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Tulsa vs. San Jose State game preview: Spartans defense needs a big game

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San Jose State will have their hands full with Tulsa’s offense.

AutoNation Cure Bowl - Georgia State v San Jose State Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

San Jose State takes to the road for their season opener against Tulsa out of the American, and this is a very dangerous game for the Spartans. The passing game for the Spartans defense has been the pride of this team, but they will be tested mightily on the road in Oklahoma.

Tulsa is coached by former Baylor offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery and is entering his second year on the job. Last year, the Golden Hurricane went to a bowl game and finished 6-7, but the Tulsa offense was second best in the AAC with 507 yards per game and also passing at 333 yards.

To compare that nationally, Tulsa was 11th nationally in passing. Now that Montgomery is in his second year the offense might be even more efficient.

Tulsa is led by Dane Evans who had 25 touchdowns to just eight interceptions, completed 62 percent of his passes and was top 10 in yards per attempt and yards per game. Not only is Evans back but so do his top returning receivers who each had 1,000 yards in Keevan Lucas and Josh Atkinson.

The running game is something that is often overlooked is the ground game and Tulsa does return their leading rusher in D'Angelo Brewer who rushed for 837 yards, but the loss is a big one in Zack Langer who ran for 777 yards but had 18 touchdowns.

The rushing game for San Jose State has been pretty bad so look for Tulsa to run the ball against the Spartans defense; perhaps Christian Tago will have a word about this for the San Jose State defense.

The Spartans will need to find a new back as Mr. Everything Tyler Ervin is in the NFL, and the replacement is going to be a combination of Shane Smith and Washington transfer — who is in his seventh year of eligibility — Deontae Cooper is in the starting role and is expected to take over the ground game.

Quarterback Kenny Potter lost a key weapon as Tyler Winston is not eligible for the year, but he does have one of the nation’s best tight ends in Billy Freeman. There will be a resemblance of a passing game.

Game time/location: 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT; Tulsa, Oklahoma

Radio: KLIV 1590 AM

Television: CBS Sports Network

Streaming: None

Odds: Tulsa is a six-point favorite