Instant analysis of Tulsa's 34-7 loss at Bowling Green: (stay tuned for a full game recap)
What went well:
Not much. The only positive note to take from this mess was the performance from Tulsa's young and inexperienced defense. Thought to be the weakness coming in, the TU defensive unit kept the Hurricane in the game as long as possible.
The defensive continuity is a very encouraging sign moving forward.
What went wrong:
Tulsa's offense returned quarterback Cody Green, almost the entire receiving corps, and two dynamic and explosive running backs. So what could possible explain a performance like that? Yes, Bowling Green's defense is strong, but the Hurricane's offensive ineptitude made the Falcons look like Alabama. TU only ran for 51 yards on 24 carries.
In addition to the disappointing offensive showing, TU suffered a special teams meltdown. Bowling Green's Ryan Burbrink returned a punt 67 yards for a touchdown, Trey Watts fumbled a punt return, TU failed on a fake punt on 4th and 1, and Carl Salazar missed two makeable field goals. The sloppiness can be corrected, but the lack of a reliable place kicker could linger all season.
Player of the game:
Keyarris Garrett did his best, hauling in five balls for 54 yards. Garrett is TU's best receiver and was one of the only Hurricane players to show up Thursday night.
It was over when:
Trailing 13-0 with less than a minute left in the third quarter, TU faced a 3rd and 1 deep inside its own territory. Bill Blankenship rolled the dice with a fake punt, but the defense read it and shut it down. Bowling Green took over at the 16 yard line and punched it in the end zone four plays later to make it 20-0.
The Golden Hurricane comes home with plenty to work on. TU hosts Colorado State next Saturday in what was thought to be a pretty easy win. Maybe not anymore.