Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#151 Tulsa vs.
#152 Ohio State
Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 3:30pm EDT
Written by Jordy

The Ohio State Buckeyes hope to get back on track in what some are already calling a lay-up game on paper against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. All of the shock still hasn’t settled in after watching the Oregon Ducks storm the doors of Ohio Stadium and hand the Buckeyes their first loss of the season in Week 2. Meanwhile, the Golden Hurricane fell to 0-2 on the season after dropping a road loss to the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

Can the Golden Hurricane keep it close?

Tulsa knows a thing or two about keeping it close. One look at their previous two run-ins with Oklahoma State and UC Davis will tell you all you need to know. Both of those teams won by the skin of their teeth.

But that still doesn’t change the fact that quarterback Davis Brin still hasn’t thrown a single touchdown pass this season, and the Golden Hurricane are the most penalized team from the American Athletic Conference.

All of that needs to get cleaned up fast and in a hurry against a Buckeyes team that will be fighting mad on Saturday. Tulsa has to limit the self-inflicted wounds if they hope to finish what Oregon started. Quarterback Seth Boomer is still questionable for this game. So it’ll be interesting if anything changes at that position for Tulsa if he somehow ends up being ready to go.

The Golden Hurricane will have their work cut out for them on the defensive side of the ball. Although there are clearly questions about the Buckeyes’ defense, their offense clearly looks the part of a contender, minus the ground game. Tulsa has to be ready for Ohio State to test their defensive front in this meeting. Granted, the Golden Hurricane have held up well in holding their previous two opponents to an average 2.52 yards per carry.

They may not have all of the big names, but it’s quickly becoming clear that nothing easy comes against this Tulsa defense.

Can the Buckeyes get the ground game going?

Oregon was dealing with a slew of injuries, and that still didn’t stop them from taking it to the Ohio State Buckeyes. That vaunted defense that has drawn perennial praise from football pundits across the nation is suddenly allowing an average 33 points in their first two games of the season.

But this isn’t the space to dwell on the past. The key for the Buckeyes is putting that loss to the Ducks as far into the rearview as possible. They need to come out swinging on Saturday and make a statement against a Golden Hurricane team that clearly isn’t on their level. The first order of business should be getting the ground game going.

Granted, they fell behind against the Ducks last week, which prompted quarterback C.J. Stroud to throw the ball 54 times. Even though they lost the game, he actually had a good showing with 484 passing yards, three touchdowns and only one interception.

However, it obviously isn’t ideal for Ohio State to be throwing the ball that many times. Veteran running back Master Teague didn’t get a single carry against Oregon. That can’t happen if the Buckeyes hope to compete this season. Along with Teague, freshman running back Miyan Williams has looked nothing short of sensational on the ground. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry against the Ducks, and Ohio State coach Ryan Day kept getting away from him for some unknown reason.

But nothing matters if the Ohio State defense can’t make plays. They aren’t generating many turnovers, and opposing quarterbacks have enough time to stand in the pocket, make a phone call and cook breakfast before feeling any pressure. If they can’t win against Tulsa’s offensive front, it’s going to be a long season for the Buckeyes.

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Tulsa won’t like this Ohio State team when they’re angry.

You can rest assured they’ve listened to all of the hot takes and taken in all of the clever jokes hurled in their direction after last week’s shocking loss to Oregon. One positive takeaway from that loss is how calm and confident freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud looked under center. We all know coach Ryan Day has some bulldozers in the offensive backfield, but for whatever reason, he got away from being balanced and put the game in his young quarterback’s hands.

And he still almost won.

This is the game where they’ll get back to that traditional style of Ohio State football when they lean heavily on the run game and play great defense. Tulsa is about to get bullied in the trenches on both sides of the ball. They were already allowing an average of 2.50 sacks per game with plenty of pressure being put on Davis Brin, who has zero passing touchdowns this season.

Ohio State’s defense is capable of playing much better than they did last Saturday, and the Golden Hurricane will serve as the unfortunate guinea pigs in this matchup. They’ll get after Brin and force him to throw up a couple interceptions. Penalties have been an issue for both teams heading into this game, but I’m counting more on Day’s team to be the ones to clean up their act.

I’m laying the big points and taking the angry Buckeyes on Saturday.

Prediction: Ohio State Buckeyes (-24.5)

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The Buckeyes are going to hang a lot of points on the board, but I’m expecting a quiet afternoon of football from Tulsa’s offense. Coach Ryan Day promised defensive changes heading into the game, and I’m expecting him to deliver emphatically after last week’s meltdown showing against Oregon. No, this isn’t the same Buckeyes team from a year ago, but there’s still plenty of talent for them to do better than they’ve been doing.

Tulsa is barely averaging 20 points per game this season. They aren’t that explosive offensive team capable of taking advantage of the issues present within the Ohio State defense. In fact, they're more likely to feed into it with turnovers and bad penalties.

Give me the under in this one.

Prediction: Under (61)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast, and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY, and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys, and all the Sun Drop you can drink.