Tulsa’s defense did their job on Saturday. The Golden Hurricane’s offense, however, failed to back their defense up.
Coming up with only 15 first downs, Tulsa fell to New Mexico 16-13 at H.A. Chapman Stadium on Saturday that moved the Golden Hurricane’s record to 1-3 on the season.
After New Mexico struck first with a touchdown four minutes into the game, but Tulsa’s defense responded when the Golden Hurricane forced a fumble that resulted in a field goal on their next drive. Tulsa cut the lead to three again off a D’Angelo Brewer four yard touchdown with 12:49 left in the second quarter.
Brewer rushed for 131 yards off 16 carries while Shamari Brooks only managed to rush for 28.
Tulsa’s defense came through again in the third quarter, forcing another fumble that resulted in Tulsa tying the game at 13 points a piece. As New Mexico was striving to obtain the lead, Tulsa’s defense stood their ground.
Craig Suits came up with Tulsa’s only interception to start the fourth quarter, his second straight game with a pick. When the fourth quarter struck, quarterback Chad President prevented Tulsa from obtaining any lead.
The Golden Hurricane gained four yards on their first drive of the fourth quarter, resulting in another punting situation. On Tulsa’s next possession, President threw his only interception at the worst possible time. Just as Tulsa was gaining some momentum for their final drive, the first-year starter allowed the tables to turn by giving up his only pick of the game.
Using the final 4:36 of the game, New Mexico kicker Jason Sanders drilled a 53-yard field goal that gave the Lobos their second win of the season and ended Tulsa’s non-conference bout on a sour note. President only came up with 131 passing yards and was in the negative range for in rushing yards.
Justin Hobbs seemed to shine the only positive light for Tulsa’s receiving game, coming down with seven receptions for 93 yards. Tulsa had four receivers that did not gain more than 14 yards on Saturday.
Since the beginning of the season, the talk has been about Tulsa improving their defense for success this season. While Tulsa’s defense managed to put the Golden Hurricane in a position to win, the blame ultimately comes from the offense.
When the game gets down to crunch time, a team’s quarterback has to have the ability to put his team on their shoulders and carry them to the finish line. With Tulsa needing President to deliver, he stepped away from the moment.
Instead of being the star behind Tulsa’s potentially game-winning drive, President gave away the Golden Hurricane’s last opportunity for a score and gave New Mexico exactly what all teams are trying to avoid: allowing the opposition the last chance to put the nail in the coffin.
It’s clear that Tulsa had to have their improvement on the defense. Now, it looks like their offense may need even more work. The running game is solid behind Brewer and Brooks, who should have better outings in the future. President, however, needs to be the focus of improvement right now for Tulsa to have a chance for survival in the American, let alone a bowl game this December.