The Oklahoma Sooners, as expected, got off to a huge early lead against Louisiana Tech in week one and never looked back. The game wasn’t close from the beginning and Oklahoma showed just why it is one of the few teams expected to contend for the first annual College Football Playoff in 2014.
It took two overtimes for the Tulsa Golden Hurricane to down conference foe Tulane, but it proved to be a huge win heading into their toughest test of the season against the Sooners. Tulsa narrowly outplayed Tulane, but it will take a much more valiant effort for the Golden Hurricane to upset the Sooners — although they will have the advantage of being at home.
After a season in which it took nearly 13 games to decide who would be the starting quarterback heading into 2014, Trevor Knight won the job and hasn’t looked back since. A solid week one performance proved to be a stepping stone for the rest of the year as the sophomore finished with 253 yards and a touchdown on 19 of 34 passing. His accuracy could be a bit improved, but he has all season to work on that. Keith Ford and Sterling Shepard both finished with a team-high four receptions each while Ford had 65 yards and Shepard added 49 yards and a score. The run game was pretty balanced as Ford had 51 yards and two scores on nine rushes and Semaje Perine had 77 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.
Tulsa out-gained Tulane in the first game of the season — just barely — by finishing with 592 yards to the Green Wave’s 516. One area of dominance proved to be the passing game in which the Golden Hurricane ended with 438 yards behind sophomore Dane Evans‘ strong arm. The young QB finished with 31 completions on 53 attempts for 438 yards and four touchdowns while also giving up two interceptions. Fellow sophomore Keevan Lewis happened to be his favorite target, catching 13 passes for 233 yards and three scores while the next closest wide out was Keyarris Garrett who had five catches for 87 yards. The run game wasn’t nearly as impressive as Tavarreon Dickerson was the leader, racking up 84 yards and no scores on 15 carries.
Defensively, the Golden Hurricane allowed 516 yards, not excelling against the run nor the pass, as well as giving up a 50 percent third-down rate. While these stats need to improve if they want any chance to beat the Sooners, forcing two turnovers was the solid stat of the evening for Tulsa’s defense. On the other hand, the Sooners have always been one of the more successful defenses in the nation. Allowing just 245 total yards to Louisiana Tech, the Sooners proved to be a run-stopping machine, giving up just 54 on the ground and forcing one turnover.
Oklahoma will travel to Tulsa to take on the Golden Hurricane at 12 p.m. EST on Saturday, Sept. 6. The game will be broadcasted on ABC, ESPN and ESPN 2.
PREDICTION: Oklahoma 48, Tulsa 17
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.