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This week Tulsa will travel to California to take on the 1-2 Fresno State Bulldogs. Here is what you need to know about the matchup.
Last year: Fresno State finished the season with a disappointing 3-9 record, head coach Tim DeRuyter retained his job, however both the offensive and defensive coordinators were replaced.
This year: Fresno is off to dismal 1-2 start. They have suffered two blowout road defeats, @ Nebraska 43-10, and @ Toledo 52-17. Their lone win was versus an FCS team, Sacramento State 31-3 in week 2.
The stats: NCAA rank is in parentheses.
Best players: Receiver Jamire Jordan is a stud. He had 12 receptions for 152 yards in the first two games, then last week he caught an 85-yard TD pass. He will garner Keanu Hill’s attention though, so I’m not very worried about him. At QB, the bulldogs have a bit of a controversy: redshirt freshman Chason Virgil, and senior Zach Kline. The writer of this article doesn’t think fondly of either of the options, but Virgil is the future, a dynamic QB who can make plays with his feet, while Kline is the mature game-manager. Virgil began as the starter, but has really struggled passing the ball.
Uniform advantage: This is interesting, because Fresno State has a mediocre Nike design, and Tulsa has an above average Adidas design. I’m going to give the edge to Tulsa in this one because Tulsa has the better helmets (the bulldog mascot is goofy), and I don’t like the block on the shoulder of their jersey. Tulsa’s colors are just better too.
Tulsa’s uniform prediction: I predict Tulsa will go with the white-white-blue look for this game, not thrilled about it, but it’s not a nationally televised game so need to get too fancy.
Preview: This is the second MWC team Tulsa plays this season, but Fresno State is definitely the worse of the two. The Bulldogs did not have a lot going for them last season, and they are off to a very poor start this season. Coach Tim DeRuyter is on the hot seat, they don’t have a clear QB, and their defense is awful. All those things considered, this should be a blowout win for Tulsa. However, besides for Sacramento State, this is the most winnable nonconference game for coach Deruyter and company. So expect the Bulldogs to come out desperate and willing try anything to reach .500 before conference play starts. This game will be close if Chason Virgil is able to escape the pocket and make plays, and Tulsa’s offense sleepwalks in and expects to roll over the Bulldogs.
Prediction: With Fresno’s terrible run defense, look for Montgomery to run to ball early and often. This is the worst offense arguably that Tulsa has faced this season, so they should be able to continue their brilliant play. Keanu, in his return to California, will lock down Jordan, front 7 will stuff the run, and as long as Bill Young continues to call plays as he has been, the Golden Hurricane will force punts. If TU comes out focused, and there is no reason to believe they won’t be, Tulsa will be 3-1 heading into their bye week. Brewer rolls, Dane passes when he needs to, and TU gets the no-doubt victory. Tulsa 38-10.