Scouting The Rams
Tulsa will have to clean up their special teams mistakes from week one to prevent another catastrophe in week two. TU allowed a punt return touchdown, muffed a punt, failed on a fake punt attempt, and missed two field goals.
In their season-opening contest against rival Colorado, Colorado State's Thomas Coffman returned a kick 84 yards and Joe Hansley returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown. The Rams will surely look to take advantage on special teams against the Golden Hurricane.
On the flipside, the Rams allowed an 82-yard touchdown pass from Conner Wood to Paul Richardson on the second play of the game. They also allowed a 75-yard touchdown heave from Wood to Richardson to ice the game late in the fourth quarter. So while their special teams might present a problem, their defense appears susceptible to the big play.
The Rams went 4-8 last season so you know they'll be doing anything possible to avoid a 0-2 start to 2013.
How Tulsa Can Win
To start with, play better. Things really couldn't have gone worse last week, especially on defense and special teams. If TU can clean things up, it should be able to overwhelm CSU with pure talent.
Cody Green has to sharpen things up in the passing game. If he has another performance like last week, it's not impossible that backup Dane Evans gets more snaps. Green showed the ability to step up in key sitations last season, and TU needs him to do the same today.
In addition, the Golden Hurricane needs to get the running game going. Ja'Terian Douglas had just 22 yards on 12 carries last week, while Trey Watts had just four rushes for eight yards. That has to improve.
As Bill Blankenship noted, one bad performance shouldn't mean having to toss everything out and start over. TU still has a very good team.
"We evaluate everything," Blankenship said. "But the thing you have to be careful of, and again, this is from experience, is you don't just throw everything out because something went bad."
I think Tulsa will look like a new team in its home opener. If they don't, it could be a very long season.
Receiver Jordan James knows TU is a better team, but still has to come out and prove it.
"We should be very capable of coming out and dominating against this team," James said. "Regardless of what (kind of) week you had last week, you know what kind of team you are."
Tulsa wins, 31-20.