CFB Preview: No. 4 Ohio State-Tulsa

BY foxsports • September 7, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- After Ohio State cruised to a 77-10 victory over Bowling Green in the season opener last Saturday, it stands to reason that coach Urban Meyer would be pretty pleased with the performance.

Meyer was happy but not overly impressed with the blowout against the school that gave him his head coaching start.

"I thought our guys played pretty good. I think it was good, not great," Meyer said.

It would be difficult to convince most Buckeyes fans that Ohio State was "not great" in the Ohio Stadium opener. The point total was the highest in Meyer's 15 years as a head coach, and the offense set a school record with 776 total yards.

And then there was quarterback J.T. Barrett being named the Big Ten offensive player of the week after passing for 349 yards and six touchdowns and rushing for one score against the Falcons. Those are video-game numbers.

But Meyer and the No. 4 Buckeyes are quickly putting that game in the rear-view mirror and turning their attention to Tulsa, the second nonconference opponent on the schedule. The two teams meet for the first time Saturday (3:30 p.m., ABC) at Ohio Stadium.

The Golden Hurricane (1-0) are the first of two straight opponents from Oklahoma that the Buckeyes face. The following Saturday, Ohio State goes on the road to take on No. 14 Oklahoma.

Tulsa, which plays in the American Athletic Conference, opened its season last week with a 45-10 victory at San Jose State.

Meyer is expecting a tougher test from Tulsa than Bowling Green. The Golden Hurricane are coached by former Baylor offensive coordinator Phillip Montgomery, which means Ohio State is preparing to face a wide-open spread attack that mixes passing with a decent running game.

"I think when you hear spread, it's about numbers," Meyer said. "So I think that part is similar (to Ohio State's offense). ... But the identity is we're going to line up and hammer the football and run the ball. And we expect to lead the conference or be close to the lead in rushing offense.

"I can't speak to what Baylor does. But when you look at Baylor and then Tulsa, they're very balanced, more balanced than people think. And so I think it's somewhat similar. But there are different fundamental differences to (Ohio State's offense)."

Tulsa rushed for 305 yards and totaled 512 yards of offense in its opener. The Golden Hurricane scored 38 straight points in the blowout on the road and their defense limited San Jose State to 287 total yards and forced three turnovers.

That means Ohio State's offense and defense are preparing for anything and everything this week from a team hungry to upset a national power.

"We've got a tough one coming up this week, a team that beat San Jose soundly from the get-go," Meyer said. "And very talented receivers, two NFL prospects at wide receiver, a returning veteran at quarterback (Dane Evans) and a D coordinator (Bill Young) who used to coach here at Ohio State. They're very sound on defense and do a nice job."

Young was Ohio State's defensive coordinator from 1988 to 1995 under coach John Cooper, who came to Columbus after serving as Tulsa's coach. Young's defense played well in the opener against San Jose State, but the Golden Hurricane know the Buckeyes are a different animal this week.

"It's going to be a great challenge for us, especially going up to their place," said Montgomery, who recruited Barrett when he was offensive coordinator at Baylor and the Ohio State quarterback was a standout high school player in Texas. "We're looking forward to it. We're going up with the mindset that we're going to win the football game."

Montgomery promises the Golden Hurricane won't be intimidated by the 105,000-plus fans in Ohio Stadium. Tulsa played at Oklahoma last year and hung with the Sooners before losing 52-38.

"They're the next team on our schedule," Montgomery said. "For us, it's not about the helmet, not about the shirt, it's what you do between the lines."

Ohio State goes into the game as a four-touchdown favorite, but will be without defensive tackle Tracy Sprinkle, who underwent surgery Sunday for a torn patellar tendon in a knee. Linebacker Dante Booker is questionable after suffering an MCL sprain in the first quarter against Bowling Green.

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