Vitals: Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Boise State

Thursday, September 22nd 2011, 6:34 pm
By: News 9

Grant Belcher,

Tulsa Golden Hurricane (1-2) at No. 4 Boise State (2-0)
7 p.m. CST
Bronco Stadium, Boise, Idaho

Statistical Leaders:

  Tulsa Boise State
Passing G.J. Kinne
41-67, 525 yds, 5 TD
Kellen Moore
60-76, 716 yds, 8 TD
Rushing Trey Watts
45 rush, 262 yds
Doug Martin
43 rush, 127 yds, 1 TD
Receiving Bryan Burnham
13 rec, 230 yds, 5 TD
Doug Martin
8 rec, 147 yds, 1 TD

Where to look for it:

TV: CBS Sports Network (James Bates, Aaron Taylor, Brooke Collins)
Radio: KRMG 740 AM/FM 102.3 (Bruce Howard, Rick Couri, Chris Kaiser)

Injury Report:

Tulsa: GB G.J. Kinne (knee, doubt)  DB John Flanders (academics, out)  WR Damaris Johnson (suspended, out)  DT Darrell Zellars (academics, out)

Boise State: G Joe Kellogg (leg, prob)  TE Chandler Koch (leg, prob)  FB Dan Paul (groin, doubt)  DT Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe (eligibility, doubt)  WR Geraldo Boldewijn (eligibility, dout)  RB Malclom Johnson (knee, out for season)

What you need to know

It's hard to think of a much more nightmarish game for the Golden Hurricane than how things played out early Sunday morning against OSU. The game lasted until about 3:30 a.m. and TU lost its top playmaker in starting quarterback G.J. Kinne. College kids are young and can bounce back from the lack of sleep, but it's tough to bounce back from losing your top playmakers. TU is now without the two players that were featured on its preseason media guide (Damaris Johnson is the other).

This is the sixth meeting between Boise State and Tulsa, because both teams were members of the Western Athletic Conference for a short period of time. Boise State leads the series 5-0. The most recent game in the series was certainly an exciting one. The Broncos - ranked No. 5 in the nation at the time - were able to hold on for a 28-21 victory. Ironically, the previous meeting in Boise was a close one as well, when the Broncos held on to win 27-20.

It's not an exaggeration to say that Tulsa has had by far the toughest non-conference schedule of any team in the country this year. Boise State will be the third team in the top 8 nationally in the first four games for TU. The Golden Hurricane opened the season against No. 1 OU and took on the No. 7 OSU Cowboys last week in Tulsa. Boise State comes into the game ranked No. 4 in the country. The Golden Hurricane has played three Top 25 teams in one season only twice before, but never three top 10 teams until this year.

Who you need to watch

Tulsa has always had a history of putting up plenty of offense, but it re-iterated that once again last week against Oklahoma State. Despite the late start and quarterback G.J. Kinne getting knocked out of the game, two Golden Hurricane rushers had a huge night, each setting career highs. Sophomore Ja'Terian Douglas rushed for 175 yards and two scores against the OSU defense, and Trey Watts put up 163 yards of his own. With Kinne out, the Cowboys defense knew that the Golden Hurricane would be run-happy but was still helpless to stop it. While Boise State's offense is stellar as usual, its defense is nothing to write home about, and Douglas and Watts need to have big days on the ground to give TU a shot at this one.

G.J. Kinne hasn't technically been ruled out for the game against Boise State, but it would certainly be a shocker to see him step out onto the field. Kinne still has an unspecified knee injury, though it has been speculated as a torn MCL. If Kinne is indeed out, all the pressure in this game will mount on Tulsa quarterback Kalen Henderson. He was 6-of-20 against OSU after stepping in for Kinne, and also threw three interceptions and had a couple of fumbles and miscommunications with his center. To his credit, it was around 3 a.m. and the field and ball were both soaking wet. But Henderson's play must improve if Tulsa wants to hang in there without Kinne. Henderson doesn't have to become a superstar and throw for 300 yards and four touchdowns. He simply has to manage the game without making any major mistakes, and let his teammates step up.

On the Boise State side, Kellen Moore is an obvious Heisman candidate and constantly listed among the best quarterbacks in the nation. Moore is fourth in passing efficiency and sixth in total offense. He threw for a nearly-unheard-of 455 yards and five touchdowns last week against Toledo. The scary part is how well Moore spreads the ball around. His top receiver is actually the team's running back, Doug Martin. But seven Boise State receivers average 30 or more receiving yards per game. Essentially, there is no one in particular to buckle down on like Tulsa did against Justin Blackmon last week. Moore will find whatever receiver is open, resulting in a big test for the young Golden Hurricane secondary.