Tulsa vs Oklahoma State: A Rivalry Renewed

A Rivalry Renewed

For only the second time since 2011, Tulsa and Oklahoma State will face each other on the gridiron. And, the Golden Hurricane will look to force the upset for the first time since 1998. After 2018 seasons that were disappointing for both programs, both teams seem to be much improved after two games. In a game that many feels should be played every year, we’ll look at a rivalry renewed as the Golden Hurricane battle the Cowboys.

A Rivalry Renewed

This is a rivalry closer than many might think with Oklahoma State holding a 41-27-5 lead. However, the Cowboys have dominated the series as of late in winning six consecutive by an average score of 50-24. However, Tulsa has split the last two meetings at home. To upset the Cowboys again, the Golden Hurricane must continue its strong defensive play.

Strength vs Strength

Historically, the Golden Hurricane have relied on an explosive offense to win games. But, the defense is the unquestioned strength of the 2019 team through two games. Comparatively, the strength for Oklahoma State is its explosive offense that is averaging 54 points per game this season. For this, the matchup to watch will be how Tulsa matches up with the Cowboys offensive unit.

Is the defense for real?

While the best matchup is pretty clear in this game, neither team has been particularly tested early on. Tulsa lost its opener to Michigan State by a 28-7 count. And, the offense put the defense in terrible position throughout the night. But, the Golden Hurricane defense force four field goals and only gave up one offensive touchdown to the Spartans. However, last year Michigan State had one of the worst Power Five offenses in the country.

And, last week Tulsa got a much-needed victory against San Jose State. Again, the defense played very inspired in only giving up 10 points until a late garbage touchdown in the final minutes of the game. With the competition picking up immensely, can the defense continue to improve and play winning football? This could be the best offense that the Golden Hurricane face this season.

The New Triplets

The triplets were first dubbed by the Dallas Cowboys when they trotted out Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin. Now, while it may take a while for this group to gain that notariety they have been special early in the season. The Cowboys had a household name in Tylan Wallace to start the year but running back Chuba Hubbard and quarterback Spencer Sanders have been pleasant surprises.

Wallace is proving why he is quite possibly the best receiver in America as he has 272 yards and five touchdowns through two games. Comparatively, Hubbard has been just as impressive with 265 yards on the ground in his sophomore campaign. But, the new ingredient to the pot has been Sanders. His early-season numbers compare pretty close to Heisman Trophy leader Jalen Hurts this season. He’s completing nearly 74% of his passes with six touchdowns and no interceptions. Now, these three will need to do it on the road facing their toughest test this year.

Keys to the Game

We continue to look at a rivalry renewed as we give keys to the game for both teams to come up with a win here.

Tulsa

  1. Offensive production: After a dismal performance in the opener, quarterback Zach Smith and running back Shamari Brooks were solid against San Jose State. If Smith can throw for 250+ and Brooks can run for 100+ the Golden Hurricane have a shot.
  2. Three, not six: The ability for Tulsa’s defense to force field goals is what kept them in the game against Michigan State. More of the same will be required here to allow this game to be tight.

Oklahoma State

  1. Be who you thought they were: The three-headed monster in Stillwater has to continue to be scary for the opposition. If they can maintain that production and stay in the high 30’s or low 40’s, they should win.
  2. Force Turnovers: Forcing turnovers is often a cliche in football. However, Oklahoma State lives in the pass-happy Big 12 where getting turnovers is critical to success. If the Cowboys can force a few Golden Hurricane miscues then this game could be over in the third quarter.

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