Tulsa Golden Hurricane Football News: Game Notes at #2 Cincinnati Bearcats

GAME #9
TULSA (3-5, 2-2 AAC) vs. #2 CINCINNATI (8-0, 4-0 AAC)
Saturday, Nov. 6, 2:30 pm (CT) / 3:30 pm (ET)
Stadium: Nippert Stadium (40,000), Cincinnati, Ohio
TV: ESPN2
Radio: Big Country 99.5 FM


TULSA 3-5, 2-2 The American
Head Coach: Philip Montgomery
                              (Tarleton State ’95)
                              7th year at Tulsa
Career Record:    34-45 (7 years)
TU Record:           same

CINCINNATI  8-0, 4-0 The American
Head Coach:        Luke Fickell
                              (Ohio State ’97)
                              5th year at Cincinnati
Career Record:    49-21 (6 years)
UC Record:          43-14 (5 years)

FOR FULL GAME NOTES, CLICK HERE (PDF)

THE STORYLINES . . .
•       Tulsa is in its 125th season of Tulsa football.
•       Tulsa has the smallest FBS enrollment with 2,929 undergraduate students (based off 2020-21 statistics) … Tulsa’s overall enrollment is 3,961 … Cincinnati’s enrollment is 46,798 students.
•       Last year’s regular season meeting in Tulsa was canceled twice due to Covid-19 cases at Cincinnati … the first game that was postponed was scheduled for Oct. 17 and rescheduled to be played on Dec. 12 … the teams did meet a week later (Dec. 19) for the AAC Championship in Cincinnati.
•       Tulsa has previously faced the No. 1 or No. 2-ranked team nine times in school history (see page 10) … Tulsa has played the No. 1 team five times before … this is the fifth time that Tulsa will be facing the nation’s No. 2 team.

THE SERIES . . . 
•       This is the 36th meeting between Tulsa and Cincinnati.
•       Tulsa leads the overall series 17-16-2, including an 11-4-2 record at home and a 6-12 mark on the road.
•       Cincinnati has won the last two meetings, both in Cincinnati … Tulsa’s last win was in the 2016 season with a 40-37 overtime win at home.
•       Tulsa’s longest winning streak in the series is 8 games (1965-75) and Cincinnati’s is 5 games (1993-2015).

REMATCH OF AAC CHAMPIONSHIP . . .
•       After two regular season contests were postponed and then eventually canceled, the two teams finally met in the American Athletic Conference Championship game on Dec. 19 in Cincinnati.
•       Cincinnati took a 10-0 lead after one quarter and led at the half 17-10 … the Hurricane knotted the score at 17-17 on an 8-yad Deneric Prince run at the 10:05 mark of the third quarter.
•       Cincinnati went ahead at 7:14 mark of the third period 24-10.
•       After Jaxon Player blocked a UC field goal attempt in the 4th quarter, Tulsa marched 80 yards in seven plays and quarterback Zach Smith capped the drive with a 13-yard TD toss to JC Santana with 3:41 remaining in the game.
•       Cincinnati took the ensuing kickoff and held onto possession for a game-winning 34-yard Cole Smith field goal as time expired.

QUICK HITS . . .
•       Tulsa has five players who have played in 50 career games – Robert Revels III (55), Adam Higuera (53), Tyarise Stevenson (52), Cristian Williams (51), Tiller Bucktrot (51).
•       Tulsa has had five plays for scrimmage of 60 yards or more –– 88, 78, 75, 63 and 61 –– including three that went for touchdowns.
•       Anthony Watkins had a 78-yard run from scrimmage and a 97-yard kickoff return last week against Navy. 
•       Davis Brin is the 15th different quarterback in school history to reach 2,000+ passing yards in a single season.
•       Last week, Navy completed 0-of-4 passes against Tulsa’s defense.
•       On his third carry vs. Memphis, Shamari Brooks surpassed 3,000 career rushing yards, making him only the fifth player in school history to do so.

MISSING PIECES . . .
•       Tulsa has missed some integral pieces of its offense and defense this year.
•       Defensively, starters DE Cullen Wick (2), NKL Cristian Williams (4), SAF Kendarin Ray (2), SAF TieNeal Martin (1), LB Justin Wright (1) have all missed games this season … Ray (Ohio State 1st half) and Jaxon Player (Houston 1st half) missed one half of a game due to targeting calls.
•       On offense, WR Keylon Stokes (4), RB Deneric Prince (2) and LT Tyler Smith (1) have missed games.

100 . . .
•       Tulsa has had three different runners rush for 100+ yards this season for a total of six 100+ rushing games.
•       In addition, three Hurricane receivers have combined for six 100+ receiving games.
•       On the ground, Shamari Brooks has three 100-yard rushing games (155 vs. Arkansas State, 126 vs. Memphis and 145 at South Florida) … Deneric Prince had 151 yards against UC Davis and 110 vs. South Florida … Anthony Watkins had 115 yards against Arkansas State.
•       Thru the airways, Josh Johnson has had over 100 yards in three games –– 149 vs. Ohio State, 127 vs. Arkansas State and 140 vs. Memphis.
•       Sam Crawford had back-to-back receiving games with 105 vs. Arkansas State and 101 vs. Houston, while JC Santana has his first 100+ receiving game of the season with 109 yards against Navy.

