Jacksonville State at Tulsa: game outlook, check ESPN+ to watch the Gamecocks

·3 min read

Sep. 17—Pregame analysis as Jacksonville State plays at Tulsa on Saturday:

The game

What: Jacksonville State (3-0, 0-0 ASUN) vs. Tulsa (1-1, 0-0 American Athletic).

Rankings: Neither team is ranked.

When: 6 p.m.

Where: H.A. Chapman Stadium (30,000), Tulsa, Okla.

TV: ESPN+

Radio: WLJS-FM, 91.9 (Jacksonville); WRBZ-FM, 95.5 (Montgomery) WVOK-FM, 97.9 (Oxford); 98.1 (Gadsden); WKXX-FM, 102.9 (Attalla)

Four-down territory

1. Upset parade: Three Sun Belt Conference teams lit up the college football world with major upsets last week ... Marshall over Notre Dame, Georgia Southern over Nebraska and Appalachian State over Texas A&M. Can JSU score an upset of an FBS team? The Gamecocks have done it plenty, and recently.

2. Matters of size: JSU coach Rich Rodriguez has expressed concern over JSU's relative lack of size on the defensive front this season, and it could hurt Saturday. In terms of weight, Tulsa's offensive line goes 290-308-305-300-307, and those are just the starters. The seconds include a 320 and a 348. They block for 260-pound running back Steven Anderson.

3. 500 club: JSU ran up 568 yards in total offense at Murray State last week, but that could be harder to do against Tulsa. Since switching to a 3-3-5 scheme in 2018, Tulsa has allowed 500 or more yards just three times.

4. Ground game: JSU will need possession time in this game, and the Gamecocks have gotten it done on the ground this season, averaging 277.0 yards per game. That ranks JSU sixth in the FCS in rushing yards per game. If that pace continues over 11 games, the Gamecocks would finish with the 10th 3,000-yard rushing season in school history.

Key matchup

JSU secondary vs. Tulsa receivers: Tulsa quarterback Davis Brin leads FBS at 391 passing yards a game. Wide receiver Keylon Stokes averages 152 yards a game to rank second nationally. Enough said.

Player of the week

Alen Karajic, K, 6-5, 220, So.: The current ASUN special teams player of the week handled all place-kicking duties in JSU's 34-3 victory at Murray State last week, hitting field goals of 42 and 26 yards and all four extra points. He also recorded six touchbacks on six kickoffs.

By the numbers

2: JSU has won two of its past three games against FBS competition, beating Florida International in 2020 and Florida State in 2021. JSU is 7-22 all-time against FBS teams.

3-0: JSU is 3-0 for the first time since 2013. This season is the third time since 2013 in which JSU did not play an FBS opponent in the first three games.

6: Rushing touchdowns by quarterback Zion Webb this season, the most rushing touchdowns and the most total touchdowns by any player in the FCS in 2022.

Prediction

Both teams average nearly identical points (Tulsa 37.5/37.0 JSU) and total yards (Tulsa 475.0/456.0 JSU). Tulsa has done it against FBS competition.

Tulsa 42, JSU 28

Sports Writer Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter: @jmedley_star.