Tulsa at Fresno State
Saturday, 1:30 pm PT
CRIS Opener: Tulsa -12 O/U 64
CRIS Current: Tulsa -14 O/U 66
The Fresno State Bulldogs showed steady improvement in head coach Tim DeRuyter’s first two seasons including an 11-2 campaign in 2013; Derek Carr’s final season with the program. Since then, however, it has been a sharp and steady decline with just six wins in 2014 and three last season. Fresno State has already been non-competitive in a pair of games against Nebraska and Toledo; blown out by a combined score of 95-27 and outgained by 497 yards. The offense has not been able to sustain drives consistently with redshirt freshman QB Chason Virgil at the helm. Fresno has not run the football effectively either with only 2.9 yards per carry. The Bulldogs defense has been unable to stop anybody surrendering 1,025 total yards against the Cornhuskers and Rockets. Even their win over FCS Sacramento State was unimpressive as Fresno led 10-3 at the half. Fresno State has not provided any evidence to this point they can hang with superior competition and I think they are poised for another ugly showing against Tulsa.
It would be wise not to overreact to Tulsa’s 48-3 loss to Ohio State a couple weeks ago. The Golden Hurricane were trailing 6-3 late in the first half before a pair of devastating pick sixes in bad weather were thrown by QB Dane Evans. It completely turned the game in Ohio State’s favor and Tulsa simply never recovered. In Tulsa’s other two games, they annihilated San Jose State and North Carolina AT&T en route to easy pointspread covers. I expect a big game from senior Evans who has plenty of weapons around him in RB duo D’Angelo Brewer and James Flanders along with senior WR Keevan Lucas. Tulsa should have a defensive edge as well as the stop unit has allowed just 3.7 yards per carry on the ground while Fresno State is allowing north of 5 ypc. Tulsa was a perfect 6-0 ATS on the highway last season in Philip Montgomery’s inaugural season as head coach and that includes a 2-0 ATS mark as road favorites. Fresno State does not possess a strong home field going 1-4 SU and 2-3 ATS at home last season. The Bulldogs went 2-9 SU in 11 games against FBS foes last season and 8 of the 9 losses came by margins of at least two touchdowns. And as mentioned, Fresno is already 0-2 SU and ATS against FBS foes with both losses by 30+ points. Tulsa has a bye on deck next week so there is no reason to hold anything back here in this game. Road team rolls.