The University of Tulsa’s football program has had its times of ups and downs recently. Since its move to the AAC (American Athletic Conference) from the C-USA (Conference USA) in the summer of 2014, TU has had some tough times in terms of football.
In the previous two seasons TU has a combined seven wins. TU won 8 bowl games between 2004-12 and competed for C-USA championships four times during that span. Now, TU has won a combined 5 games in the past two seasons and have not returned to a bowl game. These downtrodden results have forced some change in the schools choice of coaching staff.
After a horrendous 2-10 season in 2014, TU hired former Baylor offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Philip Montgomery. Montgomery came from running an offense that averaged 48.8 points per game and an average of 583.1 yards per game.
Montgomery’s style can be described as “high octane” or “run and gun”, in which the offense tries to run as many plays a game as possible.
Players like Bryce Petty, Kevin Kolb, Case Keenum, and Robert Griffin III have all flourished under Montgomery as their quarterback coach and achieved all-conference seasons during their time with Montgomery.
Tulsa’s quarterback, Dane Evans, has been doing well so far for the Golden Hurricane. He has stepped up his game in the aspect of turnovers, with only 7 interceptions so far through 10 games. This is an improvement for Evans, who threw a whopping 17 picks last year. Evans is averaging a 61 percent completion rate this season as well as an average of 9.1 yards per throw. His yards per pass attempt are up from last season, which might suggest that he is gaining a little more confidence in his arm.
This season, Tulsa’s defense is boasting one of the nations best tacklers. Micheal Mudoh, a senior linebacker from Richmond, TX. Mudoh is 20th overall in solo tackles in NCAA division one football right now and fifth all time for TU. Mudoh just passed former TU linebacker and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, Lovie Smith on that list.
Senior Zack Langer is TU’s leading rusher, but has had some injury concerns that kept him out of Tulsa’s game at the University of Central Florida, and held Langer to one rushing attempt at Cincinnati. In Langer’s absence, D’Angelo Brewer and Ramadi Warren have taken the roles of a running back by committee.
Tulsa’s receiving core has also taken a significant blow to its personnel. Keevan Lucan, the teams leading receiver and nationally recognized outstanding player, tore his patella tendon during Tulsa’s game at Houston on Oct. 3.
The next man up was Keyarris Garrett. He has filled in admirably for Lucas during his time gone. Garrett has posted 45 receptions with 696 yards and five TDs since Lucas went down, he had a particular game in a losing effort against Memphis that he came down with 14 catches for 268 and three of the TDs. Then again at Cincinnati, Garrett threw up nine catches for 168 yards and a touch.
Tulsa’s wide receiver Josh Atkinson has also preformed well since Lucas went down with the patella. In the last six games Atkinson has amounted 41 receptions for 479 yards and a TD.
A few weeks ago, TU took on the Cincinnati Bearcats for the first time since 1997. The two high-powered offenses did not disappoint in a very high scoring game. Cincinnati proved to be too much for Tulsa to handle and gave them their fifth loss of the year with the 49-38 win.
After Cincinnati, the Golden Hurricane took on 16th ranked Navy for the last home game of the season. There was a definite buzz in the stadium Tulsa has experienced a record low in attendance this year but 22,749 people turned out on a frigid night to see Navy’s top-3 rushing attack and record-breaking QB, Keenan Reynolds.
Reynolds is now number one in the record books as the NCAA’s career rushing touchdown leader. He holds the NCAA record for most rushing touchdowns by a QB in one season, one game, and one collegiate career. Reynolds is now closing in on historic NCAA marks for yardages as well.
All TU needs is one win and they will be bowl-eligible, but they do face an uphill battle to get there. Tulane (3-8) is their final game and last chance for TU to get that important sixth win of the season. The game kicks off from New Orleans at seven p.m. and can be seen on ESPN U.
For more information regarding the University of Tulsa’s football program, please visit tulsahurricane.com.
View Cecil Sunny Philip and I’s photo gallery of the Navy vs TU game here