Andrew Berg (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS)
Normally, I would shy away from a 34 point line against just about any opponent. There are too many ways for a team to get a back-door cover against the second-string, especially when UW’s starting defense has been less than stellar over the last year. On the other hand, last week’s performance against a pretty good Boise State team is a reminder of how easily UW can pile up points. The Dawgs’ receiving corps is so talented and deep that even a solid secondary is hopeless to hold up against them. Michael Penix is so many steps ahead of opposing defenders mentally that he knows where there will be help pre-snap and finds the receiver who is able to streak down the field in single coverage against an over-matched DB.
Of course, it’s unlikely that Tulsa will play as aggressively as Boise with so many DBs left in single coverage. Boise’s blitzes didn’t get home and Penix used the numerical mismatches to bomb the ball deep. The strategy failed pretty thoroughly, so expect to see Tulsa leaving both safeties deep more often. The intermediate routes might be more available, so the drives might be longer, but I expect them to be just about equally successful.
Defensively, the Dawgs showed real signs of progress in Week 1. There were still some missed tackles and coverage mistakes, but most of the players remained discipline within their assignments most of the time. With the physical advantage, staying disciplined should be enough to hold the defense in check.
Washington- 56, Tulsa- 21
Mark Schafer (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
For this game, I expect the Huskies to not waste any time like they did last week. Even though it might seem scary to have a Spurrier as the opposite OC, I expect that the secondary will be aggressive like last week to contain the passing game, and the defense should overcome sloppy tackling last week to keep Tulsa’s offensive threats largely bottled up.
The run game should be better than last week but by how much, I am not sure. We are going to give up big plays because that’s what happens sometimes regardless of team, but Michael Penix should take advantage of an inexperienced Golden Hurricane secondary and should lead us to a comfortable victory.
Gabey Lucas (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS)
Yeah, after last week’s slow start turning into a beatdown (after essentially wasting the whole first quarter), I find it pretty hard to picture Tulsa faring better. So with that in mind, what I’m mostly looking for is if the interior offensive line can continue their gelling and really dominate where they should.
Also, will be watching if the secondary can improve on their performance in game one — it was better than last season even though their box scores were probably better than their actual performance given they were bailed out by some bad throws and drops by Taylen Green and his receivers. Still though, over the course of the season we don’t need the secondary to be full Death Row old school-level incredible, we just need them to be “fine.” So against Tulsa since that’s a weaker opponent, I really want to see them take control which they obviously did not do last year. Although I also think their mistakes will probably be taken advantage of more readily by Tulsa since their quarterback by the looks of it has a pretty good rhythm going after one game, only missing on one throw. Taylen Green never got into that zone against Washington and his throws were often off, and my gut is that Tulsa will have a better thing going.
Lastly, I don’t expect to see great tackling but if I could wish for one thing in this game it would be that UW uses this as an exercise in fundamentals. I’ve written preeeeetty extensively about how much the angles and poor tackling form will come back to haunt this team at some point (and yet how impressive that makes their success because of this) — please show us how that doesn’t have to be the case against a lesser team.
Anyways, the above is so critical because going “Yeah, Washington will win 58 - 21” and leaving it at that is pretty boring.
Washington- 58, Tulsa- 21
Max Vrooman (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS)
Let’s be honest. The spread in this game is almost 5 touchdowns. That’s because the Huskies just beat their last opponent by more than 5 touchdowns in what was expected by some managers of this site to be a close game (whoops) (although that prediction was looking pretty reasonable about 1/3rd of the way in). This shouldn’t really be that close.
It certainly doesn’t help Tulsa’s cause that they have quarterback uncertainty entering the game. Braylon Braxton was the clear week one starter but left with an injury and is questionable for tomorrow’s game. Cardell Williams came in as his replacement and lit up Arkansas Pine-Bluff with 233 yards on 13/14 passing plus 3 TDs with 0 INTs. But it was Arkansas Pine-Bluff. The Huskies have their issues on defense but are a very giant step up.
I don’t think it’s impossible that the margin of victory is actually less this week than it was against Boise. I only see that happening if Washington is up by something close to 35 entering the 4th quarter and the staff feels a little more comfortable going to the 2nd/3rd string even earlier than they did against Boise.
It’s also possible/likely that Tulsa looks at last week’s game and decides that the last thing they want is to be shown on the highlights giving up deep ball after deep ball and give UW whatever they want underneath. That kind of strategy would also probably cut down the # of plays and keep the score close even if it’s unlikely to result in many stops. Good luck, Tulsa.
Washington- 52, Tulsa- 13
THE FINAL TALLY
Straight Up: Washington- 4, Tulsa- 0
Against the Spread (UW -34.5): Washington- 4, Tulsa- 0
Average Score: Washington- 55.5, Tulsa- 15.8