with the players, don’t confuse a great win with a great game. It was not a great game. It was a great win and very excited.”
Those factors are obvious.
It was a great win because the Golden Hurricane had to rally from 10 points down to beat Colorado State. Kicker Carl Salazar came onto the field with three seconds remaining to kick a 34-yard field goal that gave Tulsa a 30-27 victory.
But it was not a great game for TU because it gave up big plays, committed turnovers and a pair of special team miscues. A fumbled punt return and a blocked punt led the to the Rams’ first touchdown. Tulsa’s offense answered back as Cody Green threw touchdown passes of 17 and five yards respectively to Je’Terian Douglas and Jordan James. Then the Rams controlled the flow while outscoring TU, 20-3, in the second and third quarters.
Tulsa will have to play better against the Sooners.
Hurricane Quick Hit
* The last time both teams was in the 2011 season opener, when OU was a 47-14 victor over TU in Norman.
* Keyarris Garrett, Tulsa’s leading receiver from 2012, is out for the season. Garrett had to be taken off the field by ambulance when he suffered a severe leg injury with 35 seconds remaining in the Colorado State game.
* Game balls went to Watts, Green and lineman Stetson Burnett on offense. Burnett was moved from guard to tackle during the game. Bradley White, who had to replace DeMarco Nelson, and Michael Mudoh got game balls on defense. Salazar also got one for his winning kick.
* There are some connections between both schools. Running back Trey Watts is the son of legendary Sooner quarterback J.C. Watts. Cornerback coach Darnell Walker Sr. played at OU from 1990-92, and third-year defensive end Derrick Alexander is the older brother of OU freshman linebacker Dominique Alexander.