2022 Tulsa Golden Hurricane Preview

by Matt Fargo

Tulsa Golden Hurricane

2021-22 Season Record 7-6 (5-3 American) - 8-5-0 ATS - 7-5-1 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 6
Defense - 6

Overview

Former head coach Steve Kragthorpe and his Tulsa team entered C-USA in 2005 and had its most sustained run since the 50s as he put together five winning records, including three double-digit marks, in six seasons before he left for Louisville where things did not work out as planned. The reigns were turned over to Bill Blankenship and he had two solid seasons, going 19-8 and then things took a turn. A bad turn. Six losing seasons in the next seven years cost him his job after four seasons and current head coach Philip Montgomery took over in 2015 which was the second year in the AAC for the Golden Hurricane and he took them to two straight bowl games. A rough stretch for the next three years followed and then the shortened COVID season produced a 6-3 record which likely saved his job and last season was another positive one. Now, we will see what he can do with very little.

Offense

The Tulsa offense has been pretty steady the last three seasons and last season with 10 starters back, it averaged 436.4 ypg which was No. 37 in the country but it averaged only 26.1 ppg which was No. 84 overall and that is a huge discrepancy. The problem was turnovers as the Golden Hurricane gave it away 24 times which was tied for No. 124 in the nation and many of those were drive killers. Quarterback Davis Brin will be in his second season as the full time starter and he needs to become more efficient. While he threw for 3,269 yards and 18 touchdowns but he tossed 16 interceptions while completing just over 59 percent of his passes. Two of his top three receivers are back led by JuanCarlos Santana who had 689 yards and three scores. Leading rusher Shamari Brooks has departed so a running back by committee takes over. The offensive line has just one starter back and that is a problem.

Defense

The defense tailed off in the passing game from 2021 and despite 10 starters back on this side of the ball as well, they allowed 38 more ypg and five more ppg, finishing No. 69 and No. 77 respectively. This season, only six starters return and the front six is going to need help from the start. Starting with the defensive line, they do get Anthony Goodlow back at one of the end spots and he led the team with six sacks but had just 27 tackles and the other two spots need replacements with Colorado transfer Jayden Simon likely grabbing one of those and the depth after that is a concern. Linebacker Justin Wright led the team with 82 tackles and contributed 3.5 sacks and like the front three, two additional starters need to be replaced. The secondary is the most experienced level with four of the five players having starting experience including all three safeties so the pass defense should be better.

2022 Season Outlook

Even though he is coming off two straight winning seasons, this is a big year for Montgomery to keep the momentum going and not begin another tailspin. Lack of experience and a fairly tough schedule are going to make it difficult to contend in the once again loaded American and a decent start is important as last season, they started 0-3 and were forced to win their last three to become bowl eligible. A 2-2 record in the four nonconference games is necessary at the very least and a 3-1 start is doable with the opener at Wyoming being a big swing game. The conference schedule has its good and bad portions with home games against Cincinnati and SMU and road games at Memphis and Houston being most difficult and those last two come late in the season. The O/U win total is set at 6 and that looks to be spot on and that includes not losing to both Navy and Temple in back-to-back roadies. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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