COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW: OK STATE VS TULSA
The Basics The Oklahoma State football team opens its 119th season when it hosts Tulsa at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19, at Boone Pickens Stadium. On the Air The game will be televised by ESPN with Sean McDonough, Todd Blackledge, Todd McShay and Kris Budden on the call. The contest will also be carried live on the Cowboy Radio Network, with Dave Hunziker handling play-by-play, John Holcomb providing analysis and Robert Allen reporting from the sideline. Fans outside of the Cowboy Radio Network can listen to the OSU broadcast for free through TuneIn Radio or the TuneIn Radio app. All About Openers Saturday’s game marks the fourth time in the past five years that Oklahoma State has opened the season in Stillwater, returning home after opening on the road last season. It also marks the 62nd time OSU has opened its season at home. OSU’s overall record in season openers is 72-41-5, while its overall record in home openers is 85-28-5 and its overall record in season openers at home is 50-7-4. Oklahoma State has won 24 consecutive home openers for the longest such streak in school history, and the Cowboys have won 44 of their past 50 home openers. When it comes to season openers overall, OSU has won each of its past five and 14 of its past 16. Saturday’s game also marks the 10th time during Mike Gundy’s tenure that the Cowboys have opened with a home game, and the Cowboys are undefeated in the previous nine. OSU has outscored opponents, 764-220, in home openers during the Gundy era for an average score of 51-15. Doing Our Part Under normal circumstances, Boone Pickens Stadium would seat 55,509 fans, but this season the capacity has been reduced to just over 15,000 in an effort to provide proper social distancing to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Seating has been limited in both the club level and the lower seating bowl. The last time OSU’s football stadium capacity was smaller was from 1930-1946 when it was listed at 13,000. Even then, temporary stands were sometimes added to raise the capacity as high as 18,000. Additionally, several measures have been taken in effort to make it a safer environment, included but not limited to: mobile ticketing, requiring face masks, prohibiting tailgating, providing hand sanitizer stations and adding Plexiglas to concessions and points of sale throughout the stadium. In the Rankings OSU is ranked in both the AP Top 25 (No. 11) and the Amway Coaches Poll (No. 12). Including 2020, OSU has reached the top 15 of the AP poll at some point in 11 of the past 13 seasons. OSU has also seen a top 10 ranking in the AP poll at some point in eight of those 13 years. The Cowboys have been ranked in the AP preseason top 25 three of the past five and six of the past 10 years. The 2020 preseason AP Top 25 marked the highest preseason rank in the poll for OSU since 2017, when it was voted No. 10. Oklahoma State has received votes in the preseason AP Top 25 each of the past 12 years. Although the College Football Playoff rankings won’t be released until later in the year, it is worth noting that OSU has appeared in the CFP rankings four of the past five seasons entering 2020. Tulsa is not ranked. The Bank of Oklahoma Turnpike Classic Oklahoma State and Tulsa have met on the gridiron 73 times in a series that dates back to 1914. The only school that Oklahoma State has faced more often than TU is Oklahoma. The Cowboys have won seven straight games in the series, including a 40-21 win last season at Tulsa. The most recent game in Stillwater was a 59-24 Cowboy win in 2017. OSU leads the all-time series, 41-27-5, including a 25-6-3 edge in Stillwater. OSU coach Mike Gundy holds a 4-0 record against the Golden Hurricane, while TU coach Philip Montgomery is 0-2 against the Cowboys.
