Vitals: Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Rice Owls

Thursday, October 20th 2011, 12:45 am
By: News 9

Grant Belcher,

Tulsa Golden Hurricane (3-3, 2-0 Conference USA) at Rice Owls (2-4, 1-2)
Saturday, Oct. 22, 6 p.m.
Rice Stadium, Houston, Texas

Statistical Leaders:

  Tulsa Rice
Passing G.J. Kinne
106-165, 1303 yds, 12 tds
Taylor McHargue
Rushing Ja'Terian Douglas
53 car, 433 yds, 3 tds
Tyler Smith
48 car, 274 yds
Receiving Bryan Burnham
26 rec, 377 yds, 6 tds
Vance McDonald
23 rec, 248 yds, 4 tds

Where to look for it

TV: Fox Sports Network (Ron Thulin, JC Pearson, Jeremy Bloom)

Radio: KRMG 740 AM/FM 102.3 (Bruce Howard, Rick Couri, Chris Kaiser)

Injury Report

Tulsa: DB John Flanders, DT Darell Zellars (academics, out for season) WR Damaris Johnson (suspended indefinitely)

Rice: CB Chris Jammer (head, probable) QB Taylor McHargue (head, probable) WR Randy Kitchens (leg, probable) LB Trey Briggs (knee, doubtful) CB Phillip Gaines (foot, out indefinitely) S Gabe Baker (ankle, out until early November) RB Charles Ross (Hamstring, out until early November)

What you need to know

Tulsa-Rice is a matchup with a rare phenomenon: the series is split almost evenly down the middle in terms of wins and losses, but each team in the head-to-head series has been more successful on the road than at home. If history is any indication, that might bode well for the Golden Hurricane as it hits the road on Saturday. But if more recent history is any indication, Tulsa might not need any luck to defeat the Rice Owls. TU has won the last four contests in the series and seven of the past eight.

The Golden Hurricane will be playing with heavy hearts yet again as another member of the TU family recently passed away. Anthony Germany, a former defensive back for the Golden Hurricane, died Tuesday evening due to complications from a pulmonary embolism. Germany went to Putnam City High School before joining the Tulsa football team. It is the third death the TU football team has had to work through this year. Offensive lineman Wilson Holloway lost a battle with Hodgkins Lymphoma in February. And last month, George Clinkscale, 24, died at a Tulsa hospital after participating in a boxing match at Tulsa's Guts Church. Clinkscale was a linebacker for the Golden Hurricane.

Who to watch

Saturday's game features two of the top eight tacklers in the country in Tulsa's Curnelius Arnick and Rice's Cameron Nwosu. Arnick is putting up 12.33 tackles per game, with Nwosu not far behind at 11.17 per game. Nwosu had 16 tackles in Rice's game against Marshall last week.

As is the strange case with many of Tulsa's opponents this year, the Owls are stellar in the punting and punt return categories. Kyle Martens averages 45.3 yards per punt for the Owls, good for 11th in the nation. Their punt returner Mario Hull averages more than 15 yards per punt return, which is also good for 11th in the nation.

Despite Tulsa's obvious running back-by-committee strategy, Ja'Terian Douglas has certainly proven his worth over the past few games. Douglas has emerged as the fourth-best runner in Conference USA, at least statistically. After busting out 175 yards and two scores against Oklahoma State earlier in the year, he put up 137 yards and a touchdown last week against UAB. Douglas has also caught at least one pass in every game this year except one (North Texas).

Rice quarterback Taylor McHargue often gets the job done when it counts, sporting a significantly better quarterback rating in the second half of games than the first, as well as better against ranked teams than unranked opponents. However, McHargue has experienced concussion-like symptoms lately, but is still expected to play and start against Tulsa. If he were not able to play, quarterback Nick Fanuzzi would likely get the start, having thrown just a handful of passes in limited playing time the entire year.