Q&A for Temple's OwlsDaily.com

By: Ryan Token
Date: 10/21/2022

A 2-4 Tulsa team is on the road tonight to face off against the 2-4 Temple Owls.

To get ready for the game, Ryan Wallen from OwlsDaily.com got in touch with us to go "Behind Enemy Lines" and get some info on Tulsa before the two TUs face off.

OwlsDaily's Behind Enemy Lines article is behind a paywall, but I've gotten their permission to post the Q&A on our blog here as well - for free! So read on to see my answers to OwlsDaily's questions on Tulsa.

Behind Enemy Lines: Q&A with The Golden Hurricast


Tulsa enters this week’s contest against Temple having dropped three straight games, including a 53-21 loss to Navy in its most recent showing. What is the current feeling surrounding the program, and what was the focus of the Golden Hurricane during the bye week in an attempt to turn the season around?

The Golden Hurricast:

The vibes around the program have shifted significantly since the close loss at Ole Miss. What started as the nation’s best passing offense has been beset by a series of injuries and an inexperienced (and increasingly exploited) offensive line.

Among other things, the primary focus during the bye week had to be on getting healthy and shoring up the offensive line. No matter how good Davis Brin is, he’s not going to be effective while hobbling on half of one ankle and getting pressured immediately by the opposing defensive line. With Temple in the top 10 in the country in total sacks and tackles for loss, Tulsa’s offensive line will have to come up with some way to mitigate that this Friday.


Despite having a less-than-productive rush offense in 2022, Tulsa’s pass offense ranks No. 11 in the nation (327.8 yards per game), while quarterback Davis Brin sits fourth in the conference in passing yards (1,839). What has allowed that area of the offense to be so successful this season despite a struggling rushing attack?

The Golden Hurricast:

Normally you’d be excited to see Tulsa as the #11 passing offense and to be in the top half of the conference in passing yards, but those numbers are actually well below where they were early in the season. Before Davis Brin’s injury against Ole Miss, he was leading the country in four different stats: passing yards per game, total passing yards, TD passes, and total offense.

The correct answer here is also the simplest: Davis Brin is the real deal. He is the best Tulsa quarterback since Dane Evans in 2016. But he’s not alone. We have a stable of seriously talented receivers in Keylon Stokes (Tulsa’s #2 receiver all time in receiving yards, and will be #1 all time if he gets just 28 receiving yards against Temple on Friday), JuanCarlos (JC) Santana, Isaiah Epps, and Malachai Jones. Each of those guys has delivered big plays for Tulsa this season.


Through the first half of the season, where do you still see Tulsa as being most vulnerable, and which concerns you most with having to playing Temple this week?

The Golden Hurricast:

Where Tulsa is good, they are very good. Unfortunately, where Tulsa is bad, they are also very bad. I’ve mentioned one of them already, and that is the offensive line. Coming into the season, the starting offensive line had a grand total of 0 previous starts between the five of them. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we are 127th in the country in sacks allowed, meaning Davis Brin gets sacked nearly 4 times per game.

The young/inexperienced offensive line also contributes to another vulnerability, which you already noted: our rushing offense. It has been almost nonexistent, and that’s been arguably the biggest surprise of the year. Right before the season opener against Wyoming, we learned that both of our top returning backs - Deneric Prince and Anthony Watkins - would not be playing. No explanation was given and there was no timetable for return for either of them. Prince returned against Cincinnati, but we still haven’t seen Anthony Watkins. Because of that, we’ve effectively been starting our 3rd string running back (269-pounder Steven Anderson) and have seen significant carries from freshmen and sophomores like Bill Jackson and Tahj Gary. Prince’s return has stabilized things a bit, but with so many new faces on the offensive line, they just aren’t opening up the kinds of holes they did last year.

And finally, we really have been quite bad at stopping the run. Opponents average about 240 rushing yards per game against us. That is inflated due to Navy rushing for 455 (not a typo) yards against us two weeks ago but, still, they were able to do that for a reason. I know Temple’s rushing offense hasn’t been great, so maybe they won’t be able to take advantage of that the way other teams have, but it’s a vulnerability nonetheless.


Who are a few of the names on each side of the ball for the Golden Hurricane that Temple fans should be aware of coming into the game and why?

The Golden Hurricast:

I have a bad habit of just naming everybody on the entire team whenever this question comes up, so I will give myself a hard limit of 3 names on each side of the ball.

On offense:

  • QB Davis Brin
  • WR Keylon Stokes
  • RB Deneric Prince

On defense:

I talked about Brin and Stokes enough on the offensive side of the ball already, so I’ll focus on Deneric Prince. As I briefly mentioned, Prince returned two games ago against Cincinnati. He was the obvious lead back against Cincy, but was completely ineffective against Navy - although we abandoned the run game extremely quickly against the Mids as we fell behind right away. Keep an eye on Prince’s utilization against Temple - I’m sure he’s hungry for his breakout game of 2022.

On the defensive side of the ball, we have an obvious leader at every level of the defense - and it’s those three guys. Each of them has big-play ability and each of them has had a huge impact on the program. The defense has taken a few steps back this season after the loss of Defensive Coordinator Joe Gillespie to TCU over the offseason, but we’re still running largely the same scheme (a 3-3-5) we ran with Joe G and Bill Young before him. I still have some confidence that the defense will find itself this year under the leadership of those three guys and under new DC Luke Olson. This is a “put up or shut up” game for Tulsa’s defense, and I expect them to play well.


What will be the keys to Tulsa coming away with a victory over the Owls on Friday night? What is your score prediction?

The Golden Hurricast:

I’ve talked about each of the keys in one way or the other through answering some of the earlier questions, so I’ll just bullet point them for you here. The keys for Tulsa are the following against Temple this week:

  • Tulsa’s inexperienced offensive line needs to find a way to slow down Temple’s top-10 defensive line in terms of sacks and tackles for loss
  • Tulsa needs to establish some kind of effective rushing attack. Deneric Prince could break out
  • Tulsa’s defense in general needs to show marked improvement, both in passing defense and rushing defense. We can’t let Temple’s young QB EJ Warner get into a rhythm
  • Davis Brin needs to stay healthy

To summarize, the bye week was extremely necessary for Tulsa at this point in the season. We were beat up after three very physical games in a row against Ole Miss, Cincinnati, and Navy. Assuming Davis Brin starts/is healthy, and the offensive line can figure something out, Tulsa has enough playmakers on offense to blow the game open early. I think the team is pissed after an unexpected 2-4 start to the year and will be out for blood on the road against the Owls.

Score prediction: Tulsa wins it 34-17