IN THE AMERICAN . . .
•       DE Cullen Wick’s 7.5 TFL ranks second in The American for tackles for loss yards.
•       Sophomore punter Lachlan Wilson is ranked second in the AAC for punting with a 47.3 average, trailing Tulane’s Ryan Wright’s 47.7 average.
•       WR Josh Johnson is fourth in the AAC for receiving yards per game (71.6 ypg) … Johnson is second for receptions per game with a 6.14 average.
•       WR Sam Crawford Jr. is ranked 10th (57.1 ypg) and JC Santana 11th (56.9) for receiving yards per game
•       PK Zack Long is one of two place-kickers with more than one attempt that is tied for the league’s lead for field goal percentage (10-of-10).
•       CB Travon Fuller has team-highs of eight pass breakups and two interceptions to rank fourth in the AAC for passes defended per game with 10 (1.25 pg)
•       RBs Shamari Brooks (5th) and Deneric Prince (6th) are ranked among the AAC’s top- 10 for rushing yards per game … Anthony Watkins ranks 16th.
•       QB Davis Brin is third in the league for average passing yards per game (261.9) … Brin is also ranked third for total offense (262.8).

WATKINS BUSTS OUT . . .
•       Tulsa runners have 12 runs for 20+ yards this season, while Anthony Watkins has four of those, including the two longest runs from scrimmage.
•       Watkins had a 75-yard TD run against Arkansas State and a 78-yard run against Navy.
•       He also added the longest kickoff return since 2012 when he took a kickoff against Navy back 97 yards for a touchdown.
•       On the year, Watkins averages a 9.0 average on 40 rushing attempts and a 27.0 return average on six kickoff returns.

MISLEADING STAT . . . 
•       Statistically, Tulsa ranks 102nd nationally for points allowed, giving up 30.9 points per game.
•       A closer look at the stats show that Tulsa’s defense has allowed 6.2 points less at 24.7 points (198) per game.
•       Tulsa opponents have scored four times on special teams for 28 points and three times on defense for another 21 points for a total of 49 points.
•       Without the defensive and special teams scores, the 24.7 points allowed per game would rank Tulsa 63rd nationally.

500+ IN TOTAL OFFENSE . . .
•       Tulsa has gone over 500 yards in total offense in three games and over 400 in five contests.
•       Tulsa gained a season-high 663 yards on 74 plays for a 9.0 average per play against Arkansas State … the Hurricane gained 343 yards passing and 308 yards on the ground.
•       A week before, Tulsa totaled 501 yards against No. 9-ranked Ohio State, throwing for 428 and rushing for 73 yards.
•       The last time Tulsa had back-to-back 500+ total offensive games came in 2017 with 667 vs. Louisiana and 548 yards at Toledo.
•       The last time Tulsa went over 600 yards in a game came in the 2019 season finale with 669 yards at East Carolina.
•       Tulsa also had 535 yards against South Florida.
•       Tulsa has now gone over 500 yards in the Philip Montgomery era in 27 games, registering an 18-9 record.

ON THE OTHER SIDE OF 500 . . .
•       In the last 41 games, Tulsa’s defense has given up more than 500 total yards just three times.
•       Two teams –– Ohio State and Memphis –– have accomplished that feat this year … OSU gained 508 yards and Memphis had 614 on 99 plays.
•       Currently, Ohio State ranks second in the nation for total offense (548.1 ypg) and Memphis is ranked 20th (462.6 ypg)
•       The previous 500+ total offensive game in that stretch was by Oklahoma State with 506 yards in 2019.

DEFENSE TOTALING UP TACKLES FOR LOSS . . .
•       In eight games, Tulsa’s defense has totaled 50 TFL for -154 yards to rank 33rd nationally.
•       Among Tulsa’s total TFL this season, 16 have been credited as sacks for -87 yards. 
•       A total of 17 players have recorded at least one TFL for lost yards, while defensive end Cullen Wick leads the way with 7.5 for -23 TFL … fellow lineman Jaxon Player is next with seven TFL for -18 yards.
•       Tulsa turned in high games of 10 TFL for -31 yards vs. Arkansas State and six sacks for -25 yards.
•       The Hurricane had nine TFL in each of the first two games, including nine TFL for -20 yards in the season opener against UC Davis and nine TFL for -32 yards at Oklahoma State.

GROUP EFFORT BY RECEIVERS . . .
•       With 2,500+ career receiver Keylon Stokes missing four games this year due to injury, the Hurricane passing game has been a group effort by Tulsa receivers.
•       Three Tulsa receivers have combined for six 100+ receiving games and have also combined for 1,512 yards and eight TDs on 101 receptions.
•       Josh Johnson leads the way with 45 receptions for 600 yards and three TDs, followed by 457 yards and 4 TDs on 25 receptions by Sam Crawford Jr. and JC Santana with 455 yards and one TD on 21 catches.

COURTESY TULSA ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

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