Oklahoma State from a Distance: There is real optimism surrounding the Oklahoma State football program in 2020 and why shouldn’t there be? The Cowboys return seven starters on offense and 11 starters on defense, have a returning starter at quarterback and have what may be the nation’s best one-two punch Heisman candidate running back Chuba Hubbard and All-America receiver Tylan Wallace. A significant off-season development was the promotion of Kasey Dunn into the role of offensive coordinator. The longest consecutively-serving OSU football assistant since 1962, Dunn has built one of the most consistently productive receiver groups in the nation during his time in Stillwater. Defensively, OSU returns almost every major contributor from a group that closed the 2019 season by holding each of its final six opponents under their respective season scoring averages. In 2018, the Cowboys allowed an average of 32.5 points and 452.5 yards per game, but in 2019, those numbers improved to 26.8 points and 412.3 yards per game. With nearly everyone back from a defense that took the lead in a handful of OSU victories in 2019, there is reason to believe greater things are yet to come. An Oklahoma State Win Would… • Mark its eighth straight over Tulsa and its 12th win in the past 14 meetings with TU. • Make it 42-27-5 all-time vs. Tulsa and 26-6-3 all-time vs. TU in Stillwater. • Give it 22 straight wins vs. Tulsa in Stillwater, a streak that began in 1953. • Improve Mike Gundy’s record vs. teams in the American Athletic Conference to 6-2. • Improve its record in season openers to 73-41-5 and its record in home season openers to 51-7-4. • Make it 86-28-5 in home openers. • Give the Cowboys wins in 12 of their last 13, 15 of their last 17 and 32 of their last 40 season openers. • Improve Mike Gundy’s record in season openers to 14-2 and his record in home openers to 16-0. • Improve Mike Gundy’s record vs. non-Power Five opponents to 36-4. • Give it 25 consecutive wins in home openers, increasing the longest streak in school history. • Give it wins in 45 of its past 51 home openers. • Give it 14 wins in its past 15 and 36 of its past 42 non-conference games. • Improve it to 34-15 in its past 49 games and 48-21 in its past 69 games. • Make it 69-14 in its past 83 games vs. unranked opponents, dating back to 2010. • Give it wins in 28 of its past 34 games when playing as an AP ranked team vs. an unranked team. • Improve Mike Gundy’s record in non-conference games to 53-12.
Notable Streaks and Trends Entering the Game • OSU is 21-8 in its past 27 games decided by fewer than 10 points. • OSU has scored on its opening drive in 14 of its past 22 games. • OSU is 25-3 in its last 28 games when leading at halftime, dating back to Sept. 17, 2016. • OSU has outrushed its opponent in 28 of its past 40 games and in 30 of its past 43 games. • OSU has had at least one 100-yard receiver in 20 of its past 31 games. • OSU has had a 100-yard rusher in 29 of its past 40 games. • OSU has forced a turnover in 45 of its past 53 games and in 54 of its past 63 games, dating to 2015. • Dating back to 2005, OSU is 38-3 when not committing a turnover. • Dating back to 2008, OSU is 61-7 when winning the turnover battle. • OSU has won three straight overtime games. • Chuba Hubbard has rushed for at least 100 yards in each of the past 11 games, which marks the longest active streak in the FBS and the third-longest streak in school history. • Chuba Hubbard has rushed for at least 100 yards in 15 of his past 17 games. He has at least one rushing touchdown in 14 of those 17 games. • Dillon Stoner has at least one catch in 37 of his past 38 games. • OSU has scored on a play of at least 50 yards in six of its past nine games. • OSU has won 68 consecutive games when holding its opponent to fewer than 20 points, dating back to Sept. 13, 2003 – the longest active streak in the FBS.
THE STORYLINES . . . • Tulsa is in its 121st season of Tulsa football. • Tulsa has the smallest FBS enrollment with 3,269 undergraduate students … Tulsa’s overall enrollment is 4,380 … OSU’s enrollment is 24,649. • This is the latest season-opening game for Tulsa in 51 years, since Tulsa opened the 1969 campaign on September 20 at Colorado. • This is the fourth time in school history that Tulsa and OSU have played in the season opener … previous season-opening games were in 1987, 1990 and 2017. THE SERIES . . . • This is the 74th meeting between Tulsa and Oklahoma State • The Cowboys lead the series 41-27-5 and has won the last seven meetings … Tulsa’s last win came in 1998 by a score of 35-20 in Tulsa. • Tulsa last won in Stillwater in 1951 by a score of 35-7 … OSU has won the last 21 meetings on its home field. TULSA’S RUNNING BACK GROUP RETURNS SECOND IN NATION ONLY TO CLEMSON . . . • Tulsa’s returning running back corps has the second-highest rushing yards and rushing TD totals in the nation returning in 2020, which is second only to Clemson. • Tulsa’s running back room returns 4,541 career yards and 51 TDs, while Clemson returns highs of 5,887 career yards and 74 rushing TDs. • For the Hurricane, Shamari Brooks leads the way with 2,700 career yards and 23 TDs followed by Corey Taylor II with 1,490 yards and 22 TDs. • TK Wilkerson has gained 315 yards and 6 TDs on the ground, while Christian Lovick has 36 rushing yards.
