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Sunday, Oct 21, 2018
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Know the Foe: Tulsa

A look at Tulsa, which hosts USF on Friday at H.A. Chapman Stadium

Nickame: Golden Hurricane
Record: 1-4 (0-2 AAC)
Win: Central Arkansas, 38-27
Losses: at Texas, 28-21; Arkansas State, 29-20; at Temple, 31-17; at Houston, 41-26
Coach: Philip Montgomery (fourth season, 19-24)
S&P+ ranking: 95

The breakdown: The Golden Hurricane gave turnover-prone Houston everything it wanted for three quarters Thursday before the Cougars rallied for 24 fourth-quarter points. Redshirt freshman QB Seth Boomer, apparently the starter going forward, had some nice moments at Houston in his collegiate debut (13-for-31, 227 yards, one TD, one INT) before succumbing to a fumble and interception. That late meltdown encapsulated Tulsa's season; it ranks 124th nationally with a minus-7 turnover margin. Friday, he should benefit from a healthier run game, which currently ranks 37th nationally (206.8 ypg). Second-leading rusher Shamari Brooks (375 yards, 4.1 ypc, four TDs) is expected back after missing the Houston game. Leading rusher Corey Taylor II (411 yards, 4.5 ypc, four TDs) came up limping late in the Houston contest, but will have had seven days between games. The rushing attack is bolstered by the American Athletic Conference's most experienced front. Three seniors — C Chandler Miller, LG Tyler Bowling and RT Willie Wright — have combined for 113 starts. Defensively, the Hurricane has drastically improved from 2017, when it allowed 528.9 yards per game and ranked 127th nationally. Against a schedule that has featured some decent offensive units (Texas, Houston), the Hurricane is allowing 380.8 yards a contest. More significantly, its yards-per-play allowance has plummeted from 7.31 in '17 to 5.6 this season. Junior LB Cooper Edmiston (42 tackles, three INTs, two forced fumbles) has been a beast through five games.

Odds & ends: This is Tulsa's third consecutive weeknight contest. … Friday's game is being billed as a "Blackout" contest at H.A. Chapman Stadium, with all Tulsa fans being encouraged to wear black. … Bulls offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert was Montgomery's OC at Tulsa in 2015, when the Hurricane went 6-7 and made the Independence Bowl. Both also served on Art Briles' staff at Houston in 2005 (when Gilbert was a graduate assistant). … The Golden Hurricane has no Floridians on its roster. … Tulsa has the smallest enrollment of any Division I-A school (3,343 students); USF has an enrollment of 50,557.

Audible: "The strength of their offense is their offensive line. … They're a team that does a really good job of running the football. We know this, it's gonna be physical and…we have to win the line of scrimmage. If we don't win the line of scrimmage, then we have no chance." — USF coach Charlie Strong

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