The Tulsa Golden Hurricane is taking their talents to South Beach, as the face off against the Central Michigan Chippewas. The selection of the bowl was disappointing to fans, as the time, location, and opponent is not what anyone was hoping for. ESPN ranked this game as the 36th most entertaining bowl game out of 41. Bill Simmons’ new website The Ringer had a different perspective…
Although you'll already be watching, perhaps you can use this Ringer article excerpt to convince your friends to watch, too pic.twitter.com/GgwDPR4jm6
— Reign Cane Sports (@ReignCaneSports) December 17, 2016
Putting all the disappointment aside, this is a big game for Tulsa. We have had a really good season, but there is something about losing your last game of the season that leaves a sour taste in your mouth. Initially I was worried about the players being too focused on South Beach and not on the mighty Chippewas, but then CMU’s Malik Fountain provided Tulsa with some bulletin board material.
— Austin Chadwick (@AustinChadwick) December 17, 2016
Here is the full quote from the Sophomore who was once arrested for assault:
“We have to line up,” he said. “That’s how they beat people, they run fast plays that allow you to misalign. If you line up to them, you can play them, anybody can play them. They’re not really that great, they just get you to miss assignments so they can explode. They have the athletes to make plays.”
Haha so yeah, I think that will help get the players motivated for Monday’s game. Another motivating factor for the Golden Hurricane will be getting 10 wins for the 5th time since 2007, and carrying the flag for the American Conference, which is now 0-2 in bowl season. Let’s get to my preview:
This year: CMU started the season with high expectations. The Chippewas finished 7-5 last year, and after “beating” Oklahoma State in the 2nd week of this season, they had their sights set on winning the MAC. The Chips fell apart at the end of the season though, as they lost 4 of their last 5 games and finished with a 3-5 record in the MAC. During that 5 game stretch, CMU failed to score more than 30 points.
Scoring offense: CMU: 27.7 ppg (70th)
TU: 41,4 ppg (11th)
Rushing offense: CMU: 118.67 ypg (117th)
TU: 261.75 ypg (8th)
Passing offense: CMU: 276.4 ypg (26th)
TU: 260.8 ypg (40th)
Scoring defense: CMU: 28.3 ppg (68th)
TU: 31.5 ppg (89th)
Rush defense: CMU: 161.33 ypg (56th)
TU: 184.08 ypg (72nd)
Pass defense: CMU:214.8 ypg (49th)
TU: 248.3 ypg (90th)
Best Players: This game will be the 37th and final time that senior Cooper Rush has been the Chippewas starting QB. Rush ranks 43rd in the nation in QB rating, but he has thrown 13 picks on the year. His numbers are very similar to Dane’s; Rush has the slight edge in yards and completion %, while Dane has more touchdowns and fewer picks. Rush was named to third team all-conference. The aforementioned Malik Fountain was named to first-team all conference at his inside linebacker position, he tallied 10 tackles for loss this season. The other Chip that made first team all-conference was defensive back Amari Coleman.
Uniform Advantage: Remember when we were with Nike, and it felt like they didn’t really put much effort into our uniforms? That’s how I think Adidas is with CMU. Their design is like one you can make in a video game, with a logo slapped on. Advantage Tulsa.
Uniform prediction: I believe Tulsa is the home team, so I’ll go white-blue-blue. If we are the road team though I think we’ll rock all-white.
Preview: I’m going to be honest, I haven’t watch CMU play at all this season, well actually I’ve seen one play. During the season I always made a point to watch AAC teams play so I could give an informed previews, but in this case there was no way I could prepare. With that said, I’ll give it my best shot.
One of the biggest keys in this game will be how TU defends CMU’s TE Tyler Conklin. Conklin is a 6-4 junior who has 40 catches and 6 touchdowns on the season. Conklin is nowhere near the Chippewas’ most prolific receiver, but he had at least 3 receptions in 9 of his 12 games. He is Rush’s steady, sure-handed target, and if our line backers can take that away then perhaps we can stifle the Chippewas’ passing offense. This is also a game where Petera Wilson and the rest of the TU pass rush can tee off, CMU is 100th in the country in sacks allowed.
Offensively for Tulsa, we just have to find our momentum early. Central Michigan’s game plan is control the ball offensively, and hope that in turn this makes the opponent’s offense get impatient and play too fast. They executed this game plan perfectly against Oklahoma State, and that is how they pulled off the upset. The Chippewas’ defense doesn’t do anything spectacular, but they’re are solid in every category. If Tulsa executes offensively, then they should run up and down the field on CMU, but if they get out of rhythm then they will struggle and this game could easily be much closer than it should.
Prediction: I would feel better about this game if it wasn’t for what happened against Cincinnati. Tulsa should be able to hold the Chips’ offense to less than 30 points, but remember, Tulsa’s defense allowed the Bearcats to score 24 first half points… they had only scored 26 total in their last four games! This feels like Tulsa’s game though. This is a culmination of Dane, Keevan, and Trent’s career, this is Tulsa becoming the first team in NCAA history to have a 3,000 yard passer, two 1,000 yard rushers, and two 1,000 yard receivers, this is ‘Tulsa vs err’body’, and this time Tulsa comes out on top. We will be motivated, we will be ready, and we will blow out CMU to finish a 10-win season. Tulsa 49-21