Saturday's Offensive Gameplan Suits TU Perfectly
Saturday's game at Marshall had Golden Hurricane fans on the edge of their seats, and most of that can be credited to the explosive ability of the Thundering Herd's offense. Marshall came into the game ranked No. 3 among FBS teams in passing yards, and 16th in points-per-game.
In fact, if it hadn't been for the effectiveness of TU's running game keeping the Herd off the field, Marshall's offense could have put up some monstrous numbers. The Hurricane's three-headed monster of Alex Singleton, Trey Watts and Ja'Terian Douglas combined for 236 yards, and Singleton found the end zone three times. Watts ran for 111 yards by himself, and returned a third-quarter kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown.
Tulsa also cut down on the bonehead mistakes this week. The only two TU plays that could be classified as face-palmers were Marco Nelson's fumble on the kick return and the botched extra point try that was returned for two. The running backs didn't fumble and Cody Green didn't commit a turnover.
Perhaps the biggest reason Green remained mistake-free was his decreased workload. He only threw 17 times for 90 yards, while the Hurricane rode its diverse running attack to victory.
It may have taken six games, but Tulsa has finally found its identity.
I may be a bigger fan of Cody Green's abilities than most, but there's no doubt this team is better when it runs more and throws less.
The fewer times Green drops back and looks deep, the fewer mistakes can occur. A heavy dose of the running game and short passes to the likes of Watts, Douglas and Willie Carter is a recipe for success for Tulsa.
The importance of the running game and short passing attack increased further when Bryan Burnham went down for the season with a torn ACL against Iowa State. Burnham was TU's No. 1 wideout, which immediately left a void. Sophomore Keyarris Garrett has been excellent, but the reliable depth at receiver behind him is thin.
With the injury to Burnham and the graduation of both quarterback G.J. Kinne and go-to tight end Clay Sears, this TU team shouldn't be expected to dominate through the air. Green seems to have a good rapport with Garrett, and has finally realized that Willie Carter is on the team, but this is simply not a passing football team.
Tulsa has the No. 11 running game in all of FBS football, averaging 246 yards per game. Through six games, the Hurricane has already rushed for 21 touchdowns, one more than they did in all 13 games last year.
Change is okay, as long as it results in success, and the Hurricane's 2012 rushing attack has TU poised to do huge things.
If Tulsa wants to be C-USA champs for the first time since 2005, Saturday's game plan should become the new norm.