Vitals: Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. Marshall Thundering Herd

Thursday, November 10th 2011, 9:02 pm
By: News 9

Grant Belcher,

Tulsa Golden Hurricane (6-3, 5-0 Conference USA) vs. Marshall Thundering Herd (4-5, 3-2)
Saturday, Nov. 12, 11:10 a.m.
Chapman Stadium, Tulsa

  Tulsa Marshall
Passing  G.J. Kinne
166-263, 2098 yds, 17 tds
 Rakeem Cato
103-187, 1179 yds, 9 tds
Rushing  Trey Watts
105 car, 568 yds, 2 tds
 Tron Martinez
109 car, 466 yds, 1 td
Receiving  Willie Carter
52 rec, 767 yds, 5 tds
 Aaron Dobson
33 rec, 390 yds, 7 tds

Where to look for it:

TV: FOX Sports Network (Bill Land, Dave Lapham, Emily Jones)
Radio: KRMG 740 AM/FM 102.3 (Bruce Howard, Rick Couri, Chris Kaiser)

Injury Report

Tulsa: RB Trey Watts (undisclosed, questionable)  WR Thomas Roberson (undisclosed, questionable) DB John Flanders, DT Darell Zellars (academics, out for season) WR Damaris Johnson (suspended indefinitely)

Marshall: S D.J. Hunter (knee, questionable) DL James Rouse (back, questionable)  WR Demetrius Evans (out indefinitely)  TE Jamie Hatten (out indefinitely)

What you need to know

These two teams don't really have much of a history, but what they do have is exciting. TU and Marshall have played only twice in history and the Golden Hurricane has won both of them, though not by much. Tulsa won a 38-31 home game in 2007, and then squeaked out a 38-35 win in Huntington the following year.

Similar to the Golden Hurricane, Marshall has not been afraid to stock their schedule up with some tough opponents. The Thundering Herd has faced three ranked teams this season in West Virginia, Virginia Tech and Houston. Marshall has not been particularly impressive in those games, losing by an average of 26 points. But Tulsa is an example of how to not underestimate a team based on its losses. The Golden Hurricane's only three losses have come to BCS top 10 teams in OSU, OU and Boise State.

The Thundering Herd doesn't exactly thunder into the end zone very often on offense, as they are 105th nationally in total offense and scoring offense. Marshall gets the job done on defense, or at least with one particular aspect of its defense. The Herd isn't that great defending the pass, but they are experts at getting into the opponent's backfield to stop a play dead in its tracks. Marshall is third in the nation in tackles for loss, racking up an astounding 8.3 tackles for loss per game. They are also among the nation's leaders in sacks. Tulsa's offensive line has been sturdy so far this season but will certainly get tested against the Thundering Herd defensive line.

Who to watch

That stout Marshall defense is anchored by defensive end Vinny Curry. Curry, a 6-4, 263-pound defensive end, is a surefire NFL prospect whose only job is to get into opposing backfields and wreak havoc. Curry was a first team All-Conference USA selection last year and led all defensive linemen in the nation in tackles. Curry is a force to be reckoned with, as his 4.6-speed, nearly unheard of for a lineman his size, lets him dart around slower offensive linemen with ease. Watch for No. 99 of Marshall to come darting around the sides, and Tulsa fans will be holding their breath on each play that Curry gets into the backfield.

Tulsa kicker Kevin Fitzpatrick has been among the University's elite all-time scorers, racking up 268 career points in 44 games for a career average of 6.1 per game. He is now fourth on Tulsa's all-time list, 18 points back from Jarod Tracy who scored 286 points from 2004-08. Though it might take a couple of games, Fitzpatrick can also pass third place Brad DeVault (280 points) and Jason Staurovsky (281).