It took a while for both teams to get going, but once they did, the offense didn’t stop, as The University of Tulsa defeated Florida Atlantic, 47-44 in overtime Saturday in front of 24,001 fans at H.A. Chapman Stadium.
Tulsa earned new head coach Phillip Montgomery a win in his first game at the helm of the Golden Hurricane.
“I’m just extremely proud of our football team,” Montgomery said. “Battled all the way through it, and fought to the bitter end. Never gave up hope. We had some guys go down today. Guys had to step up and fill in those spots. Just so proud of our football team and the way they continued to fight all the way through.”
Tulsa won the toss and elected to receive. They started on their own 25-yard line and went three-and-out quickly, running only 1:17 off the clock on their first possession.
Under Montgomery, Tulsa has instituted a hurry-up, no huddle offense, and after that first series didn’t run much time off the clock it appeared it would be a long game. Add to that a lot of passing plays, and timeouts taken for players getting hurt or cramping in the heat, and we knew this would be an all-day affair. The game ended up lasting four hours and 20 minutes.
“Really we sputtered early, and I think that hurt us a little bit, and it took us a while to get going,” Montgomery said. “I think we hit a couple of big plays that kind of sparked us a little bit. Tempo obviously wasn’t what I wanted. Some of that was our fault. Some of it wasn’t. We’d get a little bit of a drive going, and we’ve got a player down cramping. Not we, they got a player down cramping. So they’re stopping your tempo.”
FAU didn’t do much better and ran only three plays before punting the ball down to the TU six yard line.
However, with 4:34 left in the first quarter, the scoring began, as Greg Howell ran 11 yards into the end zone for the first FAU touchdown of the game.
Tulsa responded with a 39-yard TD pass from Dane Evans to Keevan Lucas and then Evans scored on a quarterback keeper to give Tulsa a 14-7 lead.
One of the biggest plays of the game came on a 43-yard TD pass from Evan to Lucas, in which Lucas flew through the air to make a one handed grab, and then worked to bring a foot down in play before slamming into the goal post. Tulsa led 21-7 with 12:49 remaining in the second quarter.
The Owls scored a touchdown and a field goal to cut the Tulsa lead to four, 21-17, at halftime.
Just 58-seconds into the second half, FAU scored on a 28-yard run by Jay Warren, to take the lead, 24-21. On the next possession, Tulsa fumbled the ball and it was recovered by FAU on the TU 34 yard line. The Owls took advantage of the turnover by ultimately scoring on a Howell five-yard run, and extended their lead, 31-21, with 11:14 left in the third quarter.
Tulsa running back Zack Langer came alive in the second half, scoring three rushing touchdowns, including the game winner in overtime. Langer scored on a five-yard run in the third quarter, a 1-yard carry in the fourth quarter, and then waltzed into the end zone from three yards out to seal the victory in overtime for Tulsa. As long as he was playing well, the offense was geared toward giving Langer the ball.
“It felt like our guys were in really good condition, and they were creating holes, and Langer does a great job of making a little hole a big hole because he’s running with a lot of power and a lot of force,” Montgomery said. “So it’s about the guy that’s hot at the time, and he was hot. So we’re going to keep feeding him.”
The Golden Hurricane will be on the road this week at New Mexico Saturday at 7 p.m., on ESPN3.com.
Tulsa QB Dane Evans finished the game with 424 passing yards for his second career 400-yard passing game. He is the fourth Tulsa quarterback to pass for 400 yards in two or more games. Evans now has 4,424 career passing yards and is 10th on the all-time list of TU quarterbacks.
Most quarterbacks wear a uniform number between 10 and 14; however, FAU quarterback Jaquez Johnson wears a typical running back number, 32. Johnson decided this season to change his number in honor of a former Starkville, Mississippi, high school teammate, Devin Mitchell, who was fatally shot on Jan. 1, 2012. Mitchell was 16 years old.
ROUGHNECKS END FIRST SEASON
The Tulsa Roughnecks played their final match of the season Sunday night, in front of 6,005 fans at ONEOK Field, and the local fans were not disappointed. Tulsa beat the Oklahoma City Engery, 2-1.
The first goal for Tulsa came in the 63rd minute off the boot of Brady Bellew on a cross from Lucas Cordeiro. Then the Roughnecks made it 2-0 in the 79th minute, on a nice header from Kidd Nwabueze, off a cross from Ben Brewster.
Oklahoma City cut the lead to one in the 86th minute on a goal by Peter Toth from 25-yards out.
Five minutes of stoppage time was added at the end of regulation, but Tulsa hung on for the win. Tulsa ends the season with a record of 11-11-6, and Oklahoma City is now 12-7-7, with two more games to play.