TULSA IN SEASON OPENERS . . . • In the 120-year history of Tulsa football, the Golden Hurricane has posted a 69-50-1 record in season openers. • The most consecutive seasons in which Tulsa won the season opener is seven, winning the openers from 1925 to 1931. • Tulsa’s last season-opening win on the road came in 2009 with a 37-13 win over Tulane … the Hurricane has lost six road openers since then. PHILIP MONTGOMERY ENTERS SIXTH YEAR LEADING TULSA FOOTBALL PROGRAM . . . • Philip Montgomery enters his 6th season as the Golden Hurricane head coach in 2020 with an overall 25-37 head coaching record. • Montgomery completed his second season in 2016 leading the Tulsa football program to a 10-3 record and a win in the Miami Beach Bowl. • He became the 29th head coach in school history on Dec. 11, 2014. • Montgomery claimed his first career head coaching victory in the 2015 season opener with a 47-44 overtime win over FAU. • In his first year, Montgomery led Tulsa to six wins and to the 2015 Camping World Independence Bowl. • Before coming to Tulsa, he spent seven years at Baylor, where he spent the final three seasons as the offensive coordinator/QB coach. QUICK LOOK AT THE OFFENSE . . . • Tulsa returns 100-percent of its rushing, passing and total offense yards, 85-percent of its receiving yards and 89-percent of its touchdowns. • Nine starters return for the Golden Hurricane offense. • This is the first time since the 2016 season that Tulsa has had the same starting QB returning. • QB Zach Smith threw for 3,279 yards and 19 TDs with just 9 INTs last year as a first-year starter. • The RB duo of Shamari Brooks and Corey Taylor II have combined for 4,190 yards and 45 touchdowns in their careers. • Tulsa had a 1,000-yard rusher (Brooks) and 1,000-yard receiver (Stokes) in 2019.
ON DEFENSE . . . • Tulsa returns just 4 starters, but an 7 additional players who have started at least one game during their careers. • One starter returns on the defensive front (Jaxon Player), one at linebacker (Zaven Collins), and two in the secondary, including nickel safety (Cristian Williams) and cornerback (Allie Green IV). • Collins is Tulsa’s leading returning tackler with 97 stops … he is also the returning leader for TFLs and sacks • Corner Akayleb Evans, who has started 14 games, returns this year after sitting out most of last year with an injury. • Nose guard Tyarise Stevenson has the second-most starts on defense behind Zaven Collins with 18 career starting assignments BROOKS RANKS 5th ON ALL-TIME RUSHING CHART . . . • Senior running back Shamari Brooks enters the 2020 season ranked 5th on the school’s career rushing list and 11th for career rushing TDs. • He has played in 32 career games and has 2,700 total rushing yards and 23 TDs. • Brooks enters this season needing 1,217 yards to tie D’Angelo Brewer (2014-17, 3917 yards) for the school’s all-time rushing record. • He became just the 16th Tulsa player to gain over 2,000 career rushing yards. • Brooks had 4 100+ rushing games in 2019 and now has 12 career 100+ rushing games. • He had a career-high 202 yards in the season finale at ECU.
THE LAST MEETING . . . • Tulsa and Oklahoma State met last year in Tulsa on Sept. 14, as the Cowboys captured a 40-21 victory after trailing at halftime. • Trailing 17-7 after one period, TU outscored OSU 14-3 to take a 21-20 halftime lead. • OSU’s Chuba Hubbard gave OSU a 14-0 lead on runs of 75 and 30 yards. • A 39-yard pass from Zach Smith to Keylon Stokes put Tulsa on the board at 4:23 of the first quarter, making the score 17-7 • After an OSU field goal for a 17-7 lead, Tulsa added consecutive TDs covering 75 and 84 yards, as Shamari Brooks scored both TDs, coming form 3 and one yard. • OSU came out after intermission and scored 20 unanswered points for the win … OSU’s scoring came on a 27-yard Spencer Sanders run, a Sanders 90-yard pass to Tylan Wallace and a Hubbard 33-yard run. • Tulsa’s Shamari Brooks rushed for 119 yards on 29 carries, while he an Corey Taylor II combined for 163 yards on 42 carries… Hubbard had 256 yards on 32 carries for OSU. • Smith completed 17-of-30 passes for 228 yards and connected with Stokes seven times for 109 yards and one TD.