Colorado State Non-Conference Preview: Tulsa Hurricanes

Wesley Hitt

Colorado State heads on the road to face Tulsa in Week 2.

The Colorado St. Rams head on the road Week 2 when they take on the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Saturday Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. ET and can be seen on CBS College Sports Network.
Head Coach: Bill Blakenship (19-8)
2012 Season in Review: Tulsa is coming off a Conference USA title where they won 11 games, and earned a bowl victory over Iowa State which avenged their season opening loss. They have always been known for their explosive offense and last season was no different ranking third best in their league with 34.7 points per game.

For a team known more for their passing attack, the running game was the most effective branch of their offense. They had three rushers who combined for 2,800 and 34 touchdowns, but 24 of those came from senior Alex Singleton. Finding a replacement for Singleton will not be all that difficult as Trey Watts and Ja'Terian Douglas will be back.

Returning Offensive Starters: 8
Returning Defensive Starters: 3
Key Returning Starters: Cody Green (QB), Trey Watts (RB), Ja' Terian Douglas (RB), Keyarris Garrett (WR), Shawn Jackson (LB), Demarco Nelson (DB)
2013 Strengths: This Tulsa team is going to live and die by the offense. Eight players return this year including top running backs Watts and Douglas, wide receivers Garrett and Jordan James, and quarterback Green. These five players combined for 4,919 yards and 31 touchdowns last season. In the run game, the Hurricanes lose Alex SIngleton and his 24 touchdowns to graduation, but Watts and Douglas are ready to step in as they both averaged more than six yards per attempt last season and are big play threats. In front of them is an experienced offensive line that only lost center Trent Dupy.

Quarterback Cody Green has two of his main targets, Garret and James, returning for which he threw to for a combined 1400 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. Green, a University of Nebraska transfer, is not an All-Conference level player, but he is effective, capable on the run, and an experienced threat for Offensive Coordinator Greg Peterson. Last year Tulsa ranked 28th in total offense in the country, and expect them to replicate that success again this year.

2013 Weaknesses: As good as Tulsa's offense was in 2012, their defense was even better ranking 26th in total yards allowed nationally. So what is the problem? The problem is only three of those starters are returning this year, and many of the leaders from last year's team are gone. Tackle leader DeAundre Brown, gone. Sack leader Jared St. John, gone. Interception leader Dexter McCoil, gone. And in between those three a lot of role players whom the Tulsa defense will miss.

Senior linebacker Shawn Jackson returns and will have to be an anchor for a defense that will rotate a lot of young players. The Hurricane defense was not great against the pass last year and it appears they will struggle again this year. Not only do they lose two of their best defensive backs, they also lose much of the pass rush capabilities they had last year. If the front seven can not put pressure on the quarterback and hold opponents running game in check, it could be a long season for the defensive backfield. Blakenship has recruited well to help alleviate the loss of so much production, but it remains to be seen if new faces can recoup some of that.

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