Tulsa overcomes deficit to defeat ULM, next up is ECA

Tulsa rallied in the fourth quarter to win Saturday night while East Carolina – TU’s next opponent – almost mounted a fourth-quarter comeback against BYU.

TU scored 14 points in less than three minutes to catch up to Louisiana-Monroe and secure a 34-24 nonconference win at home. Tulsa led 20-7 at the half but ULM managed 17 points in a row to lead 24-20 at the end of the third quarter.

“Obviously this is a disappointing loss.  Tulsa has a good football team,” said ULM coach Todd Berry.

Tulsa ran a school record 107 offensive plays for 563 yards.

“You know, … you ran 107 and you’ve got the same five linemen working all 107 of those, and we’re not working real slow, and those guys have got to continue to just keep grinding and working because when you get down there and you’re looking at ways to take advantage of defenses, especially what Coach Berry and his staff do, they make it tough down in there,” said Coach Phil Montgomery. “If you look at the scores that they’ve been — of their other opponents, it ain’t like Alabama and those people have lit them up. Georgia Southern did a good job with it, had a couple of defensive touchdowns, and they’re an option-based team, which pushes a lot of stress on you. But I thought our guys, again, continued to battle, and we got us a big win, and that’s the most important thing.”

Quarterback Dane Evans was 28 for 44 passing for 341 yards and two touchdowns. Evans now has 5,839 career passing yards. He surpassed John Fitzgerald (1994-98/5,822) for fourth on Tulsa’s all-time chart.

Receiver Josh Atkinson caught nine passes for 110 yards while Keyarris Garrett caught eight for 110 yards. After not catching a pass in the season opener against FAU, Atkinson has recorded four consecutive 100-yard receiving games. The last Tulsa player to accomplish that feat was Keevan Lucas (2014 season).

Redshirt freshman receiver Justin Hobbs finished the game with a career high 82 yards receiving on five receptions. Redshirt freshman running back Ramadi Warren finished the game with a career high 58 yards receiving on eight carries.

Zack Langer scored his ninth touchdown of the season on a one-yard rushing play. Langer has scored at least one touchdown in every game this season. Langer had 69 yards on 28 carries while D’Angelo Brewer had 91 yards on 16 carries.

Tulsa finished the game with 563 yards of total offense, which marks the fourth time in five games the Hurricane offense has surpassed the 500-yard mark this season.

Senior safety Michael Mudoh finished the game with a team-leading 11 total tackles to give him 331 career tackles. He surpassed Dennis Byrd (1985-88/321), Nick Bunting (2003-06/327), and Muadianvita Kazadi (1993-96/328) on Tulsa’s all-time chart, and is now tied for ninth with Ashon Farley (1997-2000).

ULM totaled 404 yards, including 231 passing and 173 rushing. Quarterback Garrett Smith went 25-for-48 for 231 yards and a touchdown, and Ajalen Holley caught 11 passes for 113 yards.

Tulsa missed three field goals.

“Well, I mean, nobody knows,” said Montgomery. “Red (Jones) is fighting through an injury right now. He’s trying to battle through it. It’s getting better. Not to provide an excuse for him, we’ve still got to go out there and hit those field goals and we’ve got to do a better job on the interior part of it and that’s just something small that we’ve been working on and working on, and sometimes you go out there and you have a little lapse in concentration and you can’t have those in those type of situations. That’s what happened on the block part of it.

“We’ll keep stressing it and keep working with it. You know, Red has made some big field goals, too. Shoot, he hit us a game winner at the first of the year. We’re going to still keep working and keep plugging, and we’ll keep getting better.”

Tulsa wore black helmets, blue jerseys and black pants. This is the first time in school history that Tulsa has worn either black helmets or black pants.

“It was great,” Montgomery said. “They walked in the locker room and it was like a little kid on Christmas, a five-year-old just opened it up and it was raining down. They were excited about it.

“I thought they looked extremely sharp out on the field, in conjunction with all of our other uniforms, but I think it just adds another factor to us, and I know our guys enjoyed playing in them, and they were excited about it.

“You know, I thought it looked good. Recruits like it.”

Tulsa will be on the road next weekend when it travels to Greenville, N.C. to take on East Carolina at 11 a.m. CT on ESPNU or ESPNews.