The Hurricane is breaking in a new quarterback, Nebraska transfer Cody Green. The 6-foot-4, 247-pound junior has completed just 51.2 percent of his passes for 1,041 yards, with nine touchdowns and six interceptions. He had a 45-yard touchdown run at UAB.
"He's a big body," said Herd safety Okechukwu Okoroha. "He believes in himself, he believes in his arm. You can see it on film. Some tight spots, I'd think the quarterback wouldn't want to throw it in there, but he takes his shot and throws it. Sometimes he completes it, sometimes it wasn't the best choice.
"He looks like he's a good quarterback. With some time, he's going to be a really good quarterback. He's got the size for it."
The receiving corps has some new parts, especially after Bryan Burnham tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the season opener. Sophomore Keyarris Garrett (6-4, 207) is the top receiver with 20 receptions for 266 yards and four touchdowns, but 6-3, 195-pound Thomas Roberson (eight catches, 174 yards, three TDs) could be the most explosive.
Tulsa's defense leads the nation in sacks with 26. Linebacker DeAundre Brown and end Jared St. John, both seniors, lead with five apiece. Safety Dexter McCoil was a Conference USA defensive player of the week for his 10-tackle role in the Fresno State game.
The Hurricane was one of the favorites in the West Division, and is playing the role so far. It is one of the two C-USA the Herd has failed to knock off since both joined the league in 2005. Tulsa won 38-31 in 2007, 38-35 in the 2008 season finale and by a country mile last year.
The Herd is coming off a 51-41 loss at Purdue, in a game that could have turned just as ugly as the 2011 Tulsa game. In many ways, the Herd as a point to prove on Saturday.
"You can see from the game against Purdue that we're a different team now," Jeffries said. "To overcome a deficit like that, to battle back, it just shows we're a completely different team from last year."
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com.