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Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. Ohio State Buckeyes Preview and Prediction

J.T. Barrett

J.T. Barrett

The Tulsa Golden Hurricane will make their debut appearance in Ohio Stadium as they travel north to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes. Both teams are coming off of impressive, season-opening victories.

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Tulsa dominated San Jose State 45-7 in a game that was essentially decided by halftime. Tulsa scoring 45 points was not a surprise, as the Golden Hurricane have an offense that was involved in shootouts throughout the 2015 season. The surprise came in the form of holding San Jose State to only seven points, as defense was Tulsa’s Achilles' heel last year.

Ohio State gave up a quick touchdown to Bowling Green on an interception of quarterback J.T. Barrett and trailed the Falcons early 7-0. Once Ohio State settled down, the Buckeyes steamrolled their opponent, outscoring Bowling Green 77-3 over the final three quarters. Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer liberally played numerous redshirt freshmen and true freshmen in the second half, and the Buckeyes did not look like a team that had lost 12 players in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Tulsa at Ohio State

Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 10 at 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ABC

Spread: Ohio State -29

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Three Things To Watch

1. Tulsa's Running Game vs. Ohio State's Rush Defense

Tulsa's running game is led by D'Angelo Brewer, who ran for 164 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries in the win over San Jose State. Ohio State only gave up 69 yards on the ground to Bowling Green, but will be taking on the Golden Hurricane without interior defensive lineman Tracy Sprinkle, who suffered a season-ending patella tendon injury. Redshirt freshman Dre'Mont Jones will line up alongside redshirt junior Michael Hill to try to stop the Golden Hurricane on the ground.

2. Tulsa's Wide Receivers vs. Ohio State's Secondary

Keevan Lucas and Josh Atkinson both averaged more than 18 yards per reception in the win over San Jose State. Ohio State's secondary, which featured three new starters against Bowling Green, was rewarded with a breakout game by safety Malik Hooker. Hooker had two interceptions that made the highlight reels, demonstrating tremendous athleticism and speed.

3. Tulsa's Defensive Strategy vs. Ohio State's Curtis Samuel

Ever since Urban Meyer took over as Ohio State's head coach in 2012, Buckeye fans have longed for a player to fill the H-Back position in the same manner and fashion that Percy Harvin did for Meyer when both were at Florida. With 84 yards on the ground, 177 yards through the air, and three touchdowns against Bowling Green, Samuel demonstrated the offensive versatility that the H-Back position requires. Too shifty to cover with a linebacker, and difficult to cover with a defensive back, how will Tulsa try to defend Samuel?

Final Analysis

With such a dominant performance against Bowling Green in the season opener, Urban Meyer is trying to apply the psychological brakes to his young team, lest they become overconfident and complacent at the onset of the 2016 season. Ohio State won 77-10 and it could have been even worse had Meyer not pulled his starters midway through the third quarter. Tulsa was a bowl team in 2015, and was impressive in its opening win against San Jose State. But are the Golden Hurricane ready to keep pace with a Buckeye team loaded with speed and talented recruits?

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Prediction: Ohio State 56, Tulsa 17

— Written by Chip Minnich, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a diehard Ohio State fan. Follow him on Twitter @ChipMinnich.