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September 21, 2023

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Falcons will try for first win of season during home opener

BG football makes its return Thursday night as they take on the defending Conference-USA champions, Tulsa.

Thursday’s matchup marks the fourth meeting between the Falcons and the Golden Hurricane and the first at home for BG. Tulsa defeated BG each time, including a 45-10 victory in 1989 in Tulsa, Okla., a 63-7 win in the 2008 GMAC Bowl in Mobile Ala. and a 33-20 home-win in 2010.

“I think some teams are good teams,” BG Head Coach Dave Clawson said. “Then I think some programs become great programs, and we have respect for Tulsa as a great program.”

In the past two meetings, the Golden Hurricane were lead by Head Coach Todd Graham, who left after the 2010 season to take the head coach position at the University of Pittsburgh and then at Arizona State University in 2012.

A few members from this year’s senior class were freshmen when BG last played Tulsa in 2010 and remember the intensity Tulsa brings to each game.

“They were a great team then, they’re still a great team now,” linebacker Paul Swan said. “I remember them being a real good football team … they’re a more physical football team now.”

In 2012, Tulsa had tremendous success in the running game. Tailbacks Trey Watts and Ja’Terian Douglas had a combined 2,044 yards on the ground, 1,108 yards and 936 yards respectively.

“You see them running downhill a lot harder, you see them doing a lot more run plays,” Swan said. “That’s obviously a focal point of their offense so that’s something we’ve got to focus on and really stop. We’ve been working hard at it and I think we’ve got some good ways to do that.” 

Tulsa finished the 2012 season ranked No. 25 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll and received 34 votes in the final AP poll. This year, the Golden Hurricane received nine votes in the preseason USA Today Coaches’ Poll. 

The team finds itself in the “Others Receiving Votes” group featuring teams that might sound familiar to Falcon fans including Northern Illinois University [19 votes], San Jose State University [8 votes], Ohio University [8 votes], Kent State University [3 votes] and the University of Toledo [1 vote].

All of these teams penetrated the Top-25 in 2012 and played BG in the past two years. The Falcons have a 1-7 record against these teams with the only win coming at OU this past season.

“[Tulsa is] a great program,” Clawson said. “Guys graduate and guys step up. There’s a reason why they’re picked as high as they’re picked and ranked where they’re ranked. It’s a good football team.”

This is also the first Thursday home opener since the 2009 home opener against Troy University in 2009.

“I love it,” Clawson said. “We get to play football before everyone else in the country. This time of the year, there’s an excitement about college football nationally and also, here. School just started, it’s a holiday weekend, hopefully there’s a good student turnout.”This game marks the first time BG’s home opener has co-aligned with its season opener since 2009 when they defeated the Troy Trojans 31-14. 2009 was the same year the Falcons hosted the Boise State Broncos, who were ranked No. 8 in the nation at the time. 

“This will be a great challenge for us,” Clawson said. “Again, our guys are not intimidated by it, they’re excited by it. If you want to be considered, not just a good team, but a great team, then you have to play games like this.” 

Thursday night’s game is slated for a 7 p.m. kickoff. Follow BG News Sports on Facebook and Twitter for live coverage before, during and after the game.

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