Dallas Colleges: Ja'Terian Douglas

Armed Forces Bowl: Three Keys

December, 30, 2011
You saw the preview and prediction. Now here are three keys for BYU and Tulsa in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl on Friday.

BYU (9-3)

1. Slow down G.J. Kinne. There is no question that Kinne is the most valuable player on the Tulsa offense because he can do a variety of things. Kinne leads the team with an average of 273.4 yards of total offense per game and is always a threat to run out of the backfield. What should help BYU is practicing against its own running quarterback in Riley Nelson. But Kinne has a much better arm and is much more experienced, so BYU has to contain him if it has any shot at winning the game. The only true rushing quarterback BYU has faced this season was Chuckie Keeton at Utah State, and he had 22 yards on six carries.

2. Stop the run. Tulsa averages more than 200 yards on the ground per game, so making sure the Golden Hurricane are not running at will and chewing up clock will be a huge part of this game. Kinne certainly can win contests with his arm, but it puts an incredible amount of strain and pressure on any quarterback when his offense becomes one-dimensional. Tulsa does well with play-action passes, so stopping the run means taking away those calls as well.

3. Keep Nelson healthy. BYU goes into this game with no experience behind Nelson, so it is going to be extremely important to protect the starting quarterback. Nelson can run, and he is not afraid to give up his body -- that already led to one injury this season in which he missed several games. Jake Heaps, who was demoted and would have served as the backup, left the team when he decided to transfer. So that leaves James Lark behind Nelson. Lark has attempted only 10 passes in his career.

Tulsa (8-4)

1. Run it. Just as BYU has to make an effort to stop the run, Tulsa is going to try to run the football effectively. The Golden Hurricane failed to rush for more than 100 yards just once all season -- against North Texas. They also have rushed for 200 or more yards five times this season. Like BYU, Tulsa does not rely on one primary back -- Ja'Terian Douglas and Trey Watts have each run for more than 800 yards this season, and they are vastly different runners.

2. Force third-and-long. Third-down defense is going to be important for Tulsa in this game. BYU ranks No. 3 in the nation in third-down conversions at 52.94 percent. Tulsa has not been the best in this category, ranking No. 83 in third-down defense while allowing opponents to convert 42.7 percent of the time. Coach Bill Blankenship knows his team has to limit the big plays and force BYU into uncomfortable passing situations, because that is not an area of strength for the Cougars.

3. Limit the mistakes. Neither team has been great in turnover margin. In fact, both teams are in negative territory here. But both coaches realize this is an important aspect to this game because one turnover could really change the outcome. After leading the nation in interceptions a year ago with 24, that number has dropped to 16 for Tulsa, so it will be important to get to Nelson and force him into mistakes.

Armed Forces Bowl: BYU vs. Tulsa

December, 29, 2011
BYU (9-3) takes on Tulsa (8-4) in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl on Friday at noon in Dallas. Here is a quick preview:

WHO TO WATCH: Tulsa quarterback G.J. Kinne. What Kinne has been able to do with the Golden Hurricane is pretty remarkable, when you consider he has played for three different offensive coordinators. This season, Kinne became the third Tulsa quarterback to go over 9,000 yards passing in a career. He now has 9,258 career passing yards, ranking third on the school's all-time list. Kinne also has thrown 78 touchdown passes, and ranks second in school history. He is five behind Paul Smith, so catching up with a huge game against BYU is not out of the realm of possibility. Kinne can run, too -- he is the only quarterback in school history to pass for more than 6,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards.

WHAT TO WATCH: Tulsa run game vs. BYU run defense. Both teams rank in the Top 25 in the nation in their respective categories of run offense and run defense. The Golden Hurricane have two backs that have gone for more than 800 yards -- in addition to Kinne racking up more than 500 himself. Ja'Terian Douglas, Trey Watts and Kinne have more combined rushing yards than BYU's entire team. Seeing Douglas and Watts emerge has been huge for the Golden Hurricane -- Kinne led the team in rushing the past two seasons. BYU has been solid against the run this season, allowing only three 100-yard rushers. BYU does have a size advantage on its defensive line and rotates in plenty of players. Linebacker Kyle Van Noy has been the best player on the defense, leading the team with 10 tackles for loss and five sacks. He has come up big in run support and has defended the pass as well, so he is a definite player Tulsa must watch.

WHY TO WATCH: BYU has been one of the most consistent programs in the nation, save for last season. A victory would give the Cougars their fifth 10-win season in the past six years. It will also be the 16th 10-win season in school history, which ranks 13th among all current FBS teams, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Given that success, BYU has never won three bowl games in a row. The Cougars go into this game having won two straight bowls.

PREDICTION: BYU 30, Tulsa 27. These teams are about as evenly matched as you can get, with quarterbacks who like to run, a backfield that isn't reliant on one player, and linebackers who are capable of making plays. Kinne has an edge on Riley Nelson, but BYU has the edge on defense and up front -- and that will be enough to lead BYU to the victory.