Iowa State Cyclones vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane football: Five players to watch


Dec 31, 2012; Memphis, TN, USA; Tulsa Golden Hurricane running back Trey Watts (22) advances the ball against Iowa State Cyclones defensive back Jansen Watson (2) in the Liberty Bowl at Liberty Bowl Stadium. Tulsa won 31-17. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

When the Iowa State Cyclones take on the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, of course quarterback Sam Richardson will receive the most focus on the field. Along with him, here’s four other weapons on both sides that deserve the same amount of attention.

Tulsa RB Trey Watts (#22, Sr.)

Watts leads the Golden Hurricane in rushing with 220 yards on 40 attempts, which is 135 yards better than the second-best rusher. He’ll also be a dual threat, grabbing the most receptions on the team so far this season (18) with 156 yards. The Cyclones’ defense should be happy to hear that he isn’t as big as other running backs that have tortured them this season (5-foot-11, 190 pounds), but he’s still an athletic threat that must be contained.

ISU QB Sam Richardson (#12, So.)

Obviously, all eyes will be on Richardson to see how well he can move. Now dealing with multiple injuries, it’s still imperative for the young quarterback to be mobile with an offensive line that hasn’t proven it can prevent pressure or create any holes for the running backs.

Tulsa PK Carl Salazar (#29, Sr.)

The Golden Hurricane are on their third different kicker in as many seasons. Salazar has made 5 of 7 field goal attempts and has banged in all six points after touchdown in the first three games. He’ll likely get the call multiple times if Tulsa’s offense continues to struggle.

ISU P Kirby Van Der Kamp (#13, Sr.)

Speaking of offenses struggling, Iowa State can help their cause by winning the field position. If first downs aren’t coming continually, it will be key for Van Der Kamp to make the Golden Hurricane start deep in their territory. Given that they’ve already fumbled the ball six times this season and lost four of them, that could give the Cyclones easier opportunities to score and gain momentum.

Tulsa LB Shawn Jackson (#55, Sr.)

Similar to Iowa State a season ago, Tulsa will be relying on two very experienced linebackers to prevent the Cyclones from doing anything on offense. Jackson has done a little bit of everything already this season, picking up 25 total tackles (4.5 of them for a loss), one sack, one interception, and has one pass broken up. The Cyclones can’t afford a big day from him on the defense.