Looks could be deceiving with TU's next foe
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Monday, October 08, 2012
The University of Tulsa’s next football foe is likely better than its record indicates.
During Monday’s weekly press briefing, TU head coach Bill Blankenship agreed with a media member who described UTEP’s Miner as “a deceptive 1-5.”
“These guys ... if you put ‘em on film, you would not dream that it's a 1-5 team,” Blankenship said. “They play hard, and they’re playing very aggressively.”
TU hopes to extend a five-game winning streak when the Miners visit Chapman Stadium at 7 p.m. Thursday for a Fox Sports Network national telecast (Cox 27).
Both teams will have to make a quick, five-day turnaround. Tulsa made the plays down the stretch Saturday to win at Marshall 45-38 while UTEP lost at home to SMU 17-0.
Tulsa leads the series 12-8 with wins in seven of the last 10 meetings, including five straight in Chapman Stadium.
The Miners have played a murderer’s-row type of nonconference schedule, but they stayed in the games well into the fourth quarter in losses to Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Ole Miss.
“Oklahoma scored 24 points, Ole Miss scored 28 and Wisconsin got 37, but was a series away from the game being undecided,” Blankenship said. “This is a defense that can really fly. They’re very talented on defense.”
Blankenship said he remembered watching the Miners give OU fits in both teams' opener. The Sooners won 24-7, but the game was tied at halftime and OU didn't get its first lead until early in the third quarter.
Miners running back Nathan Jeffery rushed for 177 yards against the Sooners and blocked a punt and returned it 24 yards for his team's only score.
“He ran all over (Oklahoma). That guy had all kinds of speed. He cramped up or I think he’d have still been playing at the end,” Blankenship said.
After Oklahoma, Jeffery was slowed by a groin injury for three games, but returned to form with 134 yards in a 28-18 loss at East Carolina and had 64 yards against SMU.