COLUMBUS, Ohio — Tulsa will be a huge underdog coming in to face No. 4 Ohio State Saturday in front of 100,000 fans in storied Ohio Stadium, but the Golden Hurricane won’t be lacking in confidence.
A good old-fashioned blowout will do that for a team. Nearly every aspect of Tulsa’s game was clicking last week when it pummeled San Jose State in its opener 45-10, showing signs that there could be major improvement from last year’s 6-7 squad.
Of course, Ohio State — which beat Bowling Green 77-10 in week one — will be a much tougher opponent, but Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery said his team played with maturity and emotion, and he expects players will carry that right into Columbus.
“We’ve got to be free,” Montgomery said. “We can’t go in there and be hesitant about what we want to do. I don’t want to walk off the field and still have bullets left, so we’re going to shoot them and see what happens.”
Both teams showed they are loaded with offensive weapons. Tulsa running back D’Angelo Brewer rushed for 164 yards and three touchdowns last week on 22 carries. Quarterback Dane Evans, directing the spread offense, was 12 for 23 for 198 yards and a touchdown as Tulsa rolled up 512 total yards. The Golden Hurricane was 13th in the country in total offense last year.
“Very talented receivers, two NFL prospects at wide receiver, a returning veteran at quarterback,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. “They just force you to play in space.”
Ohio State broke a school record for offensive yards by piling up 776 against Bowling Green. Quarterback J.T. Barrett passed for six touchdowns and ran for another.
Montgomery, a former Baylor assistant, recruited Barrett out of high school in Texas and knows how dynamic he is.
“He got them in and out of plays, he got them in and out of situations, threw the ball very effectively, and he’s a dual-threat guy,” Montgomery said. “I mean, he’s a guy that can pull it down and hurt you with his feet just as well as he can do it with his arm.”
BUCKEYES EXPECT MORE FIGHT
It was designed to be another tuneup game, but several Ohio State players said this week they expect Tulsa to put up more a fight than their week one opponent.
“I feel like we’re going to get some more experienced people,” cornerback Gareon Conley said. “I know a lot of guys had left from Bowling Green, and watching some of the film from Tulsa I know (they have) an experienced quarterback, so we’ve got to get ready for that. And they have a faster tempo.”
Said center Pat Elflein: “They’ve got better players. They run some more stuff (on defense), they’re going to blitz us more, so it’s just kind of like another step up from Bowling Green.”
BURROW SHOWS HIS STUFF
Meyer said he was pleased to see backup quarterback Joe Burrow get some significant playing time last week. Burrow, a redshirt freshman who likely is the Buckeyes’ quarterback of the future, took over for Barrett in the third quarter for mop-up duty. He was 6 for 8 for 68 yards and threw his first career touchdown pass.
“He confirmed what we all thought and what he’s shown: He’s a tough guy who has talent, and it means a lot to him,” Meyer said.
Asked if he was confident Burrow could do the job if Barrett got injured, Meyer wouldn’t answer. “I’m not going there,” he said.
Injuries forced Meyer to use his second- and third-string QBs to win the national championship in 2014.
SMALL SCHOOL IN THE BIG TIME
Tulsa has the smallest undergraduate enrollment of FBS schools with 3,473 students; Ohio State is ranked third with 55,508.
With a capacity near 105,000, Ohio Stadium will host the largest crowd ever to see Tulsa play football. The Golden Hurricane played in front of 85,657 last year at Oklahoma.
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