SMU win gets TU closer to a bowl; Summit in Sioux Falls

It was a much-needed win on Saturday for the Tulsa Golden Hurricane as TU defeated SMU, 40-31, in front of 18,217 at Gerald Ford Stadium in Dallas.

This win was Tulsa’s first American Athletic Conference win of the season, keeping the team’s hopes alive for winning their division and taking part in the conference championship game. It also was important in that it was another win toward becoming bowl eligible, and ultimately that’s the goal of any college football team.

Tulsa’s record is now 4-4 overall and 1-3 in the AAC. SMU fell to 1-7 and 0-4.

Zack Langer scored three touchdowns and Kerwin Thomas had an interception return for a touchdown to lead Tulsa’s attack.

Once again the very potent Tulsa offense was the key to the game, amassing 419 total yards with 240 through the air and 179 on the ground. Quarterback Dane Evans completed 19-of-27 passes with seven of those passes going to Justin Hobbs for 150 yards. D’Angelo Brewer led the team with 119 rushing yards.

The Hurricane defense was also a major factor in the win, scoring on the interception by Thomas, and after giving up 132 yards and 14 points on SMU’s first two possessions, the defense shut down the Mustangs’ offense allowing only 174 yards and 17 points on SMU’s 12 remaining drives.

“When you think about the game it’s a good team win, the defense made some exceptional plays with the pick six, which is a huge turning point for the momentum part of the game,” Tulsa head coach Phillip Montgomery said after the game. “Offensively we’re plugging away all the way through, we hit a couple of big plays. Hobbs really played well, and made some big plays over the course of the game. I thought we ran the ball effectively at times, and I thought our offensive line did a good job.”

Langer said he likes the role of being the go-to guy on short yardage situations.

“It’s pretty cool to be the guy that everyone counts on to get those short yardage plays,” Langer said. “It’s not easy but I put some weight on over the summer, which helps a lot. The guys up front really made my job easy; they got push and I just go in there and get that yard.”

The Golden Hurricane will be home at H.A. Chapman Stadium this Saturday for an 11 a.m. kickoff against The University of Central Florida. The Knights are currently winless with a 0-9 record overall and 0-5 in the AAC. This is one of those “you should win games,” but also for Tulsa, they better win if they want to secure an invitation to a bowl game.

SUMMIT STAYS IN SIOUX FALLS

The Summit League and Sioux Falls Sports Authority announced last week that the men’s and women’s conference basketball championships will remain in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, through 2022. The league and local sports commission exercised the five-year option (beginning 2018), extending the long-term agreement that began in 2009.

“Sioux Falls not only has been a tremendous host of The Summit League Basketball Championships, it has become a home,” said Summit League Commissioner Tom Douple. “It is truly remarkable to continually see the bar raised and have attendance records broken each year. This tournament is synonymous with Sioux Falls thanks to the support of our fans, many of whom plan their calendars around the event. The Summit League Basketball Tournament has been a tremendous success story and the league is excited about furthering the long-term growth of this premier event.”

The Sioux Falls Arena was home to The Summit League Basketball Championships from 2009-14 and the event began a new era in 2015 by moving into the new Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.

I can tell you first hand that Sioux Falls has become a great host of the tournament and each year the crowds get bigger and bigger. As a member of the ORU Pep Band, as well as a member of the media, I have been to the Summit Tournament in Sioux Falls five times, and it keeps getting better each year; especially with the move into the brand new arena. It’s a beautiful complex that many have compared to our very own BOK Center here in Tulsa.

I, for one, will be looking forward to going to Sioux Falls in March for many years to come. It may be cold there that time of year, but it’s such a great experience and we are given such a warm reception each year, that it makes it well worth the trip up north.