BG to play challenging team for home opener

The Tulsa Golden Hurricane football team this past year was among teams like Alabama, Florida State and Stanford as the only four teams to win 11 games win their conference and win a bowl game. They come into this season off of an 11-3 record and a win against Iowa State in the Liberty City Bowl.

“They have been one of the winningest teams in the country for the last seven or eight years,” Head Coach Dave Clawson said. “This is a team that won 11 games a year ago and won a bowl game against a very good Iowa State team and they are an excellent team.”

Tulsa is returning eight starters to an offense that was ranked ninth in rushing yards and 30th in scoring offense. They lost three main contributors from their team one being Alex Singleton who led the team in rushing attempts and rushing touchdowns with 24. They return with their leading rusher, Trey Watts, who ran for 1,132 yards on 186 attempts this past year.

“They have two tailbacks that are NFL prospects the Watts kid and the Douglas kid are both really good players,” Clawson said. “They have the personal to throw the ball 400 yards a game as well.”

They are returning only three starters to their defense that ranked 16th in rush defense and third for sacks this past year. They bring back their third and fourth leading tacklers from last year, linebacker Shawn Jackson and safety Demarco Nelson.

“They are a physical football team,” Clawson said. “Their linebacker Jackson is probably one of the best we will face and their safety Nelson is a very good player as well.”

Tulsa has been ranked right outside the top 25 by most poll ranking websites. They are the favorites to win the Conference USA again this year and to win another 11 games.

“This is probably the best team we have played nonconference in the Doyt since Boise State,” Clawson said. “That was an electric atmosphere we are hoping we can get that same atmosphere Thursday night. People that come out will see two good football teams going at it in their first game.”

Tulsa has lost their last three season openers, all three of them had been on the road at East Carolina, Oklahoma and Iowa State. This is also the second earliest opening game date in Tulsa school history since 1997.

“I think this is an excellent opportunity for us to get our name out into the headlines if we can play well and win it,” linebacker Paul Swan said. “It is going to be a tough task, they are a great team but we feel like we are a pretty good team too.”

Both teams will be challenged on their first game of the season and according to Clawson that is what the perfect schedule for their team is.

“People are looking at the SEC and Big Ten teams down the road but of all those teams the highest ranked one is Tulsa,” Clawson said. “People always say they want to see a good teams at the Doyt, well there is a great team coming to the Doyt on Thursday and are players are excited for it.”