Houston quarterback Greg Ward was stellar in the Cougars 38-24 win over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, Saturday at H.A. Chapman Stadium in front of a crowd of 17,146. It was the first American Athletic Conference game of the season for both teams.
Ward completed 22-of-38 passes for 273 yards, but threw no touchdown passes However, what was even more impressive was his rushing performance. The Houston quarterback carried the ball 20 times for 182 yards and three touchdowns.
Regardless of what we thought, Houston (4-0, 1-0 AAC) head coach Tom Herman feels his quarterback still needs some improvement.
“I think Greg took a step back today because he missed some throws we need him to make,” Herman said after the game. “The dynamic ability he has with his feet in terms of running and scrambling had to do with God and his Mom and Dad. There was not much that myself or the offensive coaches had to do. We have to coach him better in the pass game to keep drives alive and make better reads.”
On the other hand, Tulsa (2-2, 0-1 AAC) quarterback Dane Evans completed 26-of-44 passes for 326 yards and no touchdowns. Tulsa’s offense looked good early but missed too many opportunities on third down situations, especially late in the game.
“We didn’t run the football effectively,” said Tulsa head coach Philip Montgomery. “We ended up in some third-down situations that we should take advantage of, especially when we’re third and short, that we ended up getting stopped. And that’s just – that’s a mentality. You know, that’s really all that is. I mean we gotta dig down, dig guys out of there, go get a yard, go get two yards, whatever that is. But again, you know, we had our chances still with all of that being said, and we just — we never took advantage of them.”
A blow to the TU offense came when Keevan Lucas left the game early in the third quarter with a knee injury.
“You know, I mean it’s a big loss obviously,” said Montgomery. “I mean that guy is a tremendous football player and even better kid. You know, it affects us. You know, when you have to — when you lose such an important weapon to what you do, it’s always going to be a factor, and so as far as his prognosis goes, you know, I’ve talked to the doctors. We’ll get the MRI. We’ll kind of see how it goes from there. But I’m extremely concerned.”
Each team had two missed field goals. Tulsa’s Redford Jones kicked a 46-yard field goal, to take an early lead, but in the second quarter he missed kicks of 46 and 39 yards. Houston’s Kyle Bullard kicked a 21-yard field goal in the third quarter, but missed field goals from 40 and 44 yards in the fourth quarter.
The bright spot in the game for Tulsa was once again the play of running back Zack Langer, who carried the ball 19 times for 62 yards and three touchdowns.
Tulsa will host a non-conference opponent this week; Louisiana-Monroe from the Sunbelt Conference. The Warhawks are 1-3 overall and 0-1 in their conference, but their record is a bit misleading considering two of their losses came against two Top 25 power houses – Georgia and Alabama. ULM’s only win was a 47-0 shutout of Nicholls State.
TU HALL OF FAME
At halftime of the football game Tulsa’s newest inductees in the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame were introduced to the crowd. They were formally inducted at an event on Friday night.
Quarterback T.J. Rubley led the 1991 Golden Hurricane football team to a 10-2 record and a victory in the 1991 Freedom Bowl. He left TU as the school’s career passing leader with 9,324 yards and 73 TDs. He was drafted by the L.A. Rams.
Basketball star Michael Ruffin led TU to three NCAA Tournament appearances, and became the school’s all-time rebounding (1,211) and blocked shots (266) leader. Ruffin spent nine seasons in the NBA.
Jillian Robbins became the first TU women’s basketball Hall of Famer. She completed her career as the school’s leader in points (2,108), field goals made (747), free throws made (602), rebounds (1,313), steals (347), blocked shots (251) and double-doubles (66).
The late Elmer “Gloomy Gus” Henderson was also inducted. Henderson still ranks as the TU football coach with the most wins in school history. He had an 11 year record of 70-25-5, with 10 straight winning seasons (1925-35). His team’s won five conference titles.
STAUB HEART ATTACK ON FLIGHT
Former Mets and Expos star Rusty Staub suffered a heart attack while on a flight from Ireland to New York City, last Thursday. Two doctors on the flight administered aid, and Staub’s flight was turned back to Ireland, where he was resting comfortably in a hospital over the weekend. The prognosis for recovery is good. Staub is 71.
“Rusty and his family ask that we respect his privacy during this period,” the Mets said in a statement. “He is in the thoughts and prayers of the Mets organization.”
A man named Stephen Marro, who claims to be a close family friend of Staub’s, started a GoFundMe page to raise money for Staub’s flight back to the States. Marro wrote in a post that Staub will need to take a medical plane costing $60,000. The page raised $11,725 in the first two days.
Staub, a right fielder and first baseman, played for the Mets in nine of his 23 seasons in the majors, first from 1972-75 and again from 1981-1985. His best season with New York came in 1975, when he clubbed 19 homers, drove in 105 runs and finished 14th in MVP voting. “Le Grand Orange” played twice with the Expos, 1969-71, where he became the first star on the original Expos roster, and then again in 1979.