Tulsa comes alive in the second half to upset Houston

It took a long time for Tulsa’s offense to get on track, but when it did, the Golden Hurricane blew through the Houston defense and beat the Cougars, 45-17, Saturday at H.A. Chapman Stadium.

There were 19,198 fans that came to game; those that suffered through the first half, and stuck around for the second half were treated to what looked like a totally different Tulsa team.

It was a relatively quiet first quarter with both teams exchanging punts, until Houston scored on a 26-yard field goal with 49-seconds left on the clock in the first. In the second quarter, Duke Catalon carried the ball in from one-yard out to give Houston the 10-0 lead.

Tulsa’s McKinley Whitfield intercepted a Houston pass and returned it to the two-yard line, however, a penalty was called on the play and the ball was spotted at the one. Tulsa had two failed attempts to get into the end zone from one-yard out, before Chad President came in at quarterback, replacing starter Luke Skipper, and he scored on a keeper.

Houston lead 10-7 at halftime.

“Just so proud of our football team,” said Tulsa head coach Philip Montgomery. “I mean, we’ve been through – we’ve been through some stuff, and the way they played today was just unbelievable. I mean, our defense, first half flying around, did a great job of stopping the run, eliminated big plays. They were all over the field and really kept us in the ball game.”

Tulsa tied the game on a 23-yard FG with 3:51 left in the third quarter. Then, things really came alive for the Golden Hurricane.

With 22-seconds left in the third quarter, President scored again on a two-yard run to give TU its first lead of the game. As the quarter came to an end, D’Angelo Brewer raced into the end zone on a 46-yard run.

Houston answered with a TD in the fourth quarter to cut Tulsa’s lead, 24-17, but the Hurricane kept on rolling, scoring three more times before time expired. The last Tulsa TD came on a Houston fumble that was recovered by Tulsa’s P. Wilson Jr. and returned three yards for the score.

Brewer finished the game with 140 yards, giving him his 13th career 100-yard game and his fourth this season. Brewer now has the third-most 100-yard rushing games in school history behind 16 by Michael Gunter (1980-83) and Tarrion Adams (2005-08) and 15 by Trey Watts (2010-13).

Tulsa’s record improved to 2-5 on the season and 1-2 in American Athletic Conference play. Houston fell to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the AAC.

Montgomery said the season isn’t over for his team.

“We still have a lot of games left,” Montgomery said. “So, you don’t know what the season is going to hold for us, but if we’ll play like we played today, there’s a lot more bright spots that we can do. These young guys have stepped up and played well.”

Tulsa will visit Connecticut (2-4 overall, 1-3 AAC) this Saturday at 10 a.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU. The Huskies’ wins have come against Holy Cross (27-20) and Temple (28-24).