Tulsa did something that they have not done this season: put their backup quarterback in a starting position. Luke Skipper kept his poise in his first start in college football, completing nine of his 18 passes for 128 yards.
His 70-yard pass to Keenan Johnson kept the Golden Hurricane’s offense pushing that eventually was finished with a 21-0 scoring run. Tulsa managed to get their first win in the American Athletic Conference by dominating Houston 45-17 on their homecoming night on Saturday. After being held to just 93 first-half yards, Tulsa gained 323 second-half yards and scored 38 points in the second half.
What happened to Tulsa’s original starting quarterback Chad President? Despite being demoted into a backup quarterback role, he was still a heavy contributor to the Golden Hurricane’s high-powered running game. With Tulsa down by 10 heading close to halftime, head coach Philip Montgomery inserted President into the game with the idea for run. President muscled his way through the goal line and gave the Golden Hurricane their first score of the game and keep Tulsa within striking distance heading into the locker room. After a Redford Jones field goal tied the game with under four minutes left in the third quarter, President was again called to answer the bell.
He definitely did on Tulsa’s next drive.
Pretty much on the same spot, Tulsa came up with the same result. President pushed his way into the end zone to give Tulsa their first lead of the game that the Golden Hurricane would keep for the remainder of the game. He eventually had a momentous 21-yard gain on 3rd-and-9 to keep a Hurricane drive alive that led to Skipper’s touchdown pass to Johnson.
The running game was still on point for the Golden Hurricane, compiling 288 rushing yards against the Cougar defense. D’Angelo Brewer went off for a monster 46-yard run into the end zone to end the third quarter and finished the game with 140 yards off 23 carries. Shamari Brooks added 111 yards off 18 carries and scored a touchdown with 35 seconds left to play in Saturday’s game.
Tulsa’s defense perhaps had their best performance of the season, holding a four-win Houston team to just 17 points. McKinley Whitfield’s interception led to Tulsa’s first score and Keidrien Wadley’s interception return led to a touchdown and a 17-10 Hurricane lead at the 2:48 mark of the third period.
As for Houston, you can’t fault the defense for this loss. Yes, big plays were allowed, but this unit was the main reason why the Cougars were even in the game. Houston’s offense committed three turnovers that led to 21 points for the Golden Hurricane, and suspect offensive line play was a major contributor. Houston tried to make a comeback late in the game, and moved the ball down the field quickly, but it was too little too late.
Frankly, the quarterback situation also needs attention. Kyle Postma hasn’t looked much better than Kyle Allen besides the Texas Tech game. The offense continues to struggle outside of the receivers, and it remains a question as to why Allen got benched versus having a two-quarterback system. It may not be the most desirable system to use, but this is what needs to happen going forward. There hasn’t been an answer at the position, so Major Applewhite needs to find the solution quickly. Postma is now 80-for-122 with 805 yards, four touchdowns, and five interceptions. Allen is 80-for-105 with 751 yards, four touchdowns, and four interceptions. Until someone breaks out and takes the starting role in a game, the competition needs to remain truly open.
The Golden Hurricane travel on the road for the next two games, traveling to UConn and SMU before their next home outing. While Tulsa has not won outside of Chapman Stadium, the Golden Hurricane have a great shot at getting at least one win during this stretch. Houston is now on a short week as they face Memphis at home on Thursday. While the defense doesn’t have many concerns, the offense has too many questions right now. Even with home field advantage, Thursday could be a disaster if the offense continues to struggle.