Tulsa will host Iowa State
With an extra week off to get ready, Tulsa will face its final nonconference test Saturday when the Golden Hurricane try to beat Iowa State in Tulsa.
Iowa State was upset by Northern Iowa (20-28) and was tripped up by Iowa, 21-27. The Cyclones also had last week off in preparation for Tulsa.
Tulsa, which won the Conference USA crown last season, beat Iowa State 31-17 in the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31, 2012.
That win gave Tulsa a 11-3 record. Trey Watts was voted Most Valuable Player and Tulsa’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player of the 2012 Liberty Bowl. Watts was also selected MVP of the Conference USA Championship Game.
Watts totaled 249 all-purpose yards – 149 rushing, 17 receiving and on 83 kickoff returns. It marked the fifth time last season Watts has totaled more than 200 all-purpose yards.
Linebacker Shawn Jackson was named Tulsa’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player.
The Tulsa defense allowed 268 total yards, the fewest TU has allowed in a bowl game since the 2009 GMAC Bowl when it allowed 223 total yards to Ball State. Tulsa rushed for 317 yards, the second-most ever by TU in a bowl game.
The Tulsa defense recorded three sacks. It was the ninth time last season the Hurricane has tallied at least three sacks in a game.
The Tulsa defense allowed Iowa State to gain just nine first downs, the fewest of the season.
Down 17-7 in the first quarter, Tulsa scored 24 consecutive points to take a 31-17 lead. That was the most consecutive points scored by one team in a Liberty Bowl since Boise State scored 24 straight points against Louisville in the 2004 game.
In the second half, Tulsa held the ball for 21:51, and allowed Iowa State just an 8:09 time of possession.
Quarterback Cody Green rushed for a season-high 58 yards in the game.
On Sept. 1, 2012, Iowa State opened the season with a 38-23 victory over TU at Ames.
In that game, Watts’ 77-yard run in the fourth quarter was his career-long. His previous long was 58 yards last year. Keyarris Garrett caught his first career touchdown pass in the fourth quarter in that loss.
Tulsa lost at Bowling Green to open the season this year and then beat Colorado State.
The Golden Hurricane fell at No. 13 Oklahoma, 51-20, on Sept. 14. Watts totaled 231 all-purpose yards with 60 yards rushing, 65 yards receiving, 77 punt return yards and 29 kick return yards.
With his 60 yards rushing he now has 2,406 to move into seventh-place on Tulsa’s all-time rushing chart, while his 77-yard punt return was the longest of his career.
Before Saturday, TU’s Watts ranked fifth in the nation in all-purpose yardage, averaging 200 yards per game. In three games, Watts (the son of former Oklahoma quarterback and U.S. congressman J.C. Watts) had 220 yards rushing, 156 yards receiving, 114 yards in punt returns and 110 yards in kickoff returns.
Against Oklahoma, Jordan James caught six passes for 100 yards, while Green completed 17-of-33 passes for 226 yards and had one interception. He also had four carries for six yards.
Jackson had 15 tackles, his ninth career double-figure performance.
As of Sept. 14, Tulsa uncharacteristically ranked No. 102 in total offense, averaging 340 yards per game. The scoring offense was also No. 102 with 19 points a game with passing at No. 74 (220 yard average) and rushing at No. 96 (120 yards per game).
Unfortunately, TU ranks 111th in scoring defense, allowing 37 points per game. Another glaring statistic is time of possession. The Golden Hurricane are No. 112 in that category.
The statistics for Iowa State are not much better. The Cyclones are No. 88 in total offense nationally (364 yards per game) and near the bottom at No. 102 in rushing (113 yards per game).
The Iowa State defense is No. 107 against the run, surrendering 223 yards per game and also No. 107 in passing efficiency defense.
Iowa State ranks 115th in first downs on offense and 102nd in time of possession.