For the second time in two games, University of Tulsa quarterback Dane Evans decided the outcome by himself by running the ball up the middle for the winning touchdown in overtime. The Golden Hurricane beat SMU, 43-40, in OT, Friday night, in front of 22,089 fans at H.A. Chapman Stadium.
“Our team is just one of those teams that is battling every week, every game,” Tulsa Head Coach Philip Montgomery said. “I thought SMU came in here really determined. I thought our guys just kept fighting and kept believing, bowed up when we needed to bow up, and got touchdowns when we needed touchdowns. There are a lot of things that you look at that we’ve got to get better at, but wins are hard to come by in college football, and we got a big one tonight.”
Montgomery said Evans ran almost the same play at Fresno State on Sept. 24 to give TU the win, 48-41.
“Similar, just a little bit – tweaked it a little bit, but felt like we had it set up,” Montgomery said. “We had been running a play of that kind, working the stretch and having some success with it. We had a tough time running the football. We had some guys go down tonight; other guys had to step in and play. Felt like we had it set up and really just executed extremely well on the plan. I just talked to Dane about it. He said there was nobody in front of him, so just a well-executed play and guys did a great job.”
For the game, Evans completed 25-of-44 passes for 247 yards and a touchdown.
Evans said once you get to overtime it’s just a matter of grit.
“Like last time we played in overtime, it is just about who wants it more,” Evans said. “It really doesn’t matter what you’ve been doing, if you’re throwing the ball well or running the ball well because the field gets condensed and it’s really just match ups, and when you only have 25 yards it’s just who wants it more. Like Coach Monty said, we had just been setting that up and it was wide open and anybody could’ve scored. I was just glad that I got the ball across the goal line and handed it to them.”
Tulsa’s D’Angelo Brewer ran the ball for 182 yards on 38 carries and scored one touchdown in the game – a 35-yarder in the fourth quarter that put Tulsa ahead 37-34.
“He’s a gamer, a tough kid,” Montgomery said of Brewer. “Like I talked about at fall camp the weight that he’s added has allowed him to be a big-down back and a big carry back. I think the combination of him and James [Flanders] has been really good. Those guys are feeding off of each other, two different styles of running, too, and, again, our offensive line coming off the football and creating some things.”
Flanders had a career-high 132 yards on 13 carries. Keevan Lucas caught 12 passes for 113 yards, and Josh Atkinson had 11 receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown.
Tulsa (4-1, 1-0 American Athletic Conference) totaled 562 yards of offense on 103 plays from scrimmage, including 315 yards on the ground. The Golden Hurricane eclipsed 110 plays and 300 rushing yards for the second straight game.
SMU (2-4, 0-2 AAC) scored on the opening possession of the game, taking the ball 70 yards in seven plays, as Ke’Mon Freeman completed the drive with a three-yard run.
SMU forced the overtime with a 25-yard field goal as time expired, and then added 22-yard field goal on its possession in the overtime. Tulsa elected to play defense first then recorded its third straight victory on Evans’ run into the end zone.
Tulsa will have a difficult task on its hands this Saturday as the Golden Hurricane travels to play at No. 6 ranked Houston at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.
FRIDAY NIGHT GAMES
I understand why Tulsa played this game on a Friday night, but I just wish college games didn’t conflict with the high school football schedule.
The American Athletic Conference has a national broadcast deal with ESPN 2, and the TU-SMU game was carried by the cable sports network. Obviously it is a big deal for your team and league to have that television revenue and national exposure, but I know there were a lot of people in the area who would have loved to have been at this game, but had commitments at high school football games that night.
Some folks had to attend a high school game because they have a son or grandson playing on a team. Others, like me, have work commitments that caused them to have to be at a high school game rather than this Tulsa game. I happen to do the P.A. announcing for a local high school team and they had a home game that night. Still others, in the media, were obligated to cover some of the local high school games, but if the game had been played on Saturday those same media members would have been at H.A. Chapman Stadium.
So I get why they played this game on a Friday night, I just wish they didn’t have to.