Tulsa Golden Hurricane (4-2 SU, 3-1-1 ATS) vs. UTEP Miners (2-4 SU, 2-4 ATS), 8:00 p.m. EST, Wednesday, October 21, 2009, Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, Tex. TV: ESPN
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Tulsa -7/UTEP +7
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Tulsa is coming off a near upset of Boise State, one of the top teams in the country. Tulsa may have lost the game, 28-21, but the Golden Hurricane gained a lot of respect and confidence by nearly pulling off the upset. With that newfound respect and confidence, Tulsa now travels to El Paso to face UTEP, a team that has faced a tough schedule as well.
Against Boise State, Tulsa had a 14-8 lead after the first quarter but Boise State scored 20 straight points to take a 28-14 lead. Tulsa quarterback G.J. Kinne threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to Slick Shelley in the fourth quarter to pull the Golden Hurricane within seven points. But Tulsa couldn’t get another score, and Boise State held on for the victory.
Tulsa has earned dominating victories over Tulane, New Mexico and Rice on the road, and Sam Houston State at home. The Golden Hurricane lost to Boise State and at Oklahoma, 45-0. Tulsa hasn’t really faced a team yet this season that is on its level, as the Golden Hurricane has lost to Oklahoma and Boise State, two clearly better teams, and has defeated Tulane, New Mexico, Sam Houston State and Rice, four teams clearly worse than Tulsa. The team closest to Tulsa is Tulane, a team that Tulsa defeated, 37-13. The closest game Tulsa played in – the only game decided by less than 17 points – was the 28-21 loss to Boise State.
UTEP has just two wins so far this season, but one of those wins is against nationally ranked Houston, 58-41, to give the Cougars their only loss thus far. UTEP’s other win is a 38-12 win over New Mexico State. The Miners’ four losses are to nationally ranked Texas and Kansas, and Buffalo and Memphis. In the win over Houston, UTEP running back Donald Buckram carried the ball 32 times for 262 yards and four touchdowns. But the Miners gave up 536 passing yards and five touchdowns to Houston QB Case Keenum.
Both of these teams can score points. Tulsa defeated UTEP last season, 77-35. This season, UTEP put up 58 on a nationally ranked team and scored a touchdown against Texas, a team with one of the best defenses in the country. Tulsa scored three touchdowns on Boise State, a team that is giving up just 15.5 points per game.
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Tulsa doesn’t have just one primary running back. Jamad Williams and Charles Opeseyitan both will get a significant amount of carries, but a handful of other players will also get carries. Neither Williams nor Opeseyitan have reached 200 rushing yards for the season yet. But Kinne, the team’s QB, has rushed the ball the most. Kinne has 73 carries for 182 yards and two touchdowns, and has completed 96-of-155 pass attempts for 1,296 yards, 12 touchdowns and two interceptions.
For UTEP, Buckram leads the way with 618 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Quarterback Trevor Vittatoe has 1,235 passing yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions, and has only completed 53.4 percent of his pass attempts.
Tulsa is 2-5-1 against the spread in its last eight road games, but 4-1 SU in its last five road games. The total has gone under in Tulsa’s last four games and in four of Tulsa’s last five road games. UTEP is 2-5 ATS in its last seven games and 2-6 SU in its last eight games. The Miners are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 home games and 4-8 SU in their last 12 home games.
Ryno’s Pick: The over is a good play in this game because both teams have proven they can score a lot of points. These two teams combined for 112 points when they played each other last year and almost 100 the year before. But Tulsa beat UTEP last season, 77-35. And Tulsa almost knocked off Boise State last week and has easily handled every other team besides Oklahoma. UTEP had one good game against Houston but has struggled in some of its other games. The over should win, but Tulsa is a better play. Take Tulsa -7.