Instead of announcing an official starting quarterback against no. 10 Oklahoma State, Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery decided to give candidates Chad President and Luke Skipper turns at commanding the Golden Hurricane offense on Thursday.
While Tulsa was demolished by the Cowboys 59-24, Montgomery found a clear winner for the starting quarterback for the season.
President got the early go-ahead for the first two drives, giving the Golden Hurricane two first downs on their first drive off a nine and 15-yard run. Two incomplete passes, however, resulted in Tulsa being forced to punt and ultimately ended in a two-touchdown lead for OSU.
After President was ineffective in the Golden Hurricane’s next drive, Montgomery gave the nod to Skipper for two drives. The redshirt freshman froze, only managing to pick up one first down off a six-yard pass to Justin Hobbs.
President woke up in Tulsa’s next drive, completing two straight passes that allowed the Golden Hurricane to march down to the Cowboys’ 23-yard line. The Temple, Texas, native’s 11-yard run to get in the red zone allowed Corey Taylor II to score Tulsa’s first offensive touchdown of the season.
Skipper did not make a return in Thursday’s game, with President establishing himself as the clear commander for the remainder of the blow out and possibly throughout the season. His completion to Josh Stewart and eight-yard run gave the Golden Hurricane momentum at halftime with a field goal and did all he could against the OSU defense, with Tulsa’s defense giving up seven touchdowns at Boone Pickens Stadium.
The sophomore completed 51 percent of his passes, hitting six different receivers for 18 receptions that totaled 178 yards. Although not one of President’s passes turned into a touchdown, he powered his way through the OSU defense when the Cowboys brought pressure in the pocket.
He did not have Corey Taylor II’s day, who led Tulsa with 111 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns, President made the most of his eight carries. He rushed for 69 yards that averaged into 8.6 yards per carry, often turning his runs into first downs during a majority of the Golden Hurricane’s drives.
While Skipper did not have as many drives as President to showcase what he could do in a high-level football game, the upperclassmen presented more poise. Whenever Skipper was in a third down situation, he panicked instead of taking control.
President, at times, turned those third down situations into first downs either with runs that crossed the marker or completing passes that allowed his receivers to power their way through. Skipper did not have the same control that he established in Tulsa’s spring game, where he completed 16-of-24 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns. The redshirt freshman managed only to complete 2-of-3 passes for 10 yards and rushed for a total of three yards.
Anytime a team loses their all-time passing leader in school history is going to have problems at that same position early on in the year.
Clearly, President proved he was more college football ready and that he was ready to command the Golden Hurricane offense. Tulsa’s opener was no indicator of how the season is going to turn out, especially when OSU was their top opponent of the season.
The Golden Hurricane not only have rusher D’Angelo Brewer, who was a 1,000-yard rusher a year ago, they found a star in Taylor II. Tulsa has the ability to be productive with their running game and once President gets a few games under his belt full time, the Golden Hurricane will be back blowing through American opponents.