I wasn’t at Memorial Stadium in Norman on Saturday, but like thousands of others I was watching the Oklahoma – Tulsa game on television, and what a game it was. The high scoring, offensive battle was won by the Sooners, 52-38.
After OU drove to the one-yard line on their opening drive, Tulsa held the Sooners to a field goal. Tulsa quickly answered with a field goal and the game was tied 3-3 early in the first quarter.
Although Oklahoma scored three consecutive touchdowns against the suspect TU defense to take a 24-3 lead, Tulsa’s hurry-up style offense continued to move the ball up the field with each impending drive. Midway through the second quarter, the Golden Hurricane managed a 92-yard drive TD drive, capped by an 18-yard TD pass from Dane Evans to Josh Atkinson. That cut the Sooners’ lead to 24-10 with 6:20 left in the second quarter.
It was becoming quite evident the Tulsa offense could be a force to reckon with this season, especially when they face American Athletic Conference opponents. This is a type of offense the league hasn’t had to defend in the past.
Before the end of the second quarter, things got real interesting. OU put up another big pass play of 61 yards from Baker Mayfield to big tight end Mark Andrews and the Sooners took a 31-10 lead.
Then, after recovering an OU fumble, Tulsa marched up the field for a 28-yard TD pass from Evans to Keevan Lucas, with 13-seconds remaining in the half. Tulsa elected to attempt an on-side kick and low-and-behold the Golden Hurricane recovered the ball. On first down, Evans lofted the ball into the end zone for a 43-yard “Hail Mary” play caught by Keyarris Garrett, with one-second left on the clock. Yes, Tulsa scored two touchdowns in a matter of 12-seconds on the game clock.
Tulsa cut OU’s lead to 31-24 heading into halftime, putting to rest my pregame prediction of the final score (38-13).
The two teams exchanged touchdowns in the third quarter, except OU scored two touchdowns to Tulsa’s one and the Sooners led 45-31 after three quarters.
OU scored again in the fourth quarter to take a 52-31 lead, but with 3:38 left in the final quarter, Tulsa scored on another big pass play from Evans to Lucas for a 40-yard strike. That proved to be the final score of the game.
The offensive performance in this game was remarkable; giving both teams a reason to take a look at video and see what went wrong on defense.
OU amassed 286 yards rushing and 487 yards passing for a whopping total of 773 yards of offense, while Tulsa had 176 yards rushing and 427 yards passing for a total of 603 yards. Those are unbelievable numbers, and against a poorer defense, that type of offensive production will serve both teams very well. They just need to learn how to not give up so many yards.
Tulsa will have the week off, before hosting Houston on Oct. 3. As of press time, the kickoff time had not been determined.
PHX BEAT SHOCK IN PLAYOFF
Odyssey Sims scored 22 points Saturday night, but it wasn’t enough to lift the Tulsa Shock over Phoenix as the Mercury won game two of the playoff series 91-67 at the BOK Center. Phoenix swept the best of three series, 2-0, to advance to the WNBA Western Conference Finals.
It was the final WNBA Shock game in Tulsa, at least for the immediate future, as the franchise announced earlier this season the team was moving to Dallas next year. I say, “for the immediate future” because you never know if a franchise might move to Tulsa and give it another try, especially if the Oklahoma City Thunder ownership group were to ever decide to own a WNBA franchise. It’s possible, but not very probable.
In the six seasons in Tulsa, the Shock had an overall record of 59-147, but finished this season with the best record in those six years, 18-18. Even with a poor record each year, there was a good core of about 4,500 fans at every game; sometimes more, sometimes fewer.
From a sports fan’s view, it’s sad to see yet another team leave Tulsa or go defunct. In the past few years, Tulsa has lost the Talons of the Arena Football League to San Antonio, the 66ers of the NBA D-League to Oklahoma City and the Tulsa Revolution of the Major Arena Soccer League ceased operations. Maybe Tulsa isn’t a large enough city to support so many sports franchises, year around, and year after year.
Or maybe, too many of these owners get greedy and just decide to move for better deals in bigger cities, with lower rent and more sponsors. Because if you look at attendance, that was not a problem for the Talons or the Shock. Both teams averaged over 4,000 per game, and at times drew way larger crowds.