Tag:Trey Watts
Posted on: December 27, 2011 2:37 pm
 

Armed Forces Bowl Key Matchup

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

A look at the key matchup that could decide the Armed Forces Bowl.

 

G.J. Kinne, QB, Tulsa vs. Brandon Ogletree, Kyle Van Noy, and Uona Kaveinga, LBs, BYU.

With all due respect to Riley Nelson, who caught fire down the stretch for the Cougars, the individual head-to-head quarterback matchup nonetheless should favor the Golden Hurricane. Kinne is a three-year senior starter with more than 9,200 career passing yards to his name, 1,300 rushing yards, and 23 career wins; by this point, it's not possible for the former Texas transfer to have any better command of Tulsa's trademark no-huddle spread scheme than he already does.

And while that's certainly translated to plenty of aerial fireworks for the Golden Hurricane during Kinne's three years under center, it's paid equally handsome dividends in the ground game. In fact, behind Tulsa's three-headed rushing monster of Kinne and tailbacks Ja'Terian Douglas and Trey Watts -- and said monster's 2,149 total rushing yards -- the 2011 edition of the Golden Hurricane get more done on the ground (23rd FBS) than in the passing game (43rd). While Douglas and Watts deserve more than their fair share of plaudits -- Douglas's eye-popping 8.2 yards-per-carry average led the nation among backs with any more than 60 attempts, and he had 110! -- the Tulsa rushing attack still starts with Kinne and his ability to execute the options and zone reads that make up the core of the Golden Hurricane's rushing philosophy.

But as smooth an operator as Kinne is, he's still going to have his hands full with Ogletree, Van Noy, and Kaveinga, three of the Cougars' top four tacklers and three-quarters of a linebacking crew that's led the Cougars to a 16th-place finish in FBS total defense. All three are both aggressive and fundamentally sound, and they'll be the defenders primarily tasked with containing Kinne and his option targets on the ground. If Ogletree, Van Noy, and Kaveinga stay on assignment, hold Douglas's home-run ability in check, hit Kinne hard enough to slow him down in both phases of the game, and generally make life on the ground as tough as possible for the Golden Hurricane, Nelson should be able to put enough points on the board vs. Tulsa's rickety pass defense to earn the victory.

But if not? If Kinne gets the Tulsa ground game humming on all cylinders, finds in turn the inevitable space opening up downfield for big plays in the air, and hangs a 40-spot on the Cougars? That's the sort of hurdle even Nelson may not be able to clear.

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Posted on: December 27, 2011 1:49 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Armed Forces Bowl

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

BYU WILL WIN IF: Riley Nelson 
is who we think he is. The Cougar junior quarterback took over with his team down late (and down big) to in-state upstart Utah State Sept. 30, engineered a dramatic last-minute comeback, and never looked back. Over BYU's final eight games Nelson threw 16 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions, averaged a sterling 9.1 yards an attempt, and added an average 5 yards per his 75 rushing attempts for good measure. The catch is that he did this against the weaker two-thirds of the Cougar schedule; only two of those eight games came against competition outside the WAC or FCS, and one of those two -- vs. TCU -- was Nelson's worst outing of the season (51.7 completion percentage, 2 picks). The good news for BYU is that on paper, Tulsa's closer to the Idahos and Hawaiis of the world than TCU. The Golden Hurricane finished 118th in the FBS in pass defense, and though some of that was a schedule that handed them games against Landry Jones, Kellen Moore, Brandon Weeden and Case Keenum, much of it was also allowing 10 yards an attempt to North Texas and more than 9 to UCF. If Nelson is the quarterback he appeared to be over the closing stretch of the season, there's going to be plenty of opportunities for the Cougars to rack up major yards -- and points -- through the air.

TULSA WILL WIN IF: they can put a metric ton of points on the board. Who has the better defense in this matchup isn't really much of a question -- BYU's D ranks 16th, Tulsa's 89th -- but the Golden Hurricane have played a much tougher schedule and still boast the better offense at 454 yards per game and 6.18 per-play. Though the Hurricane defense has had its moments in 2011 (holding SMU to a single touchdown in a 38-7 laugher, most notably), the formula for Tulsa is the same as it's been ever since Gus Malzahn dropped in in 2007--ride the no-huddle offense to 35-45 points, and dare the opposing offense to execute well enough to do the same. And solid Cougar defense or not, with quarterback G.J. Kinne (2,859 yards, 8.0 YPA, 25-to-12 TD-to-INT ratio) and the tailback tag-team of Ja'Terian Douglas and Trey Watts (1,744 combined yards), the Hurricane have the horses to make it happen. This game isn't likely to become a slugfest, and if it somehow is, it's even less likely Tulsa wins it. But the Golden Hurricane proved over the course of whipping their first seven Conference USA opponents that a shootout tilts the odds heavily in their favor instead.

THE X-FACTOR: This doesn't shape up as the sort of game that would become a field goal kicking contest, but if it does, BYU's the team more likely to suffer for it. Sophomore Justin Sorenson hit just 14 of his 24 attempts this season while Tulsa boasts one of the nation's best placekickers in senior Kevin Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick was named first-team All-C-USA after connecting on 15 of his 17 attempts, and if the game hangs one kick, seems a much better bet to pull through than Sorenson.

 
 
 
 
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