TULSA, OK—For at least three quarters, it looked as if the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane were going to pull off a regulation win in front of 18,744 homecoming fans in H.A. Chapman Stadium on Saturday afternoon. They had a decent lead, momentum was in their favor, and all they needed to do was keep pressure on the University of South Florida in the second half and they would seal the deal.
Well, that didn’t happen.
The USF Bulls turned a 27-7 deficit at the half into a 38-30 win with 31-points in the second half to hand the Golden Hurricane their second straight loss where their opponent mounted a late comeback to snatch away a win.
TU would only manage three second half points. Tulsa gained a 314-96 advantage in total yards in the first half, but that tipped to 316-174 in favor of USF in the second half.
TU fell to 1-6 overall and 1-2 in American Athletic Conference play, while USF improved to 3-4 overall and 2-1 in conference play.
For the Golden Hurricane on the day, TU quarterback Dane Evans completed 22-of-34 passed for 314 yards. Sophomore receiver Keevan Lucas caught 11 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown, and junior running back Zack Langer gained 100 yards on 26 rushes.
USF quarterback Mike White went completed 17 passes on 26 throws and three touchdowns, with six completions and three touchdowns going to Andre Davis, who had 154 receiving yards, running back Marlon Mack had 130 yards and two touchdowns on the day.
TU defender Austin McDaniel provided the first points for the home team off a 46-yard interception return on USF’s second play of the game.
That was answered on the next USF series when Marlon Mack galloped into the TU end zone with 10:37 remaining in the first quarter. Hurricane kicker Carl Salazar added three on a 31-yard boot with less than six minutes remaining and freshman Bishop Louie scored his first collegiate points to extend Tulsa’s lead to 24-7 on a neat reverse-handoff that allowed him to cruise 18 yards to the house.
Add an eight yard strike by Evans to Keevan Lucas and another Salazar field goal…this time a 32-yarder as time expired in the first half and the Golden Hurricane were in solid command of their first ever meeting with the University of South Florida.
Or so they thought. The final 30 minutes of the ball game only saw Salazar connect on one of two field goal attempts, and USF score three touchdowns and a field goal to take away what should have been a triumphant snapping of a losing streak.
The loss left the fans stunned and Tulsa’s head coach Bill Blankenship waxing philosophical when he was asked what happens when the dust settles and they start planning for Memphis on October 31st. “You have no choice. The choice is the same choice we had week one. It comes back week two. It’s a very boring answer, but you have to improve week to week and you have to come in and you have to strap them up and pull your big boy pants on and go to work. We’ve got to fight out of this hole.”
The Golden Hurricane will have the week off before they travel to Memphis for the game on Halloween night, then return to H.A. Chapman Stadium to host the SMU Mustangs on Saturday, November 8th.