It's not often a team is excited when it has to go against No. 9 Ohio State, but the worst time to face the Buckeyes is probably when they are coming off a loss. Last week's 35-28 home loss to Oregon marked the first regular-season defeat for coach Ryan Day and the first regular-season loss for the program at all since being shocked by Purdue 49-20 in 2018. That Buckeyes team would respond by winning 19 straight games over the next one-and-a-half seasons.
Clearly, Tulsa has its work cut out for it on Saturday when it heads to Columbus, Ohio, and faces an angry Ohio State team.
This will not be the first time Tulsa has made the trip north to Ohio. The Golden Hurricane played at Ohio Stadium early in the 2016 season to face an Ohio State team ranked No. 4 at the time. The Hurricane kept that game close for most of the first half and trailed only 6-3 late in the second quarter before a couple of interceptions turned things around quickly. Ohio State would take a 20-3 lead into halftime and widened the gap even further afterward, winning the game 48-3. Check out LIVE updates from the top games in Week 3.
Ohio State vs Tulsa: Need to know
Who will call the Ohio State defense? The person taking the most heat following the Oregon loss is defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs, who took over last season after Jeff Hafley left to coach Boston College. Under Hafley, Ohio State's defense was one of the strongest units in the country. Last season under Coombs, the defense fell to 59th nationally in yards allowed per game, 77th in yards allowed per play, and 43rd in points allowed per game.
So far in 2021, the Buckeyes rank 112th, 105th and 109th in those same categories. When asked during his weekly press conference about defensive play-calling duties this week against Tulsa, Ryan Day was evasive with his answers. That could mean that it will not be Coombs.
C.J. Stroud is living up to the hype: Ohio State's loss overshadowed how well Stroud played against the Ducks. While there's been plenty of attention paid to what Stroud hasn't been for Ohio State yet -- namely, not Justin Fields -- few are mentioning what he has done. Through two weeks, Stroud leads the Big Ten in passing yards per game (389), passing yards per attempt (10.2) and touchdowns (seven). Those same stats rank second, eleventh and fourth respectively in the nation.
In other words, Stroud has been excellent to start his career, despite a few missed throws.
Tulsa has a 14-game losing streak against the Power Five: The Golden Hurricane are coming off a strong 2020 season, but they've struggled in nonconference games against Power Five opponents for a while. Tulsa has lost 14 straight against the Power Five and 24 of their last 25. The last win came in 2012 when it knocked off Iowa State 31-17 in the Liberty Bowl to cap off an 11-3 season. Still, the Hurricane have been inching closer lately. They lost to Oklahoma State 28-23 last week after a 16-7 loss in Stillwater last season. In last year's Armed Forces Bowl, Tulsa nearly upset Mississippi State, but fell just short in a 28-26 loss.
How to watch Ohio State vs Tulsa live
Date: Saturday, September 18 | Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Ohio Stadium -- Columbus, Ohio
TV: FS1 | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Ohio State vs Tulsa prediction, picks
This is likely to be one of those "wrong place, wrong time" games for Tulsa. Ohio State will be looking to make an emphatic statement following last week's loss and Tulsa provides a solid opportunity to do so -- particularly for a defense that has struggled and needs a reason to feel good about itself. While Tulsa went 6-3 last season, it did so thanks largely to its defense, as it scored only 27.1 points per game (74th nationally). This season, Tulsa has scored 40 points through two games. I can't imagine it will score enough points to hang with an Ohio State offense that has already shown to be extremely explosive. Prediction: Ohio State (-24.5)
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