So, you’re a freshman at the University of Tulsa. You’re settling in on our beautiful campus, you’ve been through orientation, gone to your first classes (hopefully), and you’ve found enough free food to keep you from starvation. It’s an exciting time for you!
If you’re a huge sports fan like myself, then you should be excited because this Saturday Tulsa hosts San Jose State to start the football season! The problem I had last year as a freshman was that I was ready to cheer on the Golden Hurricane, but I wasn’t really familiar with the team. “Who is our QB? Our coach? Our best player? What time should I get to the game? What’s the best way to experience game day on campus?” We are here to help answer all those questions for you in this article, and prepare you to impress all your friends when Tulsa takes the field this Saturday.
Recent history: For most of the 2000s, Tulsa has had a very good team. TU has had 7 winning seasons since 2005, and from 2010-2012 they appeared in 3 straight bowl games, winning two of them. In 2012 the team finished with an 11-3 record, and won Conference USA. Despite historical success, Tulsa has struggled since 2012. A lot of that had to do with Tulsa joining the more competitive American Athletic Conference in 2014. After 2 straight seasons with less than 4 wins, Tulsa fired head coach Bill Blankenship in 2014, and brought on Philip Montgomery. Montgomery did well in his first year, leading the team to a bowl game, and having one of the 20 best offenses in the country.
Our coach: Before coaching at Tulsa, Philip Montgomery was the offensive coordinator at Baylor. He brought an up-tempo, high-powered offensive playbook to Tulsa. In a poll we ran earlier this year, he had a 98% approval rating.
Montgomery is a player’s coach whom most everyone loves and respects. Watch this video of him mic’d up at a practice to get an idea of his coaching style.
— Tulsa Football (@TulsaFootball) August 5, 2016
The conference: So I mentioned earlier that Tulsa joined the American Athletic Conference in 2014. The AAC is a perfect conference for Tulsa; here are the 12 teams that comprise the conference.
Houston, Cincinnati, and Navy make a great conference for football; Memphis, UConn, and SMU make it a great conference for basketball.
Our QB: The guy playing quarterback for Tulsa is a senior from Sanger, Texas named Dane Evans. Dane has been the starter since his sophomore year, and he is a true pocket passer who throws a very accurate deep ball. Last season he threw for over 4,000 yards and only 8 picks, and he is looking to top that this year and become Tulsa’s all-time leader in passing yards. Dude is a straight-up baller. Beyond all that, he is a nice guy who likes coming to the intramural football games, and he is a great ambassador for the University.
Our best players: Don’t get me wrong, Dane is definitely one of our best players, but the absolute best player on this team is definitely senior WR Keevan Lucas (#2). Last year in the 4th game of the year vs Houston, Keevan suffered a horrific knee injury that ended his season. It was a devastating loss for the team, but this year he is back, healthy, and ready to score a lot of touchdowns. Fellow RCS writer Zac Jones compared him to Antonio Brown, which I think is a good comparison. Lucas isn’t necessarily a physical specimen, only 5’10” and 184 pounds, but his speed, agility, and ball skills are second to none. In the first 3 games last season, Keevan had 26 catches for 409 yards and 5 touchdowns, that’s incredible! He also had at least a 40 yard reception in each of those games; the guy is just a lock to make big plays every game.
— Reign Cane Sports (@ReignCaneSports) August 26, 2016
Tulsa’s other top WR Josh Atkinson (#88) is very talented as well. He is bigger than Lucas, but makes just as many spectacular plays. Last season he had 76 receptions for over 1000 yards and 5 TDs (kinda puts Keevan’s 5 in 3 games in perspective). At running back the Golden Hurricane is talented as well, lead by D’Angelo Brewer (#4). As a complement back last season, Brewer nearly rushed for 1,000 yards, and crossed the century mark in 3 games. He is a very quick back, and he has put on muscle this season. He will cause defenses all types of problems.
