Preview and Prediction: Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. Bowling Green Falcons

Bowling Green

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Although the Bowling Green Falcons have never defeated the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in three prior meetings, the Falcons are optimistic that this year’s contest will have a different outcome. This game will feature a contrast in styles, with Tulsa having a high powered offense and Bowling Green having the best defense in the MAC Conference in 2012. Both teams would like to start their season with a victory that could spark momentum for the 2013 season.

Tulsa Offense:

The Golden Hurricane exploded for 457 yards of total offense per game last season. Tulsa averaged 34.7 points per game in 2012, and has former Nebraska Cornhusker Cody Green behind center. Green is a tough and durable quarterback. He is very big, standing 6-foot-4, 247 pounds, and is not afraid to stay in the pocket. Green threw for 17 touchdowns last season and has his top three receivers returning. The group is led by junior Keyarris Garrett, who caught 67 passes for 845 yards and nine touchdowns. The Golden Hurricane will need the running game in order to throw down the field against the Falcons. Returning starters Trey Watts (former Oklahoma quarterback JC Watts‘ son) and Ja’Terian Douglas , carry the rock for the Golden Hurricane offense. Both players combined for 2,044 and 10 touchdowns on the ground. Watts averaged 6.0 yards per carry and Douglas had an astounding 6.8 yards per carry. In order for the Tulsa to get the road victory, they will need this dynamic duo to play their best.

Tulsa Defense:
The Golden Hurricane was a very aggressive team defensively in 2012. The defense was able to record 51 sacks in 2012 and had a very solid run defense, allowing 119.57 rushing yards per game. However, this season they lose nine starters from that group. Linebacker Shawn Jackson is the leader of the defense, finishing the 2012 season with 88 tackles last year. Marco Nelson was the starting free safety. Nelson was the second returning tackler on the team this year, however, due to academic issues, he will not play in the game. The defensive line is very undersized and inexperienced. They will be tested by a very physical offensive line and strong rushing attack from the Falcons.

Bowling Green Offense:
Bowling Green likes to play a ball control type of game and rely on the defense to gain field position. The team averaged 22.9 points per game in 2012. Matt Schilz will return as the starting quarterback. Schilz plays within head coach Dave Clawson’s system, and is a pure pocket passer. Schilz completed 55.2 percent of his passes in 2012, with 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The Falcons’ leading rusher from 2012, Anthon Samuel, has decided to leave the team. The Falcons will need sophmore Andre Givens to step up in Samuel’s absence. Givens averaged 6.7 yards per carry in limited action last season. The Falcons return all of the top four wide receivers from last season. Chris Gallon led the team with 54 receptions for 720 receiving yards and six touchdowns. The Falcons will need to take some chances down the field in order to take the pressure off of the running game.

Falcons Defense:
The Falcons surrendered 16.8 points per game in 2012. They played an attacking style of defense that allowed the Falcons to finish the season with winning seven of eight games, and lead the MAC Conference in total defense. The unit only allowed 106.54 rushing yards per game, and accounted for 38 sacks on the year. The defensive line created opposing offenses to double team them, which allowed linebackers Gabe Martin and Paul Swan to make plays. Martin led the team in tackles with 70, and had 4.5 sacks on the year. Swan was third on the team with 65 tackles, and had 5.5 tackles for loss in 2012. The secondary combined for 10 interceptions and is fierce in run support. Cameron Truss, Ryland Ward and Booboo Gates are all physical players and returning starters. However, starting cornerback Darrell Hunter is listed as questionable with an injury. The Falcons will need to create turnovers at home to take the pressure off of the offense. Last season, Bowling Green was a +4 in turnover margin.

Prediction:
Look for Tulsa to open up the offense early, and pass on first and second down. This will loosen up the Falcons defense, and will open up the running game for Watts and Douglas. The Falcons lack of big play ability on offense will be the reason the Golden Hurricane get the road victory to start the year.

Tulsa 27, Bowling Green 17

 

Joseph Lisi is MAC writer for Rantsports.com, follow him on Twitter @GoForthe2, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google

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