Tulsa looks for 3rd win versus Houston Oct. 3

After playing toe-to-toe with No. 15 Oklahoma, Tulsa will host the red-hot Houston Cougars Saturday.

Houston is 3-0, with impressive wins over Tennessee Tech, Louisville and Texas State. Tulsa is 2-1 and was off last week after a 38-52 loss to the Sooners in Norman.

The Tulsa-Houston game kicks off at 11 a.m. and will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

Last season, Houston beat TU 38-28 in a shootout in Houston. Head coach Tom Herman was hired from Ohio State, where he was offensive coordinator and quarterback coach for the national champion Buckeyes.

“Overall, I thought our team played well (against OU),” Montgomery said. “We have to do a little bit better job of handling the quarterback. I thought Baker (Mayfield) played an outstanding game. He was just spot on with everything. He made plays with his feet and his arm.”

Montgomery said his goals for the off week were to improve his team’s concentration and to get some players healthy. It’s also a time for players to focus on some classwork.

“Houston is having an extremely good year,” said Montgomery. “Coach Herman and those guys have got them playing extremely well. We’ve got our hands full.”

Tulsa’s offense has been compared to Baylor, where Montgomery was offensive coordinator last season.

“What we do offensively is a little bit unique,” Montgomery said. “I think we are doing a lot of things that are similar (to Baylor and Bowling Green). But everyone has their own little twist to it. You have to work it toward the personnel that you have.”

Montgomery said the big difference for players from last year to this year is the amount of time and effort.

“Our guys have bought into our system,” Montgomery said. “I think they are excited about it. I think they see the benefits from it. We are still making a lot of mistakes but overall they are things that can be fixed.

“The system that we use, obviously we believe in it. That’s half the battle.”

Montgomery said his team could improve its tackling after Mayfield escaped what seemed to be a sack several times.

“You can’t allow a team like Oklahoma to have that much time,” Montgomery said. “We will keep working and grinding and getting better.”

Dane Evans threw for his third career 400-plus passing game with 427 yards and his four TD passes tied for the second-most in his career. Evans had his 15th straight game with a touchdown pass.

Evans now has 5,172 career passing yards and 35 career passing TDs. His yardage mark moves him into seventh place on the school’s career chart, while his TDs places him in a tie for seventh place.

“I thought he played an excellent ball game,” Montgomery said. “He really did. He threw the ball extremely well. He was smart with it. He put it in good areas. Our receivers did a good job of getting off coverage. I think we only gave up one sack. It was a tremendous effort against that front.

“When you talk about (linebacker Eric) Striker and the blitz packages they are doing, I thought it was an excellent job by our guys up front.”

Keyarris Garrett had his third straight 100-plus receiving game this year, and his sixth career receiving game.

Garrett now has 2,075 career receiving yards and 15 touchdowns, while Keevan Lucas has also gone over 2,000 career yards with 2.003 receiving yards and 17 TDs.

Zack Langer had his second straight 100-plus rushing game and the sixth in his career.

Tulsa’s 24 first-half points was the most that Tulsa has scored for an entire game against the Sooners since scoring 31 points in a 31-24 road win in 1996. Tulsa has scored more than 24 points in only two previous games against Oklahoma (31 points in 1996, 27 points in 1919). Tulsa’s 38 points is the most for the Hurricane in the TU-OU series.

Tulsa has gained 600-plus yards in three straight games, the most consecutive 600-plus games in school history. The last time other than this year that Tulsa had two straight was in 2008, when it occurred twice (vs. New Mexico and Central Arkansas, and vs. SMU and UTEP).

The Tulsa defense played without three of its defensive starters – DE Jeremy Smith and LB Craig Suits – missed the entire game. CB Darrell Williams Jr. was injured on the first defensive series and did not return to the game.

Montgomery is hopeful all will return for the Houston game.

After not forcing a turnover in the first seven quarters of the season, Tulsa’s defense forced four turnovers in the next 3 quarters, including the final quarter at New Mexico (2) and the second quarter against Oklahoma (2).

Tulsa scored over 30 points for the third game this year, the most consecutive 30-point scoring games since three straight 30-point games in 2012.