Tulsa Report Card For Season Opener


Monday, September 5th 2011, 12:47 am
By: News On 6


Bobby Lewis, NewsOn6.com

Grading Tulsa's performance against the Sooners is difficult to do, since the scoring margin was so wide. Tulsa played better than the 47-14 final tally would suggest, but the Golden Hurricane has a lot of issues to address when the team hits the practice fields this week in preparation for Saturday's conference showdown with Tulane in New Orleans.

OFFENSE: C+

Running back Trey Watts admitted after the game that the offense missed the presence of suspended star receiver Damaris Johnson. He quickly followed that up with, "we have to get past it". The offensive line was not able to keep Oklahoma's front four from getting into the backfield. Kinne was only sacked three times, but never had enough time to find open receivers. The running backs had no room to run and the team hurt itself with a pair of fumbles.

However, Tulsa earns a C+ because against the No. 1 ranked team in the nation, the team put up 400 yards of total offense (despite needing over 27 minutes of game time to get to 101 total yards) and ran 64 plays. That's a lot of plays for being on the wrong end of a blowout loss. Kinne accounted for 323 of the team's 400 total yards and threw for two touchdowns.

They also couldn't sustain drives. Tulsa had the ball less time (10:10) in the entire first half than Oklahoma had in the first quarter alone (10:45). Kinne did hit on two long passes. One went to Bryan Burcham for 56 yards and the team's first score. The other came in the second half on a 69-yard connection with Willie Carter.

DEFENSE: C-

Oklahoma converted 11-of-19 third downs and it's only attempt on fourth down. The Golden Hurricane allowed the Sooners to rack up 663 yards of offense, including 131 rushing yards to walk-on running back Dominique Whaley. Landry Jones found holes in the TU defense on nearly every 3rd-and-7 situation and burned Tulsa with short slants before dropping a long tear-drop pass over the linebackers for a big gain.

Giving up seven touchdowns deserves a worse grade more often than not, but the defense held the top team in the nation to JUST 47 points. Many predicted the Sooners would make it to 60 points.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B

Freeman Kelley, Marco Nelson and Trey Watts combined for 157 yards on eight kick returns. All three players averaged around 20 yards per return. Kelley was the most electric, breaking a 25-yard return in the first half. He finished with 81 yards on four returns.

Kevin Fitzpatrick did well on kickoffs and Cole Way averaged over 37 yards per punt in his first collegiate game action. He pinned OU inside the 20 yard line one time and forced Ryan Broyles to fair catch five kicks.

OVERALL: C-

The effort was there. The final result was not. The 33-point margin makes this game look bad on paper for Tulsa, but the Golden Hurricane did a lot of positive things against a superior opponent. Watts was definitely the right choice as the team's starting running back, Kinne was able to use Carter the way Charles Clay was used in years past, and the defense got good minutes from young players like Dewitt Jennings and Lowell Rose. Not the team's best effort, but not its worst.