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Tulsa Loses Momentum, Close Game to UConn

Tulsa’s season looks even darker while UConn may have gained some new confidence.

NCAA Football: Tulane at Connecticut
UCONN may have gained some new confidence thanks to a 20-14 win over Tulsa on Saturday.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Once again in a close game, Tulsa could not come up with the plays needed down the stretch. UConn moved in a positive direction with a 20-14 win over the Golden Hurricane on Saturday while Tulsa must regroup once again and were unable to capitalize on their monster win over Houston last week.

UConn held a 17-point lead through the end of the third quarter and while the Golden Hurricane managed to make a comeback in the fourth quarter, they were unable to make the biggest play when they needed to. Luke Skipper threw an incomplete pass to Keenan Johnson on UConn’s nine yard line in the last play of the game, with Junior Joseph breaking up the potential game-winning touchdown.

Does Skipper’s performance on one play define whether or not he should continue to be the starting quarterback for Tulsa? Of course not.

The redshirt freshman threw for 259 yards, completing 17 of his 27 passes on Saturday. While running for a mere 24 yards, that was much better than Chad President’s numbers with two yards on a lone one attempt. With a banged up D’Angelo Brewer on the sidelines for Saturday’s game, Shamari Brooks carried the load by scoring two touchdowns while rushing for 164 yards.

Tulsa is more competitive with Skipper commanding the offensive ship and while President has proven to give the Golden Hurricane some sparks, Skipper has been the more productive quarterback. Despite not throwing for a touchdown on Saturday, he threw for touchdowns in each of his first two starts while it took President five starts to get the same amount of scores.

NCAA Football: Houston at Tulsa
Luke Skipper seems to be the clear quarterback for Tulsa’s future.
Joey Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t blame the game on just the offense, however. While Tulsa’s defense only held the Huskies to 20 points, giving up a breakout performance to an opposing player does not do anything to help mix the winning ingredients together. Bryant Shirreffs came up with 372 yards while completing 23 of 29 passes to give the Huskies the momentum for a majority of the game.

Tulsa did what it needed to do to stop the run, but the passing defense was disastrous and led to the Huskies fueling offensive drives into scores. Hergy Mayala managed to obtain 130 yards on just four receptions, with the Golden Hurricane giving up an 80-yard touchdown pass to him to make it a 17-0 Huskie lead.

Where does this game put both teams? Obviously for UConn, they moved into a much needed positive direction. While the Huskies have UCF and USF to finish out their schedule, UConn can use this game as a confidence builder to make it a game or potentially upset either or both of those heavily favored Top 25 teams.

NCAA Football: Central Florida at Connecticut
UConn’s receiving game was an offensive weapon in their win against Tulsa.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

As for Tulsa, six losses is not what they had in mind. With only four games left on their schedule, the Golden Hurricane must win them all in order to be considered bowl eligible. With Memphis and USF part of that bunch, the Golden Hurricane’s chances are not looking great.

It might as well be time to look for next year, possibly trying out a few more younger position guys while giving Skipper the continuous flow he needs to build that confidence. It was clear that Tulsa had a lot to replace after last year’s 10-win season. The process of rebuilding, however, is going to take longer than people expected.