Tulsa

Miami Beach Bowl: Tulsa 55, Central Michigan 10: 5 Things That Matter, What’s Next?

Miami Beach Bowl: Tulsa 55, Central Michigan 10: 5 Things That Matter, What’s Next For 2017


Tulsa destroyed Central Michigan 55-10 in the Miami Beach Bowl. What are the five things that matter.


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Tulsa’s offense was on full display

It was supposed to be an offensive show, but only one side showed up.

Dane Evans was razor-sharp, throwing for 304 yards and five scores with Keevan Lucas catching three of them, and Josh Atkinson caught 12 passes for 131 yards and a score. D’Angelo Brewer ran for 105 yards, James Flanders 100 with a touchdown, and the ground game did whatever it wanted.

Basically, the offense did what it’s been able to do all season long with terrific balance, 581 yards, and total domination from start to when the O took its foot off the gas.

That’s not the Cooper Rush the scouts wanted to see

A mid-to-late round prospect, the Central Michigan quarterback was supposed to be the difference-maker who could keep up the pace with the Tulsa offense. Instead, he threw for 241 yards, no touchdowns, and three picks, knocking his team out of the game early. Granted, the defense didn’t do its part, but he also put the team in bad positions. A 27-3 Tulsa halftime lead later, and it was all over.

He was under pressure and got sacked four times, but he’s better than this. Obviously, it wasn’t the performance to boost the stock.

The Tulsa D had something to do with all of this

The Golden Hurricane offense owned the game, but the defense had a lot to do with the blowout. With the constant pressure from the defensive front, the three picks, the third down stops, and the momentum generated early on carried throughout the game. Tulsa only allowed three points until the fourth quarter in the most complete overall game of the team’s season, and to close out with a ten-win year in one of the best campaigns in the program’s history.

What’s Next For Tulsa In 2017?

The record-setting offense will be one of the really big things in the offseason, but it loses the stars with QB Dane Evans, WR Keevan Lucas and RB James Flanders all gone. Can Ryan Rubley keep it all going if he takes over for Evans? Can D’Angelo Brewer be the playmaker that Flanders was, and is there anyone to replace Lucas? Fortunately, four starters are back up front to give everyone time to work.

The starting defensive tackles are gone, and linebacker Matt Linscott and Trent Martin have to be replaced, but the secondary is loaded with veterans and depth – the corner tandem of Kerwin Thomas and Reggie Robinson should be solid – and the ends will be an early strength.

What’s Next For Central Michigan In 2017?

It all starts with trying to replace Cooper Rush. Tommy Lazzaro was the main backup quarterback but there will be a competition. However, everyone else of note – other than FB Joe Bacci – is back. All the top receivers return, and all five starters return up front to pave the way for RB Devon Spalding.

The defense should be better despite losing safety Tony Annese and the starting tackles. Three starters – including top corner Amari Coleman – are back in the secondary, Malik Fountain leads a strong-looking linebacking corps, and Joe Ostman and the ends should be sound.