The Thursday night schedule for week 5 of the 2013 college football season features several interesting matchups, the most favorable game on the docket is a non-conference match-up featuring the Iowa State Cyclones (0-2) of the Big 12 traveling to Chapman Stadium in Tulsa, OK to take on the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (1-2) of Conference USA (7:30pm ET) . Both teams are well-rested after not taking the field since September 14; Iowa State opened their campaign with a 28-20 loss to Northern Iowa and dropped their last game to in-state rival Iowa 27-21 in week 2. Tulsa opened with a 34-7 loss at Bowling Green in week 1, defeated Colorado State 30-27 in week 2 and lost to Oklahoma 51-20 in week 3. The two teams met twice last season to begin and the year; in the opening game of the year Iowa State won 38-23, but Tulsa got revenge with 31-17 win in the Liberty Bowl. The Golden Hurricane finished 2012 with an 11-3 record, while Iowa State finished with a 6-7 record.
Iowa State returns quarterback Sam Richardson (502 yards passing, 5 TDs, 2 INTs) from their last meeting with Tulsa in the Liberty Bowl when he threw for 129 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT as the Cyclones managed only 268 yards of total offense. Richardson is also ISU’s leading rusher this season with 86 yards on the ground, but he is nursing an ankle injury which could hamper his ability to run Thursday night. The Cyclone defense will need to find a way to slow down Tulsa’s ground game. ISU is giving up 223 yards per game on the ground and gave up 317 to the Golden Hurricanes in the Liberty Bowl.
Tulsa is also experienced at the quarterback position with Nebraska transfer Cody Green (610 yards passing, 3 TDs and 2 INTs) entrenched in his second year as a starter in the Golden Hurricane’s up–tempo spread offense. Running back Trey Watts (220 yards, 1 TD) and receivers Jordan James (12 receptions 198 yards) and Derek Patterson (7 receptions, 109 yards) are the other top threats for Tulsa. Watts is a dangerous receiver and return man as well, who averaged 6.1 yards per carry and 10.1 yards per reception last season. The defense has struggled so far this season, and gave up a whopping 607 total yards in the loss to Oklahoma.
Iowa State vs. Tulsa Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Iowa State Cyclones +2.5
@Tulsa Golden Hurricane -2.5
Over 54.5 (-110)
Under 54.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Iowa State vs. Tulsa Pick
Tulsa was the unanimous pre-season selection of Conference USA as the favorite to repeat as the West Division champion. The Golden Hurricanes were able to dominate the line of scrimmage in the Liberty Bowl, rushing for over 300 yards. The expectation here is that they will be able to dominate this game in a similar fashion, Green and Watts are experienced playmakers and should have a big day against an ISU defense that has not proven that they can stop the run.
That will not change in this game, and Richardson’s ankle injury will inhibit his ability to run which will allow Tulsa to come after him when ISU takes to the air. Tulsa sacked Richardson 4 times in the opener last season and 5 times in their Liberty Bowl victory, with his ankle injury they will likely come after him even more. The home crowd will help Tulsa control the game and the Golden Hurricane are a solid pick to cover in this game. Take Tulsa here.