Tulsa/Iowa Part III: Struggling Teams Vie For Win
By Dan Harralson
Iowa State and Tulsa had played only once in their history before last year (1961).
The Cyclones and the Golden Hurricane played twice last year and will make it three times in two seasons. Iowa State won the regular-season game last year, 38-23, while Tulsa won the Liberty Bowl, 31-17.
The setting for the rubber match is a nationally-televised Thursday night showdown in Tulsa.
Tulsa comes into the game sitting at 1-2 and coming off a bye week. Bill Blankenship's Golden Hurricane were run out of Bowling Green on college football's opening Thursday night, 34-7. A home win against Colorado State followed, as well as a loss to in-state foe Oklahoma.
Iowa State enters Thursday night's showdown winless. The Cyclones lost to an FCS team opening weekend, dropping the Northern Iowa game, 28-20. Iowa State then fell victim to the Cy-Hawk Trophy in their only other game this season, losing 27-21 to Iowa.
Thursday's game is a must-win for both sides, but probably a little more for Iowa State.
I projected Tulsa to start 1-2 and then get things turned around in its Conference USA championship defense.
As for Iowa State, a Thursday night win can go a long way. With Big 12 play gearing up next week for the Cyclones, they need all of the wins they can get. If Iowa State drops the Tulsa game, then the Cyclones could be staring at an 0-7 start heading into November.
It starts with the running game for Iowa State. They have to find one. The Cyclones only ran for 59 yards in the Iowa loss and did not produce a run longer than nine yards.
Iowa State quarterback Sam Richardson is the team's leading rusher at 88 yards on the season. That's not good.
The Cyclones need to figure out their running game Thursday night and that can be achieved against Tulsa's defense. Tulsa has college football's 96th overall rushing defense and they are giving up 198 rushing yards per game.
These two teams know each other all too well and the third game between the two since last year should be a good one.
Thursday night's game can be seen on Fox Sports 1 at 6:30 p.m. CT.
2012: Tulsa 31, Iowa State 17 (Liberty Bowl)
2012: Iowa State 38, Tulsa 23
1961: Iowa State 27, Tulsa 6