Tulsa has been involved in 3 overtime games since Coach Montgomery took over as head coach, they are now 3-0 in those games after a big 43-40 win last night. The Golden Hurricane once again got off to a sluggish start, allowing an opening touchdown, then falling into a 14-3 hole. This was not a “good” game by any means, but it was a good win for Tulsa. As much as I wish that TU could just take care of business and blow this team out, a win is a win and we are now 4-1 heading to Houston. Onto my thoughts…1) Another Lackluster Start
The lack of energy to start this game was very disappointing. The bad start at Fresno State was understandable (not excusable, but understandable). However, for a nationally televised home game vs a conference foe, you’d think that the team would come out ready to play! I understand not being sharp, but I fail to understand the offensive/defensive line not firing off the ball, and for our defenders looking like they don’t want to hit people! I want to put the blame on the coaches for this, but props to them for replacing guys that were clearly not ready to play. I really don’t understand the lack of energy, maybe the players were as disappointed with the uniforms as I was.
2) Dane Was Just Not Great
I resent calling out Dane because he is the perfect QB for Tulsa, and I am a big fan of his. However, last night in Tulsa he was not on his A game. It’s disappointing because I was hoping his good performance vs Fresno would be the game that got this passing offense rolling, but that just wasn’t the case. Multiple missed throws, staring down receivers, and one really bad interception in the fourth quarter that could’ve cost us the game. We expect the best out of Dane because he is a 3-year starter, and unfortunately tonight he just didn’t have it. He’ll bounce back though.
3) Defensive Woes Are Back
I was willing to call Fresno an anomaly, but now it is a pattern. Don’t get me wrong, this defense is still better than they were last year, but in no way can we rely on them to win a game for us. After our go-ahead touchdown with 5:30 left in the game, I knew that this was a big moment for Tulsa’s defense.
Big touchdown there! This next 5:30 is season defining, can the defense get a stop when we need them to?
— Reign Cane Sports (@ReignCaneSports) October 8, 2016
Unfortunately, we could not, and were only saved by SMU’s terrible redzone offense. We made SMU’s QB Ben Hicks look like an all-pro. He came into the game with 4 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, and he is leaving Tulsa with 258 more yards, 2 more touchdowns, and no more picks. To be fair, I said that one of the keys to the game for Tulsa was that they couldn’t get beat deep, and they did accomplish that (aside for the long touchdown to Sutton). We need to get back to getting stops, and take advantage when we have a chance to force a turnover.
4) Penalties Were Absurd
As Kelly Hines noted, Tulsa set a record tonight!
With 2:51 left, TU gets its 17th penalty, which ties a program record. SMU has the ball at its 48-yard line, down 37-34.
— Kelly Hines (@KellyHinesTW) October 8, 2016
I heard a lot of complaining about the officiating, but at the game its hard to discern what is a bad call and what is just the crowd turning against the officials. Still though, it was a sloppy game at best for Tulsa, and those penalties need to be removed as TU moves forward.
5) Is D’Angelo Brewer Going To Survive This Season?
Everyone was aghast 2 weeks ago when Brewer carried the ball 46 times, well tonight he carried it 38 more times! Brewer has been the offensive and team MVP so far this year, but the workload certainly concerns me. He is 3rd in the nation in yards per game, but he has also carried the ball 17 more times than anyone else in the nation! For the second straight week we pretty much gave the ball to Brewer and told him to carry us to victory, and props to him; he has done it.
6) Josh Atkinson, My Man
A couple of weeks ago we were critical of Atkinson’s lack of involvement in the offense, and I think he was frustrated as well. Lately, he has been huge. On Friday he had 11 receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown. I love it, keep it up.
7) Run Blocking = Good
The run game this year has been awesome, Flanders and Brewer both went over 100 for the second straight game! Tulsa is now 27th in the nation averaging 230.4 yards per game. The running game is why we are 4-1 rather than 2-3, and the offensive line is to credit for that.
8) Pass Blocking = Bad
The injury to Willie Wright (more later) certainly attributed to this, but Dane was sacked 4 times tonight. That means Tulsa is tied for 7th in the nation for most sacks allowed this season with 17. I know that dropping back to pass so many times means more opportunities for sacks, but Baylor throws it just as much as we do and they are always one of the best in the nation at not allowing sacks.
Starting tackle Willie Wright went out with an injury in the first half, Raymond Taylor went down after a couple of really good kickoff returns, and Jesse Brubaker went down with an injury in overtime. The injuries to Wright and Brubaker did not look good, as Wright was in shorts with a huge brace on his knee for the rest of the game, and Brubaker needed help from two teammates to make it to the locker room afterwards. I certainly hope they can make full recoveries, but I wouldn’t count on them being available for Houston.
This was.. not a fun game. It was long, we made mistakes, and we just didn’t play to our potential. Let’s take a minute to regroup though: we are 4-1, and we haven’t even played our best football yet. The team that I saw play tonight will not win 8 games, however; I am counting on our minor problems to be sorted out in the coming weeks. Next week Tulsa has a chance for a program changing win in Houston. Yes, I wish we were playing better football, but we have 4 wins in 5 games and there is nothing wrong with that.
Hopefully will get a podcast recorded tonight or tomorrow, thanks for reading guys!