The Tulsa Golden Hurricane will kick off C-USA play against the Tulane Green Wave Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at Chapman Stadium.
Tulsa is coming off a tough road loss to Iowa State, where the Hurricane turned a 16-7 lead into a 38-23 loss. The Hurricane offense looked strong and effective early, but began a downward spiral of poor execution that lasted most of the rest of the game. Bad snaps, dropped passes and turnovers cost Tulsa a great chance to go 1-0.
Head coach Bill Blankenship called Tulsa's second half effort "less than acceptable," attributing the offensive collapse to a lack of aggressiveness.
"We had a fast start, but couldn't maintain it. I think we really felt good about how it started and I'm not so sure we didn't let the foot off the accelerator a little bit" Blankenship said. "I think we were, both offensively and defensively, a little bit waiting for it to happen instead of going and taking the game."
The Golden Hurricane will have a great opportunity to work on that go-getter's mindset Saturday when they take the field in front of the home crowd for the first time in 2012.
Tulane should provide the perfect level of competition for Tulsa to work out the kinks. The Green Wave is strong enough to make Tulsa focus and execute, but probably not good enough to actually spring the upset in case the Hurricane struggles.
Tulane is coming off a 24-12 week-one loss to Rutgers, but that may be more impressive than you think. The Green Wave went 2-11 in 2011, including a 28-point loss to Tulsa and a 21-point loss to perennial creampuff Duke. For them to only lose by 12 to a nine-win Rutgers team could be a sign of improvement.
Last year's matchup saw G.J Kinne and Bryan Burnham crash the Wave's party, hooking up for two touchdowns in the blowout win. Tulsa will be without that deadly combo this season, as Kinne graduated and Burnham will miss the rest of 2012 with a torn ACL.
If TU can play four quarters the way it played the first quarter at Iowa State, this game will get real ugly. Cody Green will have to make smart decisions and his receivers will need to catch the ball when it's thrown to them. I like their chances to improve on their mistakes from last week and play a much cleaner game.
I've got Tulsa, 34-10