Resurgent Tulsa Hurricane defeats Cougars on the road
The Cougars lost their second game of the season in a 45-17 stunner against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in Oklahoma. The Cougars again struggled to find their identity in the 28-point loss and are now facing a short week of rest before facing the Memphis Tigers at home on Thursday.
Tulsa finally found its mojo while sacrificing the Cougars on Saturday. The Golden Hurricane that dominated the Cougars’ offense and defense looked like the same 10-3 team from 2016, not the 1-5 group that came limping into the weekend.
“Obviously we are disappointed,” said head coach Major Applewhite. “We didn’t play well enough to win. Give credit to Tulsa; give credit to coach Montgomery and their players because they came ready to play. We didn’t come ready to play, and that’s on me.”
The first quarter was relatively uneventful. Both teams struggled to move the ball, with Houston registering 126-yards and 2-for-6 on third down conversions. Tulsa managed only 56 total yards and one third down conversion on four tries.
Junior running back Duke Catalon continued last week’s stellar play and finished the first half with 14 carries for 43-yards and a touchdown. Senior wide receiver Steven Dunbar was all over the field and corralled nine receptions, tying a season-high record, for 96 yards before the end of the second.
The Cougars were firing on all cylinders, leading 10-0, until senior quarterback Kyle Postma threw a costly interception to junior free safety McKinley Whitfield at the Tulsa 48-yard line. He managed to return the ball 51 yards to the Houston 1-yard line in the second quarter. That interception was Tulsa’s turning point.
Sophomore quarterback Chad President was able to take advantage of the field position and ran it in for a touchdown, bringing the score to 10-7 with 4:34 left in the half.
Tulsa finished the half with just 93 yards of total offense and looked like the same team it has been all year, except for the miracle defensive interception.
“When you go into the half 10-7, I told them it’s interesting,” Applewhite said. “You had an opportunity to take the game from them. You let them back in. They are now excited in their locker room.”
The third quarter saw Tulsa come up with the magic it has been missing all year on offense. Not only did the Golden Hurricane finish with 24 points and the lead, it also went from 98 to 268 total yards in one quarter.
President again came on the field in relief of starting quarterback sophomore Luke Skipper and scored another touchdown for Tulsa.
Senior running back D’Angelo Brewer also had his own big play of the game with a 46-yard rushing touchdown to end the third quarter.
Tulsa exploded in the fourth quarter and secured the victory on the legs of its running backs.
The fourth again saw the Cougars struggle on both sides of the ball. Postma struggled to give the offense any positive yardage. The Cougars ended their scoring early in the fourth with a rushing touchdown by senior running back Dillon Birden.
Meanwhile, multiple Golden Hurricane players finished with more than a hundred rushing yards for the second time this season.
Freshman running back Shamari Brooks finished the game with 111 yards on 18 carries and was only surpassed by Brewer, who had 140 yards on 23 carries. They each finished with a touchdown to add to President’s scores, adding up to four touchdowns on the ground.
The game was already out of hand when senior defensive end Jeremy Smith sacked Kyle Postma, who fumbled the ball. Senior linebacker Petera Wilson picked it up for a three-yard touchdown with just 24 seconds left.
“It’s going to be the team that plays well, takes care of the ball and tackles in the second half,” Applewhite said. “We didn’t do a good job of taking care of the football, and we didn’t do a good job of tackling in the second half.”
The Cougars are set to face another conference opponent, the Memphis Tigers, at 7 p.m. Thursday inside TDECU Stadium.