Defensively, Tulsa had their problems last season. They ranked near the bottom in every statistical category and, to make it worse, their two best players graduated. This year though, fans are excited about the Golden Hurricane defense turning it around, lead by senior linebacker Trent Martin (#40). Martin is a product of local powerhouse Jenks High School, and has been a 2-year starter for TU. Last season Martin tallied over 100 tackles, and was an AAC all-conference honorable mention.
Last year: As I mentioned it was Montgomery’s first year as coach, and Tulsa surprised a lot of people by becoming bowl eligible. One of the best moments last season was when Tulsa travelled to Norman to face the 16th ranked OU Sooners. Tulsa played a close game for 4 quarters, but the sooners eventually won. This Hail Mary cut the Sooner’s lead to 7 at halftime.
— Reign Cane Sports (@ReignCaneSports) August 24, 2016
That play was one of 2 Hail Mary’s TU completed last season, both of which were featured on Sportscenter’s Top 10. Keyarris Garrett, the player on the receiving end of that catch, lead the nation in receiving yards. Garrett is now on the Carolina Panthers.
Tulsa ended the season in Shreveport, Louisiana, where they took on Virginia Tech in the Independence Bowl. In a game that was arguably the best bowl game of the season, Tulsa scored 52 points and had a shot to win it in the final minute. TU ultimately fell short with a 55-52 loss, but that game put Tulsa on the national stage, and gave them a huge boost of momentum going into this season.
Game day at TU: Okay now you are knowledgeable about the football team, but you’re wondering how can I make the most out of game days at Tulsa? I love Tulsa’s setup for game days, as it gives fans and students plenty of places to hangout before kickoff. My advice would be to head over to the New U about 2 hours before kickoff. The football team will walk across 8th street in Tulsa’s version of “The walk”, and the band will come and play for a couple of minutes on the New U. Not to mention, there are plenty of TU alumni and fans who tailgate on the New U, and they are always happy to connect with current students on campus. After you’ve exhausted your options at the New U, it is time to head over to fraternity row to enjoy SA’s tailgate (they are almost always giving away free stuff), and if you have friends in Greek organizations you will want to check their tailgate out as well. This area is where the most energy is pregame, and it is the perfect way to get ready for TU football.
Also, check your email before heading out because sometimes other organizations throw tailgates as well. Last year I know Hardesty Hall had chicken minis in Hurricane Plaza, and there are usually all sorts of cool places to go before game time.
Whenever it is about 20-30 minutes before kickoff, that is a great time to head to the stadium. Personally I like arriving earlier to secure good spots and to watch the players warm up, while others like arriving right at kickoff, but for the first game I definitely advise getting there early just to get a feel of H.A. Chapman before kickoff.
Chants, and our team name: One of my favorite things about Tulsa is that the band is right next to the student section, and the cheerleaders are right in front of us. They will lead us in chants throughout the game which are pretty self-explanatory, but my favorites are “REIGN. CANE.” and a simple “T-U *clap clap* T-U *clap clap*”.
Our nickname is the Golden Hurricane, or simply the Hurricane (never, never add an ‘s’ to the end of “Hurricane”). Even though we are the University of Tulsa, we go by TU; UT is reserved for Texas. Saying “Go Tulsa!” and “Go TU!” are both acceptable and encouraged to yell. The hand symbol we use is shown below by Dane, Keevan, and Trent. Your pointer finger and thumb is supposed to look like the eye of a hurricane, while your fingers form the rest of the storm.
— Miami Mike (@Miami_mikes13) August 2, 2016
YOU’RE NOW READY FOR SATURDAY – I don’t know about you guys, but I am pumped for football season to start. You are now ready to cheer on the team, have a great time, and impress all your friends. If you enjoyed this article, please follow us on Twitter, like our Facebook, listen to our podcast, etc. We made this site with the students in mind, and we hope you enjoy. If you have any other questions about the team or game day, drop a comment below and I’ll get back to you!