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Armed Forces Bowl

Tulsa vs. BYU

12/30/11

The Armed Forces Bowl will pit 9-3 BYU against 8-4 Tulsa in a matchup that could be very high scoring. The Cougars have won 8 of their last 9 and Tulsa has won 7 of their last 8 games. BYU currently holds 58.3% of the action as a 2.5 point favorite at 5Dimes.

Riley Nelson leads the way for the BYU offense that has scored 42, 42 and 41 points in its last three games. The junior from Logan, UT has passed for 1,467 yards and 16 TDs this year. His last game, against Hawaii, was highly impressive. He completed 25 of 37 for 363 yards and 3 TDs. The RB tandem of JJ Di Luigi and Michael Alisa combined for 1,001 yards and 6 TDs.

The defense is where the Cougars really shine. BYU allowed less than 300 yards in each of its last five games, including a bout with the potent TCU Horned Frogs. They will need to summon all of their strength as the Tulsa offense can score in bunches.

The Golden Hurricane offense is steadied by senior QB G.J. Kinne. He has passed for 2,876 yards, 25 TDs and 12 INTs this year. He was especially impressive against Marshall, connecting on 24 of 31 for 302 yards and 4 TDs. His top target is junior WR Willie Carter who has 61 catches for 868 yards and 7 TDs. Fellow junior Bryan Burnham is also rock solid with 50 catches for 737 yards and 8 TDs.

Tulsa has been solid against the run, but shaky in the secondary.

Tulsa's 4 losses came against 4 of the best teams in the nation, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Boise State and Houston. Tulsa lost to those 4 by an average score of 49-21. Take those 4 games out of the picture for Tulsa and you're looking at a very different stat package. That's significant here because BYU didn't play a team even close in strength to those 4, with the possible exception of TCU.

Our score prediction model likes Tulsa straight up 30-27. The yards per point numbers here are dead even when looking at season to date numbers while BYU is lacking big time on the road defensively with a very poor 12.4. Again, this is all very significant because the Tulsa schedule was more difficult and included 4 powerhouse teams. We'll take any points we can get with the underdog here, which right now would be +2.5. Tulsa +2